Priests left to ‘run own fiefdoms’ after ordination

An outspoken cleric has claimed the vast majority of priests, once ordained, almost become a law unto themselves until “the proverbial hits the fan”.

Fr Michael Commane, a long-serving member of the Dominican Order, said it was his opinion that priests in Ireland managed to run “their own little fiefdoms” and, after ordination, it was quite likely that they would never be asked to attend a retraining course.

He revealed that in almost 40 years in the priesthood, not once had a superior or a bishop asked him what he might think about central issues of his faith.

Commentating on the fallout from the recent controversy surrounding Cardinal Seán Brady, the Kerry-based priest and author said, while he could understand people saying it was time the Catholic Church was closed down, he also understood those who maintained that the latest dispute was yet another attack on the Church.

“My head is in a tumble. Turmoil reigns,” he said.

Fr Commane, writing in The Kerryman, said there seemed to be an element of paranoia with Church officialdom and bureaucracy concerning authority and it always seems linked to matters of sexuality.

Referring directly to the latest clerical child abuse scandal, he asked how a priest could interview a 14-year-old boy, asking him “the most outrageous questions”, while the boy’s father was left outside the door.

“Who allowed these questions to be asked? Who compiled the questions? Any organisation that would allow such questions to be asked to a minor would not seem fit for purpose.”

He said the Church seemed to have an unhealthy attitude to all matters dealing with human sexuality and said that had a woman been in that room the day the boy was questioned, “terrible questions” would not have been asked.


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