Saturday, 5 March 2011

Priestly deception...it can happen

Reluctant Sinner has an interesting piece about a fraud on a Cistercian Abbey carried out by someone impersonating a Benedictine monk (no cheap shots about it normally being a Francisan, please). It is a serious piece but it did prompt a story in my mind about Mount Melleray up in Ireland's, Knockmealdown Mountains in County Waterford.


A Mount Melleray Monk, or maybe, a taxi driver!
 Mt Melleray is a community of Cistercian (Trappist) Monks and, many years ago, part of their raison d'etre was to offer a drying out period to priests who had sadly become alcoholics. This was not uncommon in Ireland both for lay people and clergy; a teacher at school many years past used to say that Ireland's addiction to the booze was a direct result of Cromwell and all the troubles he brought down on good Irish heads. All I can say is they've taken a long time to get over it.

So back to the story; here we have a good community of monks succouring to the needs of drink afflicted clergy and driving out their demons. Now Mt Melleray is a long way from anywhere, from memory, Cork City is about 30 or 40 miles away and there is no obvious means of public transport. So it was quite usual for "patients" to arrive at the Monastery by taxi - all the way from Cork.

At about 11pm one night a taxi pulled up at the Monastery door but the priest passenger pulled a fast one on the driver by leaping out of the cab and grabbing the driver's cap before hammering violently on the door of the Monastery.

When the door was opened he fell into the arms of the Monk yelling: "You've got to help me, the holy man in me taxi is claiming he's the driver and he's about to make off wiv me car!"

"Be at ease" my good man, said the Monk who gave a yell, whereupon three burly Monks appeared and rushed out to the cab and dragged the real driver into the Monastery.

"Ah God love yez Father" (they speak like that in Ireland) said the priest before making off in the taxi never to be seen again.

Apparently, it took the real cab driver three weeks to convince the Father Abbot as to the truth of what had happened.

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