Sunday, July 17, 2022

CW Investigates : Operation Ainmhian (1)

Clerical Whispers Investigates - CWI 

Clerical Whispers Investigates is back in business!!

For some that will be good news, and for others it will be greeted with the usual derision and malcontent.

This is so, paradoxically, because there are always three versions of a story, those being, mine, yours and then the truth. 

It is this middle way that we are interested in; namely, the truth, which for some, can be most inconvenient.

Clerical Whispers Investigates is the place where there will be neither bias nor prejudice, but simply a quest for the truth, no matter how distasteful that truth may be. 

An immediate disclaimer: we may not get it right all the time, but we will do our best based on hard, factual evidence made available to us. 

If we get it wrong, we will retract… but, what if we get it right??? 

That balance of course can only be decided, ultimately, by that most important element which is key to every story....EVIDENCE!!

With those brief opening introductions in mind, let’s get to business. 

Clerical Whispers Investigates has continued to listen intently and with balance to concerns arising within Church circles all throughout the world, with fairness and an investigative ear.

Progress so far is surprising, as stories began to trickle into us. 

Some accounts detail extraordinary dedication and hard work and we intend to highlight these in due course. 

Unfortunately, other accounts are not so flattering and merit further investigation. 

One such story which came to us from Ireland, and drew our attention, and made us wonder whether it warrants further investigation based on, what we perceive to be, some lacunae.

Just for now, we have decided to withhold names, for reasons of privacy and given what we deem to be the seriousness of the accusations made. 

The basic, summarised case appears to centre on a priest who was removed from ministry following the breaking of his promise of celibacy with an adult woman. It must be clearly noted that this relationship was quite mutual, consenting adults on both sides, and did not involve any criminal element to it. 

Regardless of this, quite rightly, the priest was removed from public ministry. 

We are not sure, for this moment, if he was sent to therapy or for counselling or indeed if he was permanently removed from ministry by choice or otherwise.

What we are aware of, is that a second allegation was made against this priest by another woman.

To summarise, from our investigation thus far, this second lady, who is allegedly vulnerable, has accused the priest of fostering and engaging in a romantic relationship with her, promising her a future together and emotionally abusing her by ‘ghosting’ her at a certain point in the alleged relationship. 

In relation to these accusations, it must be noted, an admission of sorts appears to have been made that no sexual contact occurred between them. 

There were subsequently further ‘non-relationship’ allegations made, but for the present we will stick with these.

Clerical Whispers Investigates would like to make it clear that this sort of alleged behaviour by a member of the clergy is not acceptable and, for this to have happened a second time is indicative of an issue with celibacy. 

Clerical Whispers Investigates would like to also make it clear that it is not making any form of personal judgement in this regard.

However, as we listened and proceeded a little further with our investigation, we discovered something quite interesting. 

In relation to the priest’s relationship with the first lady, there was a mountain of evidence provided, publicly and privately. This made it impossible to deny the truth.

In relation however to the second allegation, we have not seen a scintilla of evidence to prove that:

1. A romantic relationship was entered into – this includes a lack of evidence such as romantic messages, requests for dates, “couple-like” messages. These were plentiful during the first engagement, but as yet, not even one has come to light in relation to the second allegation.

2. Any romantic contact was entered into – By this we mean, hand holding, hugging, sitting as a couple, embracing. It is our belief (although not our certainty as yet) that a guarantee was made in relation to the production of footage that would show the priest and this lady holding hands and behaving as a couple. As of yet, this has not been produced.

3. A future was promised by the priest to the woman.

Given the seriousness of these allegations, we were surprised that as yet, the evidence to support them, appears to be, at the very best, scant. 

Therefore, we will soon be issuing a call to invite as much evidence as possible to be brought forward in the name of justice and fairness to all involved.

But that is for the next installment of CWI, as we proceed with not only this story, but many more investigations also. 

Stay tuned…