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Thread: The Father Michael Cleary documentary

  1. #1

    Default The Father Michael Cleary documentary

    Watched it in its entirety. Over-riding impression: when Phyllis Hamilton and her son first decided to go public they were threatened with extreme violence by the scumbags in Ballyfermot and Finglas whom Cleary had befriended.
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  2. #2
    Politics.ie Member L'Chaim's Avatar
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    He was a horrible person. He only thought of himself. He decided to become a priest. When he fell in love with Phyllis Hamilton, he could have done the decent and honourable thing and left the church and become a family man. But he didn't do that. One of the seven deadly sins is pride and he had it in spades. He loved his fame and he went out of his way to court it. And all the time he was living with Phyllis Hamilton, he was toeing the church line on sex before marriage, contraception etc. He was a hypocrite of the highest order. And at the end of his life he left Phyllis hamilton and his son with nothing. He didn't even acknowledge the lad as his son. The only decent thing Michael Cleary did was to die!
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by L'Chaim
    He was a horrible person. He only thought of himself. He decided to become a priest. When he fell in love with Phyllis Hamilton, he could have done the decent and honourable thing and left the church and become a family man. But he didn't do that. One of the seven deadly sins is pride and he had it in spades. He loved his fame and he went out of his way to court it. And all the time he was living with Phyllis Hamilton, he was toeing the church line on sex before marriage, contraception etc. He was a hypocrite of the highest order. And at the end of his life he left Phyllis hamilton and his son with nothing. He didn't even acknowledge the lad as his son. The only decent thing Michael Cleary did was to die!
    You judgemental ****************************** .
    The square root of the golden ratio times pi is close to 4, this product is 3.996168.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by L'Chaim
    And all the time he was living with Phyllis Hamilton, he was toeing the church line on sex before marriage, contraception etc.
    Actually, unless I completely misheard the dialogue, the documentary contained a scene of him talking to a room full of teenage girls where he said something along the lines of "you shouldn't have sex before marriage but, if you do, be sure to always use a condom", which took me a little aback.
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    Politics.ie Member L'Chaim's Avatar
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    [quote=}IknowurbutwhatamI{]
    Quote Originally Posted by "L'Chaim":l81ctue4
    He was a horrible person. He only thought of himself. He decided to become a priest. When he fell in love with Phyllis Hamilton, he could have done the decent and honourable thing and left the church and become a family man. But he didn't do that. One of the seven deadly sins is pride and he had it in spades. He loved his fame and he went out of his way to court it. And all the time he was living with Phyllis Hamilton, he was toeing the church line on sex before marriage, contraception etc. He was a hypocrite of the highest order. And at the end of his life he left Phyllis hamilton and his son with nothing. He didn't even acknowledge the lad as his son. The only decent thing Michael Cleary did was to die!
    You judgemental ****************************** .[/quote:l81ctue4]

    Did I sum up his double standards wrong? His public life was an act. He didn't practice what he presched, which wouldn't be a big issue really....except for the dreadful way he treated Phyllis hamiltom and his son. His son said that Phyllis Hamilton drank herself to death and the two of them got more abuse than any people in their positions deserved. And all because of him. He wasn't a man!
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by L'Chaim
    He wasn't a man!
    Cleary was human like the rest of us, he made mistakes. Let him rest in peace.
    The square root of the golden ratio times pi is close to 4, this product is 3.996168.

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    [quote=}IknowurbutwhatamI{]
    Quote Originally Posted by "L'Chaim":2f61xkvn
    He wasn't a man!
    Cleary was human like the rest of us, he made mistakes. Let him rest in peace.[/quote:2f61xkvn]

    The only difference is that the rest of us don't get up on pulpits and lay down the moral law, and then go back to bed with your girlfriend.

    One of the interesting points was his anger that Casey had not confided in him about he having a son, as Cleary had confided in Casey. He went ballistic, according to a member of his family, calling him a "bastard" and thought Casey a hypocrite.

    Funny enough when the story about Cleary came out, it was revealed that he was vicious to women who had relationships with priests. One woman who went to him was reduced to tears by how he spoke to her. And then it turned out he was doing the same.

    The irony of it. Casey lashed out at Cleary over having a girlfiend and son. Cleary lashed out at other priests and their partners over having sexual relationships. Yet both Cleary and Casey were doing the very things they were condemning others for doing!

    Yes Cleary had many good points. He did great work in communities. But what was striking was that Cleary was ultimately a hypocrite who did not even tell his own family of his child, and even though dying lied to his own family when one of the family, thinking he had already done so, confirmed that Ross was his son.

    What struck me was the number of people he hurt. His sister is still clearly traumatised at discovering that her beloved brother broke his vows. His nieces are still rocked by what was revealed after his death. His son went off the rails after his parents' death, and has been left with no family member given that Cleary's lies destroyed the chances of his family being able to come to terms with Ross. Whatever about the good the man did in other families, he brought devastation and heartbreak to his own. It is hard to forgive a man who even when dying, lies about his own son to his family. Cleary struck me as a basically weak man with an ego. If he could not act honourably towards his own family, how can we honesty say that he acted honourably towards others, and that how he treated others was as much about himself and his ego as it was about doing right.

    BTW those of us who remember his radio show remember many times where he came across as vindictive and cruel. He made comments about the victim of statutory rape in the X case that drew grasps. How a supposed Christian could make those comments puzzled me then and puzzled me now.

    Ultimately it struck me that Clearly was simply a weak egotist who used everyone around him to massage his own ego. He bullied his partner into putting up their first child for adoption, and had his second son put in foster care in case he might let slip the true identity of his father. Ross avoided being adopted only because his mother stood up to Cleary having failed to do so over her first son. Cleary's behaviour towards his family was despicable.

  8. #8
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    I saw the documentary and found it equally fascinating and disturbing.

    Cleary typified the double-standards set not only by the Catholic Church in those dark days, but also by the gombeen politics of men like Haughey, and in truth - the wider underbelly of Irish society.

    From top to bottom this country was full of 'contradictions' at best, and pure hypocrisy at worst. Cleary was truly a man of his time.

    Thanks to the revelations about the behaviour of our 'betters', we have dropped the pretence, and now we see the kind of society we really always were beneath the mock puritanism - a populace of greedy, grasping, self servers.

    We've swapped the old holy joe crap for the new 'grab it while its going' crap.

    The Right Wing Establishment and Corporatists are the new Clergy of Capitalism, and just as self righteous and fundamentalist as the 'ancien regime'.

    The only person who came out of it all looking decent was youg Ross Cleary. He seemed an intelligent guy, although I read he's had rough times since his mother died. Thats understandable given the circumstances, but I wish him well.
    If I ever bump into him I'd be honoured to buy him a pint.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colada
    The only person who came out of it all looking decent was youg Ross Cleary. He seemed an intelligent guy, although I read he's had rough times since his mother died. Thats understandable given the circumstances, but I wish him well.
    If I ever bump into him I'd be honoured to buy him a pint.
    He came out of it as very genuine young guy who seemed to be very unlucky over who his parents and paternal family were.

    The film certainly showed that he has the 'presence' of his father, not just physically but in terms of a certain charisma. It was nice also to see old ladies come up to him and say nice things about him and his father. He seemed genuinely touched by their warmth to him.

    I'd certainly like to buy him a pint if I ever met him. He has had a rough time, a rough family life and a rather selfish father. It is a pity that Cleary's family cannot reconcile themselves to the fact that there is a child of their brother/uncle out there. You would think by now they would make the effort. To give him his due, Casey has reconciled with his son and Annie Murphy and they all appear to have a close bond and friendship. It could have been so very different if Cleary had shown as much concern for the welfare of his son as he showed for the protection of his own image.

    It was interesting also to hear Paul Williams. I have dealt with Paul a few times. He has always struck me as an honest guy. If he says the church behaved disgracefully after Cleary's death based on my experiences of Paul privately I would believe him. I do remember that Cleary left his partner and son without even a place to live. The church tried to kick them out of the house they had lived in, and by not acknowledging his son, Cleary had left him with no legal rights to Cleary's estate (Cleary was not poor, shall we say). The Hamiltons had to fight to hold on to their home. Christianity was not much in evidence in the behaviour of the Church after Cleary's death.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by L'Chaim
    He was a horrible person. He only thought of himself. He decided to become a priest. When he fell in love with Phyllis Hamilton, he could have done the decent and honourable thing and left the church and become a family man. But he didn't do that. One of the seven deadly sins is pride and he had it in spades. He loved his fame and he went out of his way to court it. And all the time he was living with Phyllis Hamilton, he was toeing the church line on sex before marriage, contraception etc. He was a hypocrite of the highest order. And at the end of his life he left Phyllis hamilton and his son with nothing. He didn't even acknowledge the lad as his son.
    i think what you've said here is true, although at the end I had some sympathy for him because of the country and family he was brought up in put much force on him to come a priest.
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