Saturday, October 13, 2012

Introibo ...

This is Fr. Morgan Costello.

As a young altar boy I served a load of his masses and a few Easter ceremonies. He was a young likeable priest on his first assignment. This was in the Cenacle Convent, Killiney, where he was chaplain around 1960.

It was around this time that he started writing religious pamphlets for Veritas, the Roman Catholic publishing company. The first pamphlet was a biography of Saint Maria Goretti, a young girl who had been killed while defending her virginity against an attempting rapist.

He moved from there to Castledermot, where I visited him and had a cup of tea and scones.

He moved from there to St. Catherine's, in Meath St. in Dublin's Liberties. I had meanwhile acquired a printing press and got an order from him for a book of baptism certificate blanks, which I duly provided, and fully filled in versions of which are now, no doubt, spread around the city and beyond.

That was the last I saw of him, but I was aware that he was well regarded in the Diocese. At least I assumed that to be the case, as he had been chosen to advance the causes for the beatification/canonisation of Edel Quinn and Matt Talbot.

And there my unremarkable story ends.

Until, that is, during the week in the course of a chat about the baptismal font in St. Catherine's, I mentioned his name to a former colleague. I was shocked when he indicated that Fr. Costello had been involved in abuse in Meath St.

I didn't pursue the matter then, but, today, I googled him and was further shocked and upset to find him charged with repeatedly buggering a young man, who was working in the church, over a period of two years (1967-69). He appeared in court in January 2010 and the case was listed for a hearing on 30 July 2012. The State has since decided not to prosecute the case and it is terminated. The Director of Public Prosecutions does not give reasons for such a move. Morgan Costello is no longer listed in the Dublin diocesan directory.

So why am I posting this when I wasn't the one abused?

I don't really know the answer. The initial shock has turned to anger. And I suppose, in a way, it just brings further home to me that the rational, relatively friendly, world I lived in as a youth has been falling apart in the last few years.

I worked in Jersey (CI) in 1961 and fell in love with the place. Now I find that while I was there, rampant child abuse was taking place in Haut de la Garenne and other places.

The church I grew up in has turned out to be rotten at the core. Even though perpetrated by a minority of priests, the scale of child sex abuse was enormous. Central HQ and others covered it up, and, at a broader level, have held on implacably to power, giving two fingers to the Second Vatican Council and jackbooting the faithfull in the face.

And, of course, there was more abuse, outside church and state institutions, in ordinary homes the length and breadth of the country.

The political system of governance which I had thought a democracy, in the full sense of that word, has turned out to be a sham and a scam.

The European Union, which I initially found inspiring, and which was meant, among other things, to be a counter weight to the USA, has turned out to be the lackey of the war mongering mad max USA administration. It has also failed in its duty of care to its citizens and has created one of the most horrible messes, short of outright war on the home front.

So there really isn't a lot of my youth, outside of my own family, whose integrity has not suffered over the last decades.

... ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.

Fat chance.


  1. The only thing we can really be sure of is, change. Nothing stays the same for very long. And in regard to your above references, so much the better.

  2. St. Maria Goretti is the patron saint of, inter alia, victims of rape.

    For God's sake.

  3. Fr. Morgan has not being charged in conection with any sex charges ! So my fickel friend why not look up Fr. Morgan , pop in for some tea and scones and resume your old friendship.

    But then you already you have made up your own mind.... Judge and jury.

  4. @ Anonymous

    As you will see from my account above Fr. Morgan has been so charged and appeared in court in Jasnuary 2010. The DPP has since decided not to follow through on the prosecution and the charges have been dropped.

  5. My brother was an alter boy many years ago in a parish that Fr Costello worked in. Because of him my brother committed suicide. My only wish before I die would be; that Fr Costello admitted the wrong he did to so many boys.

    1. So tragic. So many innocent victims have been cruelly doubted. It will be a long time before the scale of harm from Church-related abuse is fully known. Not only the vile, direct harm of abuse itself, but the tragedy of victim blaming, and of terrible disillusionment, loss of trust.

  6. My father worked alongside him for many years on the Dublin Matt Talbot Committee but had a falling out with him because of his duplicitous behaviour a couple of years before his death (my father), There was an incident in Sean Mc'Dermott Street Parish when Costelloe was Adm. there in the 1970- 80s. My father with others protected him in his house while a crowd tried to attack it. To my father the accusations were false and malicious - how wrong he was. Funny thing was my mother for whatever reason would never let myself or my brothers be alone with Costelloe - thank God

  7. I remember Morgan Costello when I was growing up in Portmarnock in the 1960s. He was a profilic abuser and sadist. But his position, as with practically all figures of authority made him untouchable

  8. Anonymous @ 11:19 AM

    Portmarnock? How come?

    1. He operated around Portmarnock and Baldoyle. He was a curate in Portmarnock, I think, but was transferred after abusing a young lad in the church vestry.

    2. I knew and worked with Father Morgan Costello in the cause of Matt Talbot. I have to say not just because of this shocking revelation, that I am about sick to my stomach when I think of the regard I held the Catholic Church in Ireland for all those years.

      I know that have to careful about thinking I can throw the stone but I have about had it.

      It seems that the only real prayer I can say these days is to St. Michael the Archangel because the wickedness and snares of devil are all around us.

  9. I have now been reliably informed that he was a curate in Baldoyle in 1960-64 and that he also covered for some masses in Portmarnock.

  10. he con celebrated my wedding with another priest in 1980's- when he discovered he was just the monkeys mate the day beforehand and not kingpin on the altar he was viscous about it - put his ego ahead of our big day

  11. I recently came across an entry in my tracker which showed that someone was searching for "late fr morgan costelloe". This made me wonder had I missed a death notice in recent times.

    I have now confirmed with the authorities that Morgan Costello is still alive but is not longer a priest of the Dublin Archdiocese.

    Just for information.

  12. Fr Costello died 03/07/2016

    1. Thanks. I'll keep an eye out for the arrangements.

  13. Anonymous at 9:12 pm

    Thank you for informing me of Morgan Costello's death. I have confirmed this with the Diocese.

    There will be no notice of arrangements and, in keeping with the practice in these sort of cases, the funeral will be private in deference to any family that might still be around. Known survivors will be notified of the death after the burial.

    I can see where the church is coming from on this and I gather there have been disturbances in the past causing grief to the family of the deceased who are innocent parties in the matter.

    This is, however, an uneasy compromise as some survivors might have got closure from attending the funeral and without causing any fuss whatsoever.

    I am not a victim, and therefore not a survivor, but I did feel a compulsion to attend the funeral. I'm not fully sure where this came from. I have been keeping an eye on the death notices for a good while and I think it had something to do with closure after the shock of betrayal I felt when I discovered Morgan Costello's abominations just over three years ago.

    I am not a believer but there are times I wish I were and this is one of them.

  14. R.I.P.
    FR.Morgan Costello

    An old friend.

  15. Morgan Costello was a vile,evil person protected in life and death by sick people who protect the reputation of the church at all costs.To anonymous January 17 2013 I say, scores of boys were harmed in some way by Morgan Costello,we did not judge him,we told our stories to the proper authorities who did not judge him either.Did they fail in their duty or are we the survivors and also those regretfully departed a bunch of liars?
    Costello might now finally be judged

    1. Well done Matt Costigan. Pity more evil people just dont die