The compassionate merciful response to Kieran Conry’s apology and resignation has been acknowledged and received. The man must now get on with the rest of his life. But mercy does not mean brushing it under the carpet. As a catholic community it is important to learn from any mistakes made.
I have been researching Kieran Conry on Google and have stumbled upon a huge amount of information. Here are the facts:
- He was ordained in 1975
- In 1980 he became the private secretary to the Apostolic Delegate (Pro-Nuncio from 1982), Archbishop Bruno Heim, and then his successor Archbishop Luigi Barbarito.
- He was appointed Monsignor in 1984.
- From 1988 to 1993, Conry was a member of the National Conference of Priests, and its Vice-Chairman from 1992 to 1993.
- From 1993 to 2000, he was involved with training counsellors for Catholic Marriage Care.
- From the beginning of 1994 to 2001, Conry was Director of the Catholic Media Office in London, the press office of the Bishop’s Conference of England & Wales, and also Editor of Briefing, the Bishop’s official journal.
- On 8 May 2001, Conry was named the fourth Bishop of Arundel and Brighton by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 9 June at Arundel Cathedral.
- He was Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis.
- He was the Church’s Bishop for Youth.
- He sat on the Mixed Commission of the Conference of Religious.
- He is described as being an ‘uber liberal’.
- Bishop 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.
- He supports same-sex civil partnerships for the legal benefits it gives to those involved.
- He was not a fan of the Latin Mass.
- He was in favour of contraception.
- He disagreed that secularization was the real reason for the Church’s decline in the west.
Let’s not underestimate how high up this man was. He was Chair of Evangelisation and Catechesis for goodness sake! It explains a lot about the church in the UK doesn’t it?! It is impossible to divorce someone’s character from their views. Perhaps now in the light of recent revelations it is easier to understand what kind of character he truly had, and how that was motivating his views and decisions for the Church.
But there are also deeper issues here. For instance – did the other UK Bishops know about Conry’s affairs (going back to 2001)? And if so, why was he ever put in the position of Bishop in the first place? These are really serious questions. If the hierarchy knew – which seems very possible – then that surely presents us with a much greater scandal yes?
This article i found written January 2002 seems to highlight these fears:
CRONIES, CROOKS AND CRISIS POPES
It seems that Kieran Conry was earmarked for higher things by Cardinal Hume during his time as Director of the Catholic Media Office. Despite one priest’s assessment of his time there as being “by any objective standards a disaster,” Conry became one of the sponsored ‘untouchables’ – and acted accordingly. “For a period I saw quite a bit of Conry,” a deacon confided. “He seemed to live in a secular, corporate world rather than a priestly one. I never once saw him dressed as a priest. His point of view was unfailingly liberal.”
In other words, he was left to do his own thing. And if that is considered par for the priestly course nowadays, I guess one could say the same about his ‘special friendship.’ “Kieran was often seen out and about with his female friend,” a London priest informed me. “Everyone knew about it in the same way that everyone, including the bishops, knew about the homosexual relationship between Martin Pendergast [ex-Carmelite priest] and Julian Filochowski [Director of CAFOD, the bishops' overseas aid agency].”
At that time, in commenting on the routine breaking of vows of chastity acknowledged by the hierarchy in a message to the Pope, Mgr (now Bishop) Arthur Roche had assured The Times that “… the bishops of England and Wales are realists.” Just how “realistic” they are I indicated by relating, among other cases, the example of the London priest well known to be living with his Pastoral Assistant, who he took along to Deanery meetings at the Bishop’s house! In that context, Mgr Conry ‘merely’ keeping regular company in such public fashion is hardly surprising. Yet even if such increasingly common ‘relationships’ are purely platonic, the point is that scandal is given, above all to those of simple and delicate conscience who are offended by it and interpret it in a bad sense. St. Joseph Cafasso, a nineteenth century version of the Cure of Ars, called this kind of scandal “the scandal of the little ones.” A priest’s life is not his own, and so the Saint exhorts him to absolutely abstain from any behaviour which might give scandal, even if caused by appearance only and the result of the ignorance of others.
One assumes that this is the case with Mgr Conry. But regardless, does it not leave the gravest questions about ecclesiastical propriety? Not to say about his prudential judgement and ability to offer wise moral leadership and counsel to others? Especially when shortly before his episcopal consecration Mass he is seen in Italy strolling hand in hand and enjoying leisurely outings with his lady friend at Palazzola, the residence on Lake Albano belonging to the English College. Again, it was the appearance of scandal that upset those who viewed the liaison, including one priest who was sufficiently disgusted to make representations to a Vatican Congregation. Word quickly spread and it is said that Church authorities may have queried Mgr Conry about the matter. Whatever the case, it is a measure of the unqualified protection afforded to Modernist cronies that not only did Mgr Conry’s less than discreet romantic entanglement not disqualify him from consideration for a bishopric in the first place, but that the Palazzola coup de grace did not even delay his elevation by a single day.
It is especially shocking in light of the numerous sexual scandals in recent years which have caused such harm to the Church in general and episcopate in particular, and which, one might have thought, would have seen Rome acting swiftly to snuff out the slightest possibility of further tabloid headlines. Not on your life. Ensconced in a plum see, Bishop Conry is now fulfilling the standard expectations of his liberal patrons: Protestantising and bureaucratizing his diocese behind a welter of Modernist buzz-words about “community,” “renewal” and “change.” – (Article written Janurary 2002)
Who knew about Conry’s affairs? Who turned a blind eye? Who allowed him to carry on in his position when he never should been there? How did he get selected for the position of Bishop in the first place? What is the agenda in the UK hierarchy?
One cannot help feeling that he was selected not for his personal holiness, strong moral character or his ability to uphold doctrine, but instead for his progressive, liberal views. Views that were formed in the mind of a man with a lot on his conscience.
What a mistake-a to make-a.