The Catholic Church fails to enforce its ban on Father Patrick Maye

  • By a Broken Rites researcher

Broken Rites has confirmed that a Catholic priest — Padraic (Patrick) Maye — conducted church services in Queensland after the church had promised to remove him from the ministry in Victoria.

Paddy Maye, who was born in Ireland (in a village called The Neale in County Mayo), was among a significant number of Irish priests who were recruited many years ago by the Australian church.

In Australia, Paddy Maye spent his career in the Melbourne archdiocese. Research by Broken Rites has ascertained that Maye's Melbourne parishes included: Frankston, Daylesford and Ormond in the 1960s; Mentone in the early 1970s; Airport West in the late 1970s; Mulgrave (the "Good Shepherd" parish.), 1980-1994; and Yarraville (St Augustine's parish), 1994-2005.

One edition of the Australian Catholic directory (1981) gives his full name as Fr. Patrick Joseph Maye.

By 2005, the Melbourne archdiocese had received reports from women, each of whom complained about an encounter that she had had in Melbourne (many years earlier) with Father Padraic Maye. Father Maye denied the allegations.

One of the women had consulted Broken Rites in 2004 before dealing with the church's "Towards Healing" process. She said that she had been an adult (and in a distressed, vulnerable state) at the time of her encounter with Father Maye.

Two other women told "Towards Healing" that they had been children at the time of the encounters.

Following an investigation in 2005 by the Melbourne archdiocese's complaints officer (Mr Peter O'Callaghan, QC), the archdiocese accepted the complaints. The archdiocese promised the women that it would force Father Maye to retire with his "canonical faculties" removed, so he could not act in public as a priest in parishes of the Melbourne archdiocese.

But that did not stop Paddy Maye.

  1. Although removed from the ministry in Melbourne, he was available to act as a relieving priest, elsewhere in Australia. On 18 May 2010, a Queensland parishioner (who reads the Broken Rites website) emailed Broken Rites, saying that between 2006 and 2009 Paddy Maye visited the Tugan/Coolangatta parish on the Queensland Gold Coast to relieve a priest who was on holidays. Broken Rites checked this report at the office of the Tugan parish, which confirmed that Paddy Maye had indeed done this relieving work there. During Maye's work there, the Tugan parishioners were not aware that he had been removed from ministering as a Catholic priest. The Tugan parish is within the Brisbane diocese.
  2. After being removed by the Melbourne archdiocese in 2005, "Father" Maye twice celebrated the annual Mass for Victoria's Irish community.
  3. In 2007, two years after being removed by the Melbourne archdiocese, he conducted Mass in his native village, The Neale, in Ireland, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination.
  4. Catholics, who did not know about his removal from the ministry, presumed that "Father" Maye was still able to perform weddings as a marriage celebrant.

Patrick Maye is an "old friend" of another Irish-born Catholic cleric, Bishop David Cremin, who has been one of Sydney's auxiliary bishops. The Catholic Weekly, 28 February 2010, reported Bishop Cremin's 80th birthday party (five years after Father Maye was banned in Melbourne): "The guest list included the Irish ambassador, Máirtín Ó Fainín, the Irish Consul General Patrick Scullion, Bishop Geoff Robinson, chancellor of the Sydney archdiocese Monsignor John Usher, old friend Fr Padraic Maye from Melbourne, priests, religious brothers and sisters and members of Bishop Cremin's family."

That is, a Catholic newspaper was still referring to "Father" Maye in 2010 — five years after he had been removed from the ministry.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart has written letters warning Padraic Maye against working as a priest and saying "any publicity will reflect adversely upon yourself [and] upon the church". However, the archbishop has not publicized the removal of Maye — presumably the archbishop's silence was in order to protect the image of the church. Therefore, many people have been unaware that Paddy Maye is no longer a licensed priest and therefore they still regard him as "Father" Maye.