| 18.4°C Belfast

Maverick cleric Buckley willl 'keep highlighting Maynooth sex scandal' despite blog ban


Pat Buckley at his church in Larne

Pat Buckley at his church in Larne

St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Co Kildare

St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Co Kildare

Pat Buckley at his church in Larne

Controversial cleric Bishop Pat Buckley has accused the Catholic Church of attempting to censor him after a blog, in which he revealed a gay sex scandal in Maynooth training college, was deleted by Google.

For six weeks the Larne-based bishop has disclosed details of a gay sub-culture in Maynooth with some students having profiles on the gay dating app Grindr, and using the site to solicit sex with priests and laymen.

Bishop Buckley also revealed that a former seminarian was filing a complaint of sexual harassment with gardai against a staff member. He claimed that whistleblowers were dismissed from the seminary after bringing the issue to the authorities.

His blogs, exposing the scandal, were picked up by the mainstream media and led to Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin announcing that he would no longer send student priests to Maynooth.

Archbishop Martin said that the college wasn't "the healthiest place" for his trainees, and he would be sending them to Rome instead.

However, other members of the hierarchy have not supported him.

In a recent blog Bishop Buckley had raised the question of whether some figures in the Church could possibly be compromised through direct involvement in the sex scandal or in the cover-up.

He has since received notification from the Google-owned platform, Blogger, that his blog has been taken offline.

In an email, Blogger stated: "Your blog at http://wisecatholic.blogspot.com has been reviewed and confirmed as in violation of our terms of service for: HATE. In accordance to these terms, we've removed the blog."

Bishop Buckley said: "I was shocked when I received this email.

"In about five years of blogging, I've never before had a problem with Google.

"I don't know how they could accuse me of spreading hate.

"As a gay man who lives with his husband, and as a cleric who has performed blessings for same-sex couples for 30 years, it is crazy to suggest that I hate gay people.

"All I have been doing is trying to tell the truth about Maynooth and shining a light into darkest corners of the Church.

"This is a blatant attempt to censor me."

Google had last night not responded to the Belfast Telegraph's request for comment on the issue.

Bishop Buckley said he believed his blog had "got too hot" for the Catholic Church to handle and it had asked Google to block it.

"Since I started writing about Maynooth, the traffic on my blog had increased dramatically," he said.

"It had gone up from about 1,000 to 15,000 views a day. Seminarians and former seminarians were contacting me constantly with new information. I published all this material and it made certain individuals in the Church very nervous.

"Google's European headquarters are in Dublin so the Church has ample opportunity to make their voice heard against my blog."

Blogger has given Bishop Buckley the opportunity to appeal its decision.

"I will do that, but I have already set up a new blog, Bishoppatbuckleynet.wordpress.com."

He added: "The Catholic Church should know by now that, if they try to get rid of me, I don't just go quietly - I pop up somewhere else.

"I am more determined than ever to keep digging on Maynooth and to keep revealing what they want hidden."

Maynooth has introduced a stricter regime in the wake of the gay sex scandal.

Students are now required to eat dinner in the college rather than being allowed to dine wherever they choose.

They are also required to attend evening rosary at 9pm, which had not been obligatory until now.

A review of "appropriate use of the internet and social media" by students and staff has also been announced.

Belfast Telegraph