Jailed priest asks Pope to release him from the clergy

Jailed priest asks Pope to release him from the clergy July 21, 2016

Father Graeme Bell, above, who is currently serving a jail sentence for embezzling almost £100,000 of Catholic Church funds, has asked the Pope to allow him to quit the clergy.
According to this report, Bell, 41, was convicted of stealing from this Ayrshire parish between March and May 2015 after admitting to an online gambling problem.

He had been the parish priest at Our Lady Star of the Sea church, known locally as St Mary’s, in Saltcoats.
The local bishop, William Nolan, reportedly visited Bell’s former congregation and told them the priest has asked to be quit the priesthood, a process known as laicisation.
The move requires the consent of Pope Francis and could take over a year to conclude. When completed it would remove the duty of care the Church would have for Father Bell, as well as any investigation into his behaviour under church, or canon, law.
It is understood he will get day release in the near future and is unlikely to serve the full 10 months of his sentence, during which time he will still be supported by his diocese.
His application to quit will also save the Diocese of Galloway significant administrative expense.
A specialist in canon law, Bell was part of the Catholic church’s national body which deals with disputes between priests and their bishops, meaning the Vatican would have had to appoint a canon lawyer from England or Ireland to carry out the investigation.
One source said:

Bishop Nolan promised to come to Saltcoats and he did, telling the parish what was happening with Father and that he had asked to be laicised. I think that, had there been an investigation, he would have had to leave but this would suggest he’s decided he doesn’t want to live in grace and favour.
It also saves Bill Nolan a lot of hassle with canon lawyers and a case would could have strung along for years. Graeme Bell has probably realised he has cost the church enough.

When he first revealed his misuse of parish funds he was immediately removed from his post and the police informed.
The probe had initially centred on funds set up for pilgrimages to Lourdes and missionary work in Guyana but was quickly widened out to look at all parish finances.
Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard last month how Father Bell suffered anxiety and depression which:

Reached a stage where he was not behaving as a law abiding individual.

The missing cash has since been returned, with friends and family of the jailed priest raising £43,000, while Father Bell has sought counselling and attended Gamblers’ Anonymous.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Galloway said:

Father Graeme Bell has petitioned Pope Francis to have the obligations of the priestly life lifted so that he can live as a layman. It may take a year to 18 months for this request to be granted.

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  • I wish Father Bell well as he works to earn his integrity back. It won’t be found in the Chirch. He is one man who frittered away money. The money he frittered away came from thousands of people who believe in magic spells. Gambling sometimes delivers a payday. Magic spells never do. The thousands who believe in magic spells make the whole operation run. Remove their support and watch the whole thing vanish. Now there’s a magic trick I’d like to see.

  • Broga

    “The missing cash has since been returned, with friends and family of the jailed priest raising £43,000, while Father Bell has sought counselling and attended Gamblers’ Anonymous.”
    I think friends are family deserve some credit for repaying the stolen money. The next step would be to send Graeme Bell a copy of “The God Delusion” or a similar book to enable him to escape the shackles of his faith.
    He is an intelligent man and might, free of the RC Church, manage a satisfying life for himself. Why does it take 18months to escape being a priest? Yes, I know. The performance has to be completed to persuade RCs that stopping being a priest is difficult and serious. An alternative would be for Papa to say you are out.

  • Gill Kerry

    Trevor Blake, love the spelling of chirch. I shall use it myself in future!

  • Paul

    He’s sorry.
    It’s a miracle.

  • David Anderson

    “When he first revealed his misuse of parish funds he was immediately removed from his post and the police informed.”
    Priest rapes child, Quick, hide him in the Vatican!
    Priest steals money from the church, Quick, call the police!

  • CoastalMaineBird

    You can check out any time you like.
    But you can never leave.

  • Broga

    @CoastalMaineBird : Papa insists he makes the decisions on their lives even when they try to jump ship. But once they leg it from that festering outfit Papa can only have the power they concede to him. Or have I got that wrong? What can he do to them?

  • Cali Ron

    “Take this job and shove it
    I ain’t t working here no more”
    Dead Kennedy’s version
    Broga: Agreed, all it takes is the finger and the door. ” What can he do to them?” Pray him to death. Sticks and stones can break his bones, but prayer can never hurt him.

  • I feel sick.

    Seems the rcc is more concerned with priestly embezzlement than preists raping children.

  • I feel sick.

    I feel sick because I just spent much of my day reading this horror story of institutionalised child rape and cover up by the rcc. The rcc is only exceeded by ISIS for crimes against humanity.
    The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse: Amazon.co.uk: Geoffrey Robertson QC: 9780241953846: Books

  • L.Long

    Hey! Dimwitted One, you don’t need the pope’s permission! Tell him to put his head up jesus’s butt and continue on getting smarter as you give up the BS!!!

  • Robster

    Doesn’t being laicised sound like fun! Is that done with a sharp knife in the interests of limiting reproduction?

  • Broga

    They can sodomise young boys, get women pregnant and get them to abort children, steal £millions from their gullible flocks, lie, cheat and steal but they cannot leave the organisational pustulence that provides the structure for all this.