Posts Tagged ‘Cloyne’

The disgraced Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, will bring at least two dark secrets to his grave with him. The Newry-born Magee was Secretary to three Popes, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, the only cleric in history to achieve such an incredible honour. John Cooney, an Irish journalist covering religious affairs, wrote how Magee proudly boasted that Pope Paul VI treated him like a son, and that John Paul II treated him like a brother. According to Cooney, he was considered the “most handsome man” in the Vatican and had incredible access to the Popes. He lived in a wonderful villa on the Vatican grounds.

It even had a private chapel, and he loved to entertain friends from Ireland and arrange meetings with the Pope for a chosen few. He was widely expected to return to Ireland in triumph as Archbishop of Armagh, his home diocese, and be the future Primate of All Ireland. But John Paul 11 banished him to a lonely Cork diocese in 1987, when Magee was at the height of his power. The job of Bishop of Cloyne was intended for someone else, but John Paul insisted that Magee go. He was never liked by the priests there, who considered him a Vatican outsider who was dumped on them. The Bishop’s house was a sad, drafty old building in need of repair, totally unlike his Vatican villa.

The reasons why he was exiled to Cloyne have never been explained. Rumors ran rampant, including involvement in a cover-up of the death of John Paul I and unspecified personal behavior charges, but nothing ever came to light. What is known is that in 1978, on the death of John Paul I after only 33 days as Pope, Magee covered up the fact that a nun found him, and a statement was issued that he was the person who discovered the body.

Why this was so has never been explained. Nor was the fact that he was briefly brought back to Rome immediately when Pope John Paul II died for unspecified duties. By all accounts, he went into a deep funk when posted to Cloyne, a minor diocese in Ireland far from his beloved Armagh. His lack of oversight of the child abuse problems in his parish were seen as a sign of his total disinterest in his new duties. Now he is gone, and the mystery of how he ever ended up in Cloyne, or why he tried to mask the truth of who found the body of John Paul I, may never be known.

In “Angels and Demons,” Dan Brown’s prequel to “The Da Vinci Code,” an ambitious Irish priest close to the Pope almost becomes Pope himself by plotting and eliminating enemies during a papal conclave. The book’s Rev. Patrick McKenna may well have been loosely based on Magee. Whatever lofty ambitions Magee had,  they have long since ended, and he resigned in disgrace. It was surely not the script he had written for himself.

From Irish Central Niall O’Dowd

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Remarkable bishop

Remarable bishop, the Magee


Mr. Praline: ‘Ello, Miss?

Owner: What do you mean “Miss”?

Mr. Praline: I’m sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

Owner:  We’re closin’ for lunch.

Mr. Praline:  Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this here bishop whom I confessed to not half an hour ago in his very own boutique.

Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue boutique …What’s,uh…What’s wrong ?

Mr. Praline: I’ll tell you what’s wrong, my lad. ‘E’s gone, that’s what’s wrong!

Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s just resting.

Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a gone bishop when I see one, and I’m not looking at one right now.

Owner: No no he’s not gone, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bishop, the Magee is’n he, aye? Beautiful cassock! Look at the head gear!  Beautiful

Mr. Praline: The cassock don’t enter into it. He’s gone, ain’t he?.

Owner: Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!

Mr. Praline: All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake him up! (shouting loudly) ‘Ello, Bishop magee! I’ve got a Brady fish for you if you  show…

Owner: There, he moved!

Mr. Praline: No, he didn’t, that was you shaking the chair!

Owner: I never!!

Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!

Owner: I never, never did anything…

Mr. Praline: (yelling and shouting repeatedly) ‘ELLO Bishop Magee!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!

Mr. Praline: Now that’s what I call a missing bishop.

Owner: No, no…..No, ‘e’s stunned!

Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?

Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up! Bishops stun easily, Major …. real easily

Mr. Praline: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. This bishop is definitely gone, and when I asked about him not ‘alf an hour  ago, you assured me that his total lack of movement was due to him bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged triduum novena in Galway.

Owner: Well, he’s…he’s, ah…probably pining for the Latin.

Mr. Praline: PININ’ for the LATIN?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got home?

Owner: The Magee Blue prefers kippin’ on it’s back! Remarkable bishop, is’nit, squire? Lovely cassock!

Mr. Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that bishop when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that he had been sitting still and gazing into space in the first place was that he had been NAILED to the chair.


Owner: Well, o’course he was nailed there! If I hadn’t nailed him down, he would have nuzzled up to t’confessional box, cracked it apart with his nose, and VAVOOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Mr. Praline: “VAVOOOM”?!? Mate, this bishop wouldn’t “vavooom” if you put four million volts through it! ‘E’s bleedin’ demised!

Owner: No no! ‘E’s pining for the Latin!

Mr. Praline: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This bishop is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiffo! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the chair ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘His metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-BISHOP!!


Owner: Well, I’d better replace him, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I’ve had a look ’round the back of the shop, and uh, we’re right out of bishops.

Mr. Praline: I see. I see, I get the picture.

Owner: I got a slug.


Mr. Praline: Pray, does it do confessions or masses???

Owner: Nnnnot really.  Benedictions maybe… and a couple of Angeluses a week, arthritis permitting!


Owner: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

Mr. Praline: Well.


Owner: (quietly) D’you…. d’you want to come back to my place?

Mr. Praline: (looks around) Yeah, all right, sure.

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