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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 14 July, 2020

Column: Cardinal Rules - A diocesan fiscal crisis

The (not) Primate of All Ireland documents his efforts to make ends meet – with a little help from David Hasselhoff…

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady

THIS WEEK, like my colleagues in Dublin,  I found myself dealing with the thorny problem of diocesan financing. The thorny problem being that there was none.


I call a meeting of the priests in the house to discuss how we might find more money. The diocese is ailing I tell them. The coffers have run dry due to “unforeseen financial pressures.”

I inform everybody that we will have to tighten our belts and live more frugally. “You mean live like monks!?” says a shocked Fr Lawlor. There is horror at the very suggestion.

“We should have a bring and buy sale,” pipes up Fr Moran. This inspires lots of tittering from the other priests. Fr Moran has been obsessed by bring and buy sales ever since he found a rare Bunty annual in Cavan in 1982. It was allegedly all the more valuable because it contained a surprisingly untouched “Bunty at the Beach” themed cut-out wardrobe.

Fr Lawlor says, “Bring and buy sales are just so eighties.” Fr Moran glares at him.

Fr Deegan offers me his piggy bank. I thank him, but gently decline the offer.


At mass we urge everyone present to “dig a little deeper” for the weekly church basket collection. Later, I discover that Fr Quinn has attempted to convince a row of confused pensioners that he hasn’t already sent around the basket, and that “No, this is the first time.” I give him a stern talking to.

The “digging deeper” gambit has raised a slightly above average yield, along with two marbles, an old five pence piece, and a crumpled piece of paper bearing the signature “David Hasselhoff.”


The announcement that I am cutting everybody’s pocket money is greeted with dismay. I also tell everybody that I am cancelling our Sky Sports subscription, and I attempt to soften the blow by saying that it “just hasn’t been the same since Richard Keys and Andy Gray left.” On that there is widespread agreement.

Fr Deegan again attempts to give me his piggy bank. I pat him on the head and thank him for the offer.


We discover that the David Hasselhoff autograph is genuine by comparing it to the autographed photo sent to Fr Lawlor who is a fully paid member of the David Hasselhoff fan club.

We put the autograph up on eBay, along with Fr Moran’s Bunty annual. Within moments there are five figure bids for the David Hasselhoff autograph. Meanwhile, Fr Moran’s Bunty annual struggles to reach its reserve of one euro, mainly because it no longer has its Bunty at the Beach wardrobe cut out section.

A lot of judgemental glances are directed at a blushing Fr Moran.


Fr Ryan has the idea of charging for the parish newsletter, but also making it more attractive by inserting a weekly free gift.

The first free gift is a Jesus space spinner. The issue is a roaring success, and to keep up with demand we have to order more Jesus space spinners.

Unfortunately the manufacturing costs of the Jesus space spinners cancels out the money made by selling the newsletter. We are back to square one.


A letter from David Hasselhoff asks to desist from selling a fake David Hasselhoff autograph on eBay. We can tell the autograph is fake because we can now compare it to the real David Hasselhoff signature on the letter.

We have to pay damages to David Hasselhoff. We pay for these by selling the real David Hasselhoff signature on eBay. We discover that the so-called David Hasselhoff fan club is a front for a man working out of his sitting room in Kilbeggan.

Unfortunately all profits from us selling the real David Hasselhoff signature are eaten up by us hiring a private detective to investigate the fake David Hasselhoff fan club.

We are back to square one.


It is decided that we have perhaps been over-reaching ourselves, so we attempt to drum up money using more traditional methods.

We have a raffle in the local old folks home. The raffle consists of a teddy bear, a slightly out of date box of Milk Tray, and Fr Ryan’s VHS copy of The Spy Who Loved Me.

We sell ten tickets.

Fr Lawlor suggests asking the local nuns for a loan. “Everyone knows that nuns always have money,” he says. I tell him that borrowing money is an act of desperation, and is merely a short term solution to the threat of long term fiscal crisis.

Later that day I break into Fr Deegan’s piggy bank.

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About the author:

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady

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