Was Bishop Kieran Conry an Atheist?

Kieran Conry at a fancy dress party in Lourdes.

Kieran Conry at a fancy dress party in Lourdes.

It has struck me quite profoundly that since the revelations of Kieran Conry’s numerous affairs have come to light, we have heard lots from him but have not once heard him mention Christ. In his statement he says:

“I am sorry to confess that, going back some years, I have been unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest. I would like to reassure you that my actions were not illegal and did not involve minors…. I want to apologise first of all to the individuals hurt by my actions and then to all of those inside and outside the diocese who will be shocked, hurt and saddened to hear this. I am sorry for the shame that I have brought on the diocese and the Church and I ask for your prayers and forgiveness.”

He then went on to tell the Daily Mail:

“It has been difficult keeping the secret. In some respects I feel very calm. It is liberating. It is a relief. I have been very careful not to make sexual morality a priority [in his sermons]. I don’t think it got in the way of my job, I don’t think people would say I have been a bad bishop. But I can’t defend myself. I did wrong. Full stop.”

Why no mention of Christ? After all, a Bishop is the earthly representative of Christ for his particular diocese. Surely first and foremost, any public apology should have been made to Christ, begging His forgiveness?

jesus_woman_washes_feet

“…she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair…”

That is assuming of course that he feels that this is necessary. Kieran Conry has been critical of going to confession regularly, saying that, in his experience, people would always come back saying the same things week after week, suggesting that no interior conversion or repentance was actually taking place. In a May 2009 pastoral letter, he urged a more adult approach to the sacrament of reconciliation:

“Go to the priest and talk about these things, the way in which your relationship with God might have grown stale. Because sin is ultimately something that damages our relationship with God. It is not just breaking the rules.”

But what exactly was Kieran Conry’s relationship with Christ?

All Catholic priests are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day. Canon 904 tells us that daily celebration of the Mass is earnestly recommended (but not required) for priests. Daily examination of conscience, frequent confession and silent meditation are also highly recommended.

But here’s the problem…

How could it have been possible for Kieran Conry to do the above on a daily basis while he was carrying on with his various girlfriends?

If he made a one off ‘mistake’ with a woman, but decided never to see her again, felt remorse and went to confession, then one could understand. Nobody is perfect. But this was not a one off event. It was years of constant deception and lies. Years of repeatedly disgracing himself in the sight of Christ. No wonder he didn’t believe in frequent confession!

Now he has admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong. And he has apologised to those involved and to the church, but something tells me he was not really sorry. The Daily Mail revealed that they had confronted Conry about his affair with Olivia Hodgkinson 4 months before the story broke a few weeks ago. Yet still he decided to resign only hours before the story went to print, and there was no way out for him. In my opinion he wasn’t truly sorry.

He was sorry he got found out, and he was sorry that he lost his job, and i’m sure he was sorry that the affair had to end. But if he was a man of honour, he would have done the right thing and resigned years ago and married (one of) the women he was carrying on with.

To continue in his role as Priest and Bishop, he must have been either going to confession constantly to make sure his relationship with Christ was repaired and whole once more, or he wasn’t. If he wasn’t, then there are only three reasons why:

1. He was not aware that what he was doing was wrong.

2. He was not concerned that he was committing a mortal sin.

3. He doesn’t believe in God.

How could it be possible for this man to turn to face God in prayer 7 times a day without falling on his knees and begging for mercy? How could it be possible for him to hold up Christ in the Eucharist knowing where his hands had been the night before? Not just once, but over and over again for years and years. The arrogance is astounding.

Kieran Eucharist

The only conclusion I can come to is that Kieran Conry was an Atheist. He had no relationship with Christ. And if by any scrap of possibility he did, it was on his own terms. This man was a Bishop – terrifying isn’t it?

15 thoughts on “Was Bishop Kieran Conry an Atheist?

  1. Clare I think this is a piece of well thought out analysis and it’s difficult to disagree with any of it. I hope we get a more orthodox replacement!

  2. I was always convinced he was an atheist.
    I was disedified by how he celebrated Mass, the limp, one handed elevation said it all.

  3. Rita Biesemans has something to say to this :
    In my last year of nursing school (late 60’s)I had to write a dissertation for Philosophy. Since I’m Jewish via my mother (we are Catholic-Jews)I wrote about the facts leading to how we viewed and treated our Jewish pt’s in Antwerp. I interviewed rich and poor, thus a lot of different social levels. One of them was an MD working @ 1 of our hospitals. His father was 33-rd degree mason of the Bnei Brith (jewish freemasons). He was saying :”soon the church bells won’t be allowed to ring anymore. We atheists are offended by being woken up on Sunday mornings by the church bells they remind us of God and Jesus”. Sometime later : NOT A SINGLE CHURCH BELL WAS RINGING !! And it is still like that. I just read that Belgium is providing 250,000,000 Euro’s government money to the Islam to build more mosques in that country and they can call to prayer x5 a day and that’s a lot of decibels, I guarantee you.
    On another occasion, an MD, professor@the “Free(mason) University of Brussels”, he being a HIGH RANKED FREEMASON and one of the first in the world performing IVF and CLONING, head of our OB-department,said to me one night (while waiting to do a delivery) : how long are we fighting against the Catholic Church? Almost a 100 years now and I tell you before the year 2000, they won’t speak about the Catholic Church anymore etc… At that moment I heard our Lady of La Salette say : a period of a 100 years will be given to the devil…..Oh yes satan knows he’s come at the end which makes him like a roaring lion raging all over the world. IN GOD WE TRUST.

  4. When I was in 2nd year High School Latin-Greek Humanities in a nun-run boarding school in the 1950″s, we had the ”SPEKPATER’ (type his name in on Wikipedia and you’ll find who he was) preaching during one of our yearly retreat weeks. One day he told us : “For know that there are priests being trained and formed at the KRIM (Russia) to infiltrate the Church, to spread false teachings in order to corrupt and ruin the Church.” This made such an impact and impression on my soul that I will never forget it.

    in the 1980’s a Church in Brussels opened her doors to the socialist party to hold their spaghetti feast. They used the church to cook and the altars to eat on a A colleague (in those days) nurse-midwife of mine who was a fervent freemason and socialist told me : ” I put my child on the altar and told her dance on it, trample on it as hard as you can and she enjoyed seeing her do this”!!!!. “Shame on the Judas in our Church who opened the doors for such an event.” But yes as they so proudly said after Vatican II : the Pyramid is turned upside down, before the people=the basis all pointed to the point of the Pyramid, to God. Now we have the basis (the people) up and the point (God) at the bottom.(a student-nurse colleague of mine who was a seminarian before but left said that’s what they taught them as seminarians)
    The purification of the Church and the World has become inevitable.
    By the way I was not allowed to wear my Cross around my neck but that freemason charge nurse wore proudly her torch with the 6 happy humans around her neck. Nobody said anything, of course not they could do whatever they wanted. It was awful I cried and cried out to the Lord to take me away from there. He did, I’m here now 20 years, and now I see the things deteriorating in the USA.
    Rita Biesemans

  5. I am not sure if Rita is claiming Conry is a Freemason, I doubt it, this type of madcap conspiracy theory is really not that helpful, can’t we just accept that he simply didn’t believe?

    I am a layman living in Conry’s diocese, the overwhelming impression was he did not believe, read his pastoral letters, read the one he wrote quoting Brokeback Mountain as model for faithful love, God simply doesn’t figure in his beliefs, that is the scandal.

    If you want to follow it through, it leads not to the Grand Orient but to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor who wanted his place-men in positions of power in the Church in England and Wales.

    My parish priest suggests about a quarter of the diocesan clergy would go along with your thesis, Clare. The scandal is no-one either questioned his lack of belief or questioned the depth of his belief or the effects on his actions, and whether it would have serious effects on his diocese.

    I am sure that if Conry did not believe then there are other bishops and priests who do not believe either, this is the scandal, pure and simple: that it is possible to be promoted to being diocesan and to have considerable power in the Bishop’s Conference without accepting the faith of the Catholic Church.

    Despite his personal belief in the the Bishop’s lack of faith my PP had tears in his eyes as he read out Conry’s statement of resignation, talking to him at the weekend, a week after he was just angry he had been duped, and angry with Conry’s predecessor, the Cardinal, who had presumably appointed such a faithless hireling.

  6. I place the greater blame at the door of Cardinal CMOC who placed Conry in his old diocese. Conry was both weak and intellectually-challenged as a prelate. CMOC is a supreme political wheeler-dealer, still haunting the corridors of power and dictating events in England and Wales, even when apparently retired. But as a churchman ‘pffft’, as the French would say.

  7. When Conry’s appointment was announced, the guys in the Westminster Diocesan officers thought someone was playing a joke – he wasn’t even on the list of starters! Cormac often spoke of Evangelisation and hardly did anything, Conry was known to say “Evangelisation – we don’t do that here” of course he wass being truthful there, as he didn’t believe, then how could he evangelise?

  8. Pingback: Is Defending the Reputation of the Catholic Church Against Confusion to be Considered Gossip? | Catholic Bandita

  9. Pingback: LisaGraas.com | Is Defending the Reputation of the Catholic Church Against Confusion to be Considered Gossip?

  10. Many people would be surprised by the number of clergy who actually do not believe fully in the teachings of the Church and who are obstinately living in mortal sin. They live off the Church but bring disgrace to Her by their actions. They are extremely good at looking the part but very bad at being authentic human beings without duplicity.

  11. “How could it be possible for him to hold up Christ in the Eucharist knowing where his hands had been the night before?”

    Brilliant!

    I embarrassed myself in a cafe this afternoon reading this. Coffee down the nose job and the waitress came over to ask of I was Ok!

    Thanks for making my day!

    Great comedy blog!

  12. When Jesus cleared the Temple he was quoting from the prophet Jeremiah and those listening to the words he spoke would have known this.

    ’Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the Lord. Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel’. (Jer 7:11-12)

    Shiloh is the place where the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and the Glory of the Lord departed with it. Jesus was saying that if the people coming to the Temple were only offering lip service as in the days of Jeremiah, then it was worthless.
    The anointing of the Holy Spirit upon us is only because of Christ who is in us. He is the anointed one. (Ps 133) speaks of oil running down from the head onto the rest of the body. It is only when Christ is in us that there is an anointing upon us and nothing outside of Christ has any glory. God will not anoint anything that is not born of Him. Anything that is manmade has no glory. Ishmael was not the product of God and there was no anointing upon him. Without the anointing you cannot inherit the glory. Isaac who was born of God was anointed and only that which is anointed can be used for God’s purposes. That which is born of the flesh will always war against that which is born of the spirit. Man made activities cannot bring forth the glory of God but only the glory of man (Rm 1:23), which is idolatry. Only that which is born of God overcomes the world and only that which is born of God brings the glory with it, into our lives and into the Church. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor 15:50)

    Why isn’t there glory in the Church? Because there are so many manmade activities and they can never hold God’s glory because there is no anointing upon them. Esau was not God’s choice, only Jacob. Saul was not God’s choice as king, only David.

    The first 4 chapters of 1 Samuel give us the way to restore the Glory of God to His people. You start with Elkanah (worship) and out of worship comes Hannah (intercession) and out of intercession comes Samuel (an ear to hear the voice of God) and out of Samuel comes David (prepared for spiritual warfare) and out of David comes Solomon (the one who built the temple). So that is the prophetic procedure from (1 Sam 4:21) Ichabod when (the Glory departed) until the Glory returned in the temple and no one could minister. (2 Ch 5:14)

    Worship is the birthplace for God’s word and out of worship comes ‘the ministry of intercession’. All other ministries come out of worship. Intercession is the womb through which God is giving birth to fulfil all His eternal purposes on earth. God has only one way of doing His work. Everything that God does is through birth. If there is no intercession, then no work of God can be brought into existence. It has to be birthed. God is looking for a womb that will consecrate itself unto Him and be the birthplace of the Word of God in any generation. God’s work has never been done through any Church organisations, programmes or committees. Jesus was not organised from Heaven he was born. The person who is born again is totally unprogrammed. New wine needs to be put into new wineskins. If you want to work for the Lord then by all means organise a committee. If on the other hand you want work with the Lord, then make an intercessory group.
    Intercession goes through labour-pain-tears-groanings, because it is a birth experience (Rm 8:26). Intercession is a work of the Holy Spirit. It’s not something that we can take on ourselves; it’s when the Holy Spirit moves within us in such a way that we have a burden upon us. We take on the condition of the person or people that we are praying for. Paul carried whole churches in his heart. ‘My children! I must go through the pain of giving birth to you all over again, until Christ is formed in you’. (Gal 4: 19-20)

    In 1 Samuel you have two women. Penninah and Hannah.

    Penninah means ‘pearl’, which is the most sophisticated product of natural power. God can use nothing that is of nature and God never used her or any of her children. We can have all of the finest natural resources and cleverest ideas and power, but if it is not from the Lord then he can’t anoint it.

    Hannah means ‘grace’ which is never the product of any effort. It is a gift of God. Intercession is also a gift of God, our efforts can’t bring anything about, and it’s all a work of grace in our hearts. Intercession is to partake in His intercession (Heb 7: 25). It all starts when the Holy Spirit puts into our hearts ‘groanings’ that can’t be uttered to call forth this burden of intercession. And true intercession is when we through our own weakness are brought into the place where the Holy Spirit will take of that ever ongoing intercession by our High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ and put it into our hearts. So that our intercession becomes his intercession. Through intercession Samuel was born, and he restored the Glory to God’s people. God looked for a womb and he saw Mary and through her the Son of God was birthed into this world and through Jesus came the Glory of God to the world. (Luke 2: 30-32) Jesus prayed ‘Now the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified’ (Jn 12:23). He didn’t say crucified but glorified.

    There is no glory without the cross. Intercession is a true experience of the cross, because it is entering into the sufferings of Jesus so that His Glory will be revealed. (Rm 8: 16-17) Glory comes from the cross and Glory comes back when we go through the cross, which is intercession. Only to the same degree that we are willing to partake in his sufferings, will we participate in his Glory.
    That which was brought forth in Hannah’s life was Samuel, and there was nothing that belonged to Hannah. She consecrated her womb and her life to serve God’s purposes and it’s when we come to that point where we have stopped to possess God for ourselves and we come to understand that we are the ones who are possessed by God himself, here to serve God’s purposes. Like Hannah who had to come to that point where she was struggling to have a son to satisfy her own reputation, which didn’t work because God would not open her womb. The minute she came to the place where she said, that which is going to be born through me is going to belong to you Lord, I consecrate it to you, for your purposes, her womb was opened. She gave birth to something that was God’s property. Samuel was the voice of God being restored to the people of Israel. ‘It was rare for Yahweh to speak in those days’ (1 Sam 3:1). It’s only when God speaks to his people that the Glory will be restored. The voice of God comes out of intercession. Intercession comes out of worship. Intercession gives birth to the prophetic ministry. God will raise up prophets through intercession so that the voice of God will be heard in the land.

    The problem with the Church is not that God is not speaking. The problem is that no one is hearing what he is saying. When the Glory had departed no one had an ear to hear. Intercession opens the ears of God’s people to hear God’s voice. Intercession is speaking to God until we hear God speaking to us. Samuel means heard of God until God will be heard, so the exchange from Hannah to Samuel is that through intercession He gives us an ear to hear.

    Worship is the key that unlocks the door to intercession. Through intercession we are able to enter into the heart of God enabling us to hear his voice. Hearing his voice gives us the direction to bring about his plans and purposes for our lives and when we build the temple according to his designs then the Glory of the Lord will return

  13. I suspect Conry stopped praying and ultimately believing many years ago. Mental apostasy in a prelate has grave consequences for the local Church. To ‘proclaim’ one thing and to believe another has a considerable impact upon the life of the religious leader and of the faithful.

    I would not be surprised to learn that many clergy within and without the diocese knew of Conry and his antics with different women. The safeguarding officers failure to represent the interests of the diocese needs to be thoroughly examined and investigated.

    Fear may be one reason that drives people to collude with this prelate- fear of ostracism and persecution for becoming a ‘whistleblower’. Perhaps the clergy in that most liberal of English dioceses’ did not see any harm coming to a prelate who had his ‘bit on the side’. A ‘ circling of the clerical wagons’ was the default response.

    Where is Conry today? Off the internet ‘radar’ and gone to ground in the hope that this too will pass.Quite probably living in accommodations supplied by the diocese within its territory or elsewhere and being generously funded to support an prelates lifestyle.

    Regrets, remorse, contrition? A desire to seek forgiveness and make amends? For this prelate who has effectively lived a double life for decades I sense that it is annoyance at being finally found out that is the true response.

    It is hard to see him returning to any ministry. Whether the hierarchy seeks to recycle him elsewhere is matter that interests people considerably.

    Did the Arundel and Brighton diocese and the legal representatives of the ‘husband’ of Olivia Hodgkinson settle this matter?

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