"Bishop" Pat Buckley could be described as the Clown Prince of liberal Catholic dissidents. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1976. In 1986 the then Bishop Cahal Daly dismissed him as curate of Larne and from the Diocese of Down and Connor (based in Belfast). On June 5th, 1998, the Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Patrick Walsh, suspended Father Pat Buckley from the exercise of his priestly functions after he had failed to give an assurance that he would accept the authority of the Church and desist from his malpractice in respect of the Sacrament of Marriage (e.g marrying divorced persons).
In 1997 Father Buckley engaged in a public controversy with the Archbishop of Dublin, Cardinal Desmond Connell regarding his wish to celebrate Mass at his mother's funeral when she should come to die. Cardinal Connell said that in all conscience, he could not acceed to that request. (When his mother died in August 2006 the then "Bishop" Buckley again made a public display of his disagreement with the Church; on this occasion it seems that only the tabloids took notice.)
On June 14th, 1998, Fr Buckley announced in the News of the World, that he was "ordained" a bishop a month earlier by one Michael Cox who claimed to be a "Tridentine" Bishop. The Church does not recognise the validity of either ordination as Bishop. Bishop Buckley also ministers to, in his own words "the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered "community" representing perhaps anything from five to 25 per cent of our Christian community."
In September 1998 "Bishop" Buckley ordained an Englishwoman Frances Meigh as a priest. In April 1999 "Mother" Frances Meigh resigned as a church administrator after Bishop Buckley allowed the BBC to film a wedding scene for a comedy episode in her Co Louth church. She told the Irish Times she was "shocked and stunned" when she walked into St Andrew's Church in Omeath, Co Louth, and saw an actor in vestments standing in front of a congregation that included Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness "lookalikes".
In January 2010 "Bishop" Pat gave an exclusive interview to the Sunday Tribune in which he proclaimed his "deep love" for his Filipino boyfriend Eduardo Yango (32) and announced that they would be married on 8 February. Other media were referred to Max Clifford, who was handling publicity surrounding the nuptials. His announcement received world-wide publicity - not least in his boyfriend's homeland. However on the appointed day he had to announce a postponement. "We have had 10 days of intense media interest and, while I have been used to dealing with the media for 25 years, Eduardo has no experience of the media and has found the intrusion very stressful. He is also a very private person and comes from a culture in the Philippines where family and personal issues are handled very discreetly and privately.” (He had apparently forgotten to tell Edwardo about Max Clifford.) They were eventually married in March - albeith with much reduced media coverage.
Also in January 2010 following the death of Cardinal Daly, Pat Buckley had a letter published in the Irish Times stating that:
"I am a victim of Cardinal Cahal Daly, and I have found his death and recent glorification in The Irish Times and elsewhere very traumatic and painful. By summarily dismissing me as curate of Larne and from the Diocese of Down and Connor in the summer of 1986 Cahal Daly abused his authority over me. As a result, I developed the stress-related and chronic medical condition Crohn’s disease and have suffered ecclesiastical exile with its attendant emotional and mental anguish for 23 years."
In the course of his letter he stated that:
" At the time of my “sacking” Father Brendan Smyth was ministering in Down and Connor with the knowledge and consent of its then bishop, Cahal Daly."
Although a native of Belfast, Fr. Brendan Smyth was a member of a religious order, held no diocesean appointment in the Diocese of Down and Connor and was subject to the Abbot of his monastery (in County Cavan) not the Bishop.
On his current website "Bishop" Pat describes his conflict with Cardinal Daly in the 1980s and how the late Father Vincent McKinley, a priest of the Cathedral parish, allegedly beat him up one night. He also recounts how "When Bishop Pat later organised a big clean up of the infamous Divis Flats complex which surrounded the presbytery Father McKinley stood at the presbytery window giving Bishop Pat and the parishioners the 2 finger “fuck off” sign".The following extract from a debate in the House of Lords re the Annie Maguire case gives the background to "Bishop" Pat's fraught relationship with Father McKinley. The debate was on 17 May 1985:
Lord Fitt rose to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will reopen the case of Annie Maguire and her family who were convicted and sentenced in 1976 ...........................................
Sir John first took an interest in this case not through me but through a Unionist lady whom he knew in Northern Ireland. This lady was acquainted with a Catholic priest from St. Peter's Church in West Belfast. This Catholic priest, whose name was Father Vincent McKinley, made the headlines as a result of another terrorist act. In that case a terrorist by the name of Delaney carried a bomb on a train from Lisburn to Dublin. The bomb exploded prematurely and killed the terrorist himself and three or four innocent people. When the remains of that terrorist's body were found, his relatives wanted him to be buried from St. Peter's Church. Father Vincent said, "I'm not letting the remains of that terrorist inside the door of my church". That shows how opposed Father Vincent is to acts of terrorism.
That action by Father Vincent caused great controversy, and he went through an awful time for a number of months because he refused to allow the remains of that terrorist in his church. So Father Vincent knew the Unionist lady of whom I spoke, and she then spoke to Sir John Biggs-Davison. .......................