A former Irish soldier who served in the UK in World War II says he is not sure what to make of the Church of St Jamsons in Cork and the congregation of its former members.
A former Irish army corporal, Martin O’Brien was among a small group of veterans who spent time with St Josephs church in the early 1970s.
He was in the same class of recruits as other members of the Irish Army, who were sent to Australia during World War I to train in the Australian Army, where they had to wear uniforms.
He says the group of soldiers were mostly male, but one of the female members was married to a man.
“They didn’t have any wives,” Mr O’Donnell said.
“I was with a couple of guys, I think it was four or five of them, I don’t know what the hell they were doing with their wives.”
One of them was married and I’m sure she was there when I was going through my training.
“But they were very much married, and they were all very religious.”
Mr O’OBrien was part of a group of Irish soldiers who spent four months with the St James church in Dublin in 1972.
“It was a really good church and a good congregation,” he said.
Mr O, who lives in Perth, said he attended church services for about three years with his former platoon mates.
“It felt like a home for me, you know, it was a church that I felt like I belonged to, you could see the same thing when you were in the church,” he explained.
“The congregation was very good and it felt like family.”
A church spokesperson confirmed to The Irish News that Mr OBrien was present in the parish in 1972 but declined to comment further.
The St Joseph church, located in the north-east corner of the city, has long been linked to the Irish War Office.
Its former membership was later split and in 2015 it was declared an orphanage.
“When the parish was declared orphanage, it became the only Irish orphanage in Australia,” Mr John O’Sullivan, a former parish priest said.
“We’re not a big church, it’s a little church, but it was like a community.”
Mr McBride, the former St Joseph pastor, said that at some point, he became aware of a history of child abuse by some of the former parishioners, including a priest and two other parishioner’s children.
“We have an allegation of child sex abuse, but at the time of the abuse it was done by one or two of the church’s former members,” Mr McBride said.
A letter sent to the Catholic Church by a former member of St Joseph, addressed to the parish, said: “The congregation is now a registered orphanage and there is no indication that the children are still alive.
We can confirm that we have a letter from a former church member who was a child molester and has since died.”
If you or any of your friends are considering leaving the church, please take this opportunity to contact us and let us know that you are leaving.
“In 2013, the Catholic church was the target of a Royal Commission, which resulted in the resignation of Bishop Paul McHugh.
In its response, the church said it had ceased the abuse and its membership had been reduced.
A former parish church in Perth.
(Supplied: Catholic Church)Mr McBrien said he was not surprised to find the church was in danger of closure.”
It’s hard to imagine that.””
You never really know what’s going on in a church.
It’s hard to imagine that.”
The Catholic Church has also received a number of complaints, including that the former members of St John’s Church were sexually abusing children, which the Catholic hierarchy has strongly denied.
The church’s website says it was “one of the first to acknowledge the serious nature of child sexual abuse in the 1980s”.
A spokesman for the Anglican Church in Australia said the church had “been in touch” with the Irish government and it was committed to “supporting and assisting the victims of child molestation”.
The Catholic church said its staff would continue to support and assist victims of abuse.
“All victims of sex abuse in our congregation have been made whole, have been discharged from the Church, and have received counselling,” it said in a statement.
“Our community is safe and protected.”