NAZIR AT BOOT HILL

A survivors response panel, including myself, met with Nazir Afzal, chair of Catholic Safeguarding, and other safeguarding officers last Thursday. So I really should write down my recollections for the record. I won’t go into great detail because I glazed over a bit as I heard Nazir’s endless excuses for inaction. But it could be relevant in future months, because my fellow survivors and I were – for the most part –  further disappointed and disillusioned by his response.

On a personal level, ironically, it was actually valuable to me because it triggered lots of useful recollections of being groomed as a kid by Catholic predators.  Although the motives and circumstances are clearly very different here, the end result is similar. The 15 year old boy inside me – desperate for a hero – really wanted to believe the CSSA was going to make a difference.  And that Nazir genuinely stood for change. Because that’s how those predators spun it, too. My  adult self wisely said to him, ‘Don’t be so bloody stupid. Can’t you see this is nonsense?’

That has some relevance to survivors as a whole because being given false hopes and expectations is injurious to our emotional well-being if we’re taken in by it. Most survivors are not. But that 15 year old boy inside me bought it, certainly at the previous meeting, and I’ve had to have a stern word with him.  At least  two of the predators,  Catholic Knights who abused me as a 15 year old,  were highly-esteemed lawyers and they were damn good at their grooming techniques. So I can understand why my inner child might eagerly respond to another lawyer such as Nazir. It may seem like an unpalatable connection, but every survivor will understand about this kind of triggering. And so should the CSSA.

But firstly, the background context. The CSSA, with Nazir at its head, presents itself as a dynamic new organisation wedded to change and putting a stop to Catholic abuse and this is what everyone believed. It’s certainly what the general public believe With his impressive CV how could it be otherwise? Nazir’s powerful tweets on other matters only add to this illusion. Not to mention Nazir’s warning to the Bishops at their conference that real change has to come and they are in ‘Last Chance Saloon’. For which, Nazir proudly told us, he received a standing ovation from the Bishops.

He’s unlikely to receive a standing ovation from Survivors.  

I was going to leave it to the Spring before writing something like this. That kid inside me said, ‘Come on, Pat. Give him a chance. Give him another month or two Be patient.’ But after Thursday’s meeting the responsible adult in me says his time is up. Nazir himself  has gone through the Last Chance Saloon,  and – as one survivor put it to me – he and Catholic Safeguarding are now in Boot Hill.  The cemetery.  It’s over.

I’ll get into a little of the detail below, but let’s look at the bottom line first. No matter how convincing the excuses – and Nazir is a lawyer, remember, and they have a talent for validating themselves that no other profession can possibly aspire to – the hard facts are the CSSA started in May 2021. 

Ten months have gone by during which Nazir has not spoken out on Catholic  abuse matters.

And there’s always a valid reason why it’s manana.  

Currently, manana may be the Spring. May be the Summer. He has a host of reasons why this is so, which a survivor described to me as ‘the most feeble of excuses’. Other survivors used rather more colourful language.

So at least a year will have gone by before major change – IF it happens.

The harsh facts are these – survivors are getting older, abusers are getting older. The Catholic Church has always relied on just waiting it out until everyone gets fed-up, ill, or dies. And, inadvertently or otherwise, Nazir is  part of that process.

These matters are too serious to be put on ice for one year. It needs action.

Now.

Perhaps in the Summer some change will come, but it will be largely cosmetic. It’s what I originally feared – that the dynamic new CSSA – will be just window dressing and no profound changes will have happened or serious concerns addressed.

So what are the changes needed? And the concerns raised?

Gosh! Where do we start?

I and two other survivors  actually spent over an hour preparing three questions on just three isssues between us because of the limitations of time when we had our hour-long Zoom with the CCSA. It’s crazy, time consuming and wrong  squeezing three important questions into an hour. In the future it’s likely to be worse. They will probably then be filtered through a soon-to-be-appointed comms officer, who will take more time – manana – to get up to speed. How much time? It’s personally taken me a lifetime to make authoritative sense of the crimes of the Catholic Church.

In fact, each of these changes and concerns requires extensive debate, explanation and progress reports by experts – not just through the regular media but through Catholic media, too, who – to the best of my knowledge – have little recorded interest in them. Like the CSSA.

It’s unfortunate that survivors seem to be doing their job and are the only major critics of the Church. With the great exception of Richard Scorer – thankfully, one lawyer at least genuinely on the side of survivors – and similar professionals.  But most media and academics – with a few honorable exceptions – seem to shamefully keep their mouths shut on the Church’s endless crimes. So we have to do their work for them.

This list is far from complete, but these are the issues that come to mind:

*Mandatory reporting.

*Repudiation of Non-Disclosure Agreements.  A subject Nazir has been specifically asked about  by a survivor and given a lawyer’s response to, which I take as ‘nothing doing’.

*The role of the Catholic laity as sexual abusers. I’m pleased to say the police are actively looking at this, but meanwhile the CSSA ain’t doing anything. Let me make it very clear : Catholic laity predators are still out there. Provably from one very serious current abuse case.  I thus raised the issue of DBS checks on laity involved with kids. Because I know from an inside source that DBS checks are missing where some of the Catholic laity are concerned. No response. But it’s much wider and worse than that and the CSSA are just sitting on it all until the cops make their report.  Meanwhile, kids are at risk every day.

*Is Catholic abuse still going on as in past decades? Most of us, myself included until recently, buy into the Catholic-spread myth that the abuse era is over due to the more aware times we now live in. Not true. IICSA firmly acknowledges it is still happening in its report. Some Catholic abuse is also transgenerational – which the CSSA has never looked at, despite a highly praised academic report from Oz. And now, Catholic priests have ingeniously adapted today’s technologies to abuse a new generation of kids. Be careful, this link is a long and deeply disturbing read. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/cleveland-priest-gets-life-victims?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web  Don’t tell me this techno-priest is just one rotten apple. No.  He’s just the only techno-priest who got caught. The whole orchard is rotten and there’s just a few good apples out there.

*Acknowledging the organised nature of Catholic paedophile rings, past and present. These filth do NOT act in isolation as the media likes to present it. I’ve proved it endlessly on this site. And academic studies have also proved it.Are the CSSA interested? No.

*Canon Law. I only knew recently that it’s still active and directly challenges and subverts the Law of the Land.  Catholic laity still quote it in public in defence of their actions.  I dread to think how they endorse it behind closed doors. It has to be publicly repudiated where it contravenes the law as a matter of urgency. Many survivors put that as ‘numero uno’, alongside Mandatory Reporting.

*Catholic Insurance. One survivor brought this up on Thursday – how the Catholic Church runs its own insurance company and its insurers dictate replies. This is hardly in line with the Elliott review that insists on a heartfelt response. I think the CSSA said they’d look into this subject.

* Also on Thursday:  Abuse being dealt with at a local diocese or parish level where those investigating may be partisan to the perpetrator 

*There was also no acknowledgement of the European and global dimension to Catholic abuse.  As one survivor put it to me, it was like the CSSA was acting without reference to the wider picture. Rather useful if you want to dismiss American and Australian research. Not to mention the horrific and often organised Catholic abuse in France, Spain and Germany now being revealed.

*The abusive links between RC and C of E.  Bishop Ball is one example, but I know from my childhood there is a wider, organised dimension.

*Why the CSSA doesn’t have an ongoing open forum on social media to respond to survivors concerns – like this post –  so a genuine  dialogue can be established. Maybe manana, Nazir told me. I told him how hurtful it was for survivors to read his tweets that highlight his commendable stand on any number of important social issues, but never regarding  the job for which he is Chair. He insisted he kept his two roles separate and he only tweeted about matters on which he had a personal perspective. Never in his capacity as Chair of CSSA.  His reasoning for this separation is questionable but it is also not true.

Here is a recent ‘personal’ tweet by him.

nazir afzal@nazirafzal·Feb 12Lesson

Technically a “Paedophile” is abusing pre-pubescent children

A “Hebophile” abuses those in early stages of puberty, 11-14

A ‘Ephebephile” abuses those in later stages, 15+

The reason why you don’t hear that

Because making that distinction makes you sound like a Paedophile

…………………………………..

Catholic websites are notorious for trying to excuse much abuse by claiming much vile and criminal abuse is actually Ephebephiia. With the clear but unspoken subtext: “It’s not so bad”. As survivor of Ephebephilia, I can assure them it is just as bad. If not worse. So I would say that tweet is very relevant to Nazir’s role as Chair.  It is clearly NOT a personal tweet on an unrelated matter.  He is not making the distinctions/boundaries that are vital to survivors. To me, he appears to be taking a similar position to those injurious and defensive Catholic websites. As a survivor of all three categories, and the damage all three cause, I find that very offensive.

*Female Catholic laity abuse. Officially it doesn’t exist and no one’s interested.  In very recent years, the  organized and sexually abusive role of nuns as pimps is now confirmed in Germany and elsewhere so there’s progress. But the female Catholic laity have successfully avoided attention thus far. It’s most unlikely to be just historic abuse. They’re just better at not being caught.

Very little items on this list above will ever be looked at by the CSSA.

On a purely practical level, everyone including Nazir is a part-timer- and I’d say that’s a deliberate and clever plan by the Church to create the illusion but not the substance of change. No amount of unpaid overtime they undertake can possibly deal with these weighty issues.

At best, on these concerns, there will be a damage limitation exercise because that’s actually the true function of the CSSA. A PR exercise, just like the appointment of Pope Francis – provably guilty of serious abuse cover-ups in Argentina. If  Nazir and co. don’t know that, then they’ve been duped and groomed by the Bishops as artfully as I was groomed by Catholic abusers as a kid. Believe me, Catholic abusers are darn good at manipulating the young and vulnerable.  And, perhaps, the middle-aged and professionals, too. For the seminaries where Catholic abusers learn their dark arts  – as a matter of record – are also where the Bishops learnt their skills.  That’s where all concerned develop those horrible, fake, pious expressions which always puts me on red alert. Watch Cardinal Nichols on youtube fake-apologising for the Church’s crimes and you’ll see just what I mean. He deserves an Oscar for that performance. Maybe, at best, some cosmetic changes will happen with Nazir and be trumpeted from the roof tops as great achievements.  But children deserve  far more and far better – whether it’s we  survivors – or children today, facing the new dangers of the techno-priests.  

The CSSA simply can’t hack it. And the sooner we recognise this, the sooner it will help us heal because we’re not distracted or confused by false hopes and waste our precious time and energy on them. I don’t think Nazir and co. are aware of just  how serious and injurious  it is for survivors when he and his organisation make promises they can’t keep.

 I got taken in back in around 2005 when Eileen Shearer, a non-Catholic, was appointed to run Safeguarding. Back then, too, I was promised real and dynamic change. She lasted a couple of years and left, apparently because she tried to do her job, and fell out with the Bishops.  Maybe that’s what will happen in Nazir’s case. Then we have to rewind the clock  and start all over again. That smells to me like a Church scam, a clever technique that British politicians use all the time. A way of treading water and letting the years roll on by. The Catholic Church is so good at this. Thus they seem to have already successfully outmanoeuvred the recent IICSA  report and the Elliot Review.  And this should have been predicted because it’s what criminals do and – in this context – the Church is a criminal organisation. Thus the CSSA are protecting a criminal hierarchy. The Church has even  been named and confirmed as a criminal organisation in a highly respected academic study (see my Dark Network post). In that respect, it’s no different to the Mafia. No one would expect the Mafia to reform itself. The Church has forfeited its right to do so by its ongoing crimes.

For all these reasons, Nazir and his CSSA and the hopes of real change are long past the Last Chance Saloon. They’re in Boot Hill. The cemetery. It’s all over.

What should be done?  In my view, like breaking up any criminal organisation, the Catholic Church needs to be supervised by an external Occupying Power. It needs the external authority to impose change, break the rules of omerta, and re-educate at every level. It’s what some survivors have already called for.

Perhaps after a couple more major scandals, which will inevitably happen, the public, sick of hearing of the Catholic Church’s endless crimes, will demand genuine rather than cosmetic change and insist on a true external agency, not one funded by the Bishops with a group of  well-meaning but obedient part-timers at the helm.

In the meantime, Nazir and co. are a distraction from the genuine work that lies ahead.

Meanwhile, for the 15 year old kid inside me, desperate for justice, who was once hoodwinked by a succession of highly respectable and devout Catholic paedophiles in Ipswich, the confirmed  paedophile capital of the UK,  I’d say this to him: ‘Don’t listen to the CSSA’s nonsense anymore. I’ll keep any eye on you, kid. You won’t be fooled again.’

1 thought on “ NAZIR AT BOOT HILL

  1. I have no faith and no trust in Nazir the sooner he goes the better the Same for cardinal Nickols how can you have changed with them two running the show we need a leader some one who will fight our corner Nazir your not that person

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