EVIDENCE OF ORGANISED CATHOLIC ABUSE

A reader wrote back in response to my post THE IMPORTANCE OF FIGHTING BACK. He asked for his reply to be kept private so I will respect that and call him Lee (not his real name).

Lee asked about evidence for organised abuse and the ‘Hidden Theology’ of the Church so I thought I’d share my thoughts and limited knowledge on the subject here.

The evidence that convinces me abuse is/was organised is still extensive but is a work in progress. If I cross-reference everything and quote sources and provide web links it will take me at least a day.

In the unlikely event that anyone is seriously interested in following this up, I will do so.

Anywhere, here is my summary of the evidence:

1) My own personal experience. IMHO it’s astonishing that the only three priests I knew during my Catholic upbringing were all abusers. That’s a helluva co-incidence. I’ve given outline details of the three priests in Fighting Back and could provide comprehensive accounts on all three should it ever become necessary. 

2) I think the ‘one rotten apple in the barrel theory’ is therefore unlikely and most people have surely realised by now it’s so much bigger. The staggering clerical abuse figures bear this out.

But this also begs a question – what about the congregation? That’s the elephant in the room that’s never talked about – yet.

Some congregations – hopefully the majority – wouldn’t have known. Some would have known and kept quiet. Some would have known and dealt with the priests or reported them. (I’m aware of one such example in my era)

But some members of the congregation would have participated.

Because that’s human nature. Why would it be just the priests and monks? That really doesn’t make sense if you stop and think about it. But I’m only aware of one confirmed account of organised Catholic congregation abuse. It went to court and I have the details. Just one. I did a comprehensive Google search and couldn’t find any more.

3) Now we come to the Knights who are, of course, part of the Congregation. A brief introduction:

There are the British Knights of St Columba (KOSC), the Irish Knights of St Columbanus (KOSCB) and the American Knights of Columbus (KOC). There are variations for each country, but in over-arching terms they can be treated as the same. They all belong to the same ‘parent’ group. They all strongly deny they’re masonic but that’s how most people would describe them then and now. A comparison of masonic and Catholic Knight rituals would convince most of us.

The KOC is still very secretive. Knights and Squires – young men – still have to swear a vow of secrecy about what goes on. Still. (I can quote from their official site)

The KOSC were secretive, masonic and ritualistic when I was growing up. They also had Squires in my era. This stopped towards the end of the 60s. Too late for me, unfortunately. Their original ritual nature is confirmed on Wikipedia.

I have a copy of the KOC rituals and it can be read on line. And I have some confirming similar written details of the KOSCB. So it’s reasonable to conclude all three very roughly used the same rituals.

These rituals are very unhealthy psychologically, they’re colourful, scary and use creepy role play (‘Trick’ blood etc.) They’re also tedious to read. It’s probably why they’ve never been investigated – they’re bloody boring to go through. The Knights enthusiastically admit they’re trying to screw with the heads of new entrants. And that’s utterly wrong! It’s the kind of stuff I would associate with cults like Scientology.

And, of course, that’s just the rituals in print. It’s reasonable to assume with such secretive organisations that there would be more that will always be out of the public gaze.

One of the three priest abusers I’ve mentioned is listed on an incomplete list of dead KOSC members as a Knight. The fanatically religious father of a second priest abuser is also there as a Knight. It’s reasonable to think his son was a Knight, too. Plus there’s my recollections. The third abuser priest is not listed, but given his wealthy and elitist background it’s also fair to assume he, too, was a Knight.

I’m currently researching two other relevant Knights. I have to check the info on their death certificates to ensure I’ve found the right guys before I talk publicly about them. I have their names and the dates of their deaths.  Let’s call them Knight X and Knight Y for now.

There’s also a couple of other relevant Knights, but they don’t seem as important. One of them was a convert, an ex-Anglo-Catholic, and he had long conversations with me about the gay Cardinal Newman, the Oxford Movement etc. Being a bookworm as a kid, I was very impressed. I guess that was his grooming technique: to make me feel important and perhaps to rationalise his crimes. I’m reminded of Evelyn Waugh’s famous quote – ‘Beware of Anglo-Catholics, they’re all sodomites.’ 

4) But ’Follow the money’ is usually the best way to get to the bottom of things. My expensive college fees, and my brother’s, were paid for ‘By the Church’. That’s a total of 8 years school fees (we both failed the eleven plus). Three sources directly or indirectly confirm our fees were paid for ‘By the Church’. Why? The Church doesn’t usually do that. Why did two boys qualify? We were a poor council house family, so there was nowhere else the money could have come from.

My belief is that the Knights were the Church agency that paid the fees. Knight X and Knight Y were close friends of the family. Knight X was a part-time stepdad. And later, Knight Y had ambitions in that direction which did not make me happy. One bullying abusive step dad was more than enough.

The KOSC may have paid all the fees or Knight X may have topped it up. He may have been the KOSC treasurer. He certainly had a lot of clout. A lot of it around my head. So when I started fighting back – as kids do around age 14 or 15, and saying ‘I want this to stop’– that’s when the money mysteriously dried up and I was out on my ear at age 15, my St Joseph’s College days suddenly at an abrupt end.

The KOSC was intimately connected with St Joseph’s. It was the Knights who helped finance the actual purchase of St J’s Birkfield. The news clippings I have state that it was the Knights’ long and difficult financial negotiations that resulted in the school building and grounds being purchased from the R and W Paul family.

Subsequently, the KOSC maintained their close link to St Js, and are mentioned in other news clippings – such as the St J’s School Sports Day.

So you can see how I came to my conclusions: Follow the money.

5) The Knights back in my era have been described to me by four Old Boys as ‘strange’, ‘weird’ and ‘sinister’.

‘They were too weird even for my dad’ was how one St J’s Old Boy put it to me.

It was because of these comments that I finally decided to look into them as my memories of these Knights had been bugging me for at least two decades.

Back then, the Knights were definitely the financial elite of the Congregation. You had to have money to join. As an altar boy, I witnessed this first-hand.

In St Marks, our newly-built council estate church, this elite group was gathered in a special reserved praying, or rather preying, group at the back, and they never mixed with us council estate-Catholics. They included a lawyer, a coroner, a magistrate, and a teacher from St J’s and his missus. With one exception (someone who had sons at St J’s), the elite never mingled amongst the other working-class worshippers.

Why were they exhibiting this very obvious apartheid? And why would the regular Congregation tolerate it? I knew that this elite group had previously attended the established St Pancras church in Ipswich town centre. So why slum it on a council estate? The obvious answer is for power. They got a kick out of lording it over the poor.  They needed people to look up to them.

I’m reminded again of Evelyn Waugh, another elite Catholic who agonised over sharing his upper-class religion with Irish Catholics, and is on record as describing them as ‘Bog Catholics.’ I think the Ipswich elite felt the same way about us ‘Council House Catholics’.

We were prey. Well, I was anyway. A prime example of droit de seigneur.

Back to the Knights. I’m only aware of one ritual that I witnessed. It wasn’t Eyes Wide Shut, but it was still ritualistic, unpleasant and misogynistic. I was around 13, so I doubt I really understood the finer details. But it was certainly anti-women and there was a rationale that was explained to me. It wasn’t an orgy, and I was just an onlooker, thankfully. In fact, I recall it as a kind of pseudo-serious ceremony. It seemed to focus on sneering at a stand-in for Mary Magdalene… You can possibly fill in the dots yourself. 

The rest is a bit vague at this point in time, so I’m not going to speculate or try to reconstruct it. Not least because their successors will deny it. Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

Anyway, it was an example of the Inner Theology. Sorry I can’t be more precise, it was a very long time ago. However, I do remember them clearly really banging on about the duty of Knights and how they’re all there for each other. Very masonic. And  if I stayed the course,  my golden future would be ensured with them. Which, if you’re a kid on a council estate, is great news. Bring on the funny handshakes!

But if I didn’t stay the course…

I just wanted the bastards to stop – especially as I got older. To hell with the rewards, I didn’t care. I really wanted to smash the bloody Hillman Minx car of that Knight priest. I still do. Because I could never hit a priest. He’s a Man of God. 

Making it stop. That’s all that mattered.

I don’t think there was any formal and ritualistic vow of silence, which is surprising. Maybe they just took my silence for granted. My guess is I was never a formal Squire.

I know I was told in no uncertain terms to be silent on the subject from my mother, one of the priests, and his fellow Knights.

But that’s not me. I have a long and provable history of whistleblowing that continues to this day, and on this blog, of course. I think it was my defence mechanism so I didn’t become a victim. It was the nearest I could get to fighting back.  And at the age of 14, I would have been full of teenage defiance. So their various threats to shut me up got them nowhere.

Finally, one of them – I believe it was the magistrate – looked me sternly in the eye and gravely warned me, ‘If you do not keep silent, you will rue the day you were born.’

For me, that was ‘middle-class code’ for beating the shit out of me. Or worse. That shut me up – for a while anyway. And then I tried to forget the whole vile bunch.

6) So what’s happening today? There’s a lot emerging about the KOC now: a number of disturbing cases of abuse. I have the various links. And the KOCB had their well-known masonic role in Irish government. But you won’t find anything about today’s KOSC, other than the numerous good works they do – which is excellent news.

So they must have turned over a new leaf between the 60s and today. Or maybe it was just the KOSC in Ipswich that had its own strange ‘Inner Theology’? Let’s hope so.

However, about four years ago there was a disturbing local newspaper report about a KOSC member in Colchester who had used his position to abuse children. He was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. 18 years. That’s a pretty hefty sentence. Serious crimes were clearly involved. But what is even more disturbing is that it was not covered by the national press. Just mentioned briefly by the local papers.

Whether there is a media blackout on certain organisations is hard to prove.  Certainly I’m aware of a media blackout by all the papers on Recovered Memories of abuse. Thus there was the American detective, Frank Fitzpatrick, whose recovered memory led to the legendary Father James Porter case. How Porter, a serial abuser,was caught by Fitzpatrick has never – to my knowledge – been reported by the mainstream British press. And there are 53 more American recovered memory cases where the abusers were banged up, but not covered by the British media. 53 cases. An authoritative academic study has confirmed their authenticity. But you’re not allowed to read about them in the British press, including the woke Guardian. Although they will write about similar American clerical abuse cases not involving recovered memories. Instead our media, including The Guardian, still promote the dubious False Memory theory from the British False Memory society, an organisation that has worrying links with its questionable American counterpart.

I know Rupert Murdoch, Conrad Black (ex Daily Telegraph) and Jimmy Savile were/are all Super Knights. Savile was a Knight Commander. These Super Knights are the next level above the KOSC. They are Knights of the powerful and influential Order of St Gregory the Great. At least one KOSC Supreme Knight has become a Knight of St Gregory.

I also have one particularly significant piece of evidence that would strongly suggest there is a media black-out, but I think that’s worth going into another time.

7. Lee asked me how I thought it might all work. ‘The Church’s hidden, Inner Theology.’

The examples above give you some indication, Lee, and may lay the groundwork for others to look at this.

I’m also reminded of an account I read about an abuser priest in Ireland who was sodomising a child. A woman came out of her home and surprised him in the act. He called to her, ‘Get back in the house, woman – this is Church business.’

I see genuine Catholics, many of whom I know and admire hugely, as part of an outer protective ring of truly good people. This echoes Lee’s words that there are ‘genuinely good people’ in the Church. In the UK, Ireland and elsewhere. Of course. I have huge respect for them and I’m currently reading an excellent book about family trees by a practising Irish Catholic priest. So I’m not phobic about the Church per se.

But these good people are inadvertently and unconsciously protecting an inner core of vile individuals whose moral compass is so shot to Hell they actually believe in the ‘virtue’ of their crimes. That was my strong feeling as a boy. 

There’s enough awful cults out there whose similar crimes have been proven, to see how this could have come about.

And if you’re looking for proof, well surely the best place to start is at the top: with the three latest Popes.

I watched a reputable French TV documentary (It’s on Amazon, I have the link.) that looked at recent Catholic abuse. It highlighted – with details and witnesses – how Pope Francis had personally covered up serious abuse in Argentina.  The journalists then confronted him in St Peter’s Square. His shifty denial and the ‘caught out’ expression on his face could probably be angrily explained away by Bill Donahue. But the rest of us would know exactly what the Pope’s response means.

There’s no point in going into Pope Benedict, because surely everyone knows by now about his numerous cover-ups.

And finally there’s Pope John Paul. He has Opus Dei and the Maciel case to answer for. And more. None of which stopped him from becoming a Saint. Maciel was the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. He was a serial sexual abuser whose crimes were covered up during JP’s era.

 The Church does seem fond of Legionaries and Knights, doesn’t it?  Historically, Legionaries and Knights were evil mercenaries. The Crusades were monstrous crimes. The Code of Chivalry is an offensive lie.

The Catholic faithful need to live in an Orwellian cloud cuckoo land and believe in the current, sugary, fantasy version of the Catholic Church. Or turn a blind eye to the alternative. The grim reality is just too awful to think about, so most people – very understandably – don’t.

Alas, I don’t have that luxury. My muse insists I make my research and my recollections public. Or maybe it’s the angry 13-year-old boy inside me that’s still demanding justice.  Or perhaps it’s both of them.

Catharsis is not enough, my muse says. People need to know, she says. And I’m tired of arguing with her that no one gives a damn. ‘You should have published your recollections at least ten years ago,’ she tells me irritably. My excuse, ‘Sod the Knights –it was all a long time ago and they’re all dead now. Let’s just let it go,’ cuts no ice with her. Which is why I’m typing this now, rather than being curled up with my beautiful wife and a glass of wine, and watching telly. But my muse tells me the work must come first. If you’re a writer, you’ll understand. Sigh!

Of course the Vatican always insists: the Popes never knew about their army of sexual abusers. Denial. Denial. Denial. Despite an endless and ongoing avalanche of serious abuse cases. Historical and Current.

I know what my muse would say about that. And so do you.

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH

The Daily Mail article about my old school, St Joseph’s, and how it inspired my version of Judge Dredd and Torquemada.

The recent Daily Mail article, also featured in The Sun and The Express, described Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s time at my old school, St Joseph’s College, Ipswich. If they were trying to trash him for going to a ‘posh public school’, they failed dismally in my opinion. Nevertheless, they twisted the facts sufficiently so that Daily Mail readers would have all the fake news they needed to believe the worst of McDonnell.

That said, there were some real gems in the feature that will bring back memories for many old boys of our time at St J’s. And it also reminded me of how I built a successful writing career based on my experiences at the school.

I particularly enjoyed the Mail’s rather unlikely opening description of Chantry Secondary Modern ‘yobs’ doing battle with St Js rugby elite. Supposedly wielding cricket bats and golf clubs, the college boys sent the working class kids packing back to their council estate where they belonged. It felt more like a typical, fetid Mail fantasy, but perhaps it was true. But I lived on Chantry council estate at that time and cycled past the Secondary Mod every day, wearing my brightly striped St J’s blazer, with no problem and not one taunt or confrontation from anyone. In fact, three of us ‘Holy Joes’ – as the Mail enjoyed labelling us – regularly hung around the Secondary Mod gates chatting up the girls. The Secondary Mod boys were completely indifferent to us muscling in on ‘their territory’. But the Mail account suggested tensions between the two adjacent schools mounted until there was a massive shindig straight out of the Jennings and Darbishire novels by Anthony Buckeridge.

It was also good to read that John McDonnell described the school as ‘sado-masochistic Christianity’, a regime that enjoyed ‘kicking the shit out of you’. That is 100% accurate, as I relate in my autobiography ‘Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!’. It was this kind of warped behavior by De La Salle monks that inspired my version of the 2000AD comic book character Judge Dredd and also Torquemada in my Nemesis the Warlock. I am, of course, the developer of Judge Dredd, not its creator as the Mail states. But I don’t think anyone really expects the Mail to get its facts completely right.

But I do wonder if McDonnell’s criticism of the school is the real reason the current regime no longer lists him among past alumni. They would doubtless prefer no one knows about the school’s dark past, which they do their best to disassociate themselves from.

So it transpires that John McDonnell was at St Js for four years, just a couple of years after I was there. I, too, was down for the seminary; I, too, had my school fees paid for by a church grant; and I, too, left at age fifteen when I ‘discovered girls’.s I used the exact same phrase at the time.

But the Mail article chooses to miss out on aspects that would explain why St J’s, whilst never a seminary, could often seem like one and how that misunderstanding may well have arisen. Because the college was motivated to send boys in the direction of the seminary. Highly motivated. I was very aware back then that, following the Second Vatican Council, there was a disastrous slump in vocations. Maybe I overheard adults talking about it, but I knew there was panic in the air. In a decade or two they were going to run out of priests! And this has, of course, come to pass. Consequently, every day we were regularly and fanatically harangued by Brother James, our form teacher, with fierce recruiting speeches to ‘answer God’s call’ which, he warned us, we ignored at our peril. God would not be happy, he told us sternly.

The psychotic Brother James, as readers of ‘Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!’ will know, was one of the sources of inspiration for my version of Dredd and also Torquemada, a xenophobic, Darth Vader-like character who regards all aliens as deviants who must be ‘cleansed’ by his deranged Terminator Knights. The other sources were Brother Solomon, the notorious wannabe pop star known as the ‘Swinging Monk’ and a Catholic layman who I’ll call ‘Torquemada’ for now, as I’m still in the process of researching him and – unlike the Mail – I like to get my facts right. More on this gentleman in a moment.

Eventually I succumbed to Brother James’s passionate rants, signed up for the priesthood, and was forthwith taught Latin one-to-one by Brother Kevin. Once you sign up, a church grant is arranged as the Mail article rightly states. How that was done is a bit of a mystery, though, but I’m assuming that the Knights of St Columba – a group of successful Catholic businessmen – were most likely involved in some way. After all, according to the Catholic Herald newspaper, it was the Knights who arranged the original purchase of the St J’s school building from R and W Paul, a local Ipswich seed merchants. It was the start of a long relationship between the De La Salle brothers and the Knights.

So with that grant, the Church had invested in me and they expected a return on their investment, just like any business. And I guess that’s reasonable. So when I was observed snogging a girl at St Mary’s Catholic youth club, the Church worthies and the School went on red alert. A harmless kiss was really a big deal to them. To put this in context, when a dance was arranged at St J’s with a local school band (Murray and the Mints!) the college finally decided against the local convent girls attending in case we ran off with them into the wooded school grounds, which we doubtless would have done. So, instead, boys danced with each other, which was much wiser. The opposite sex was definitely taboo. Consequently, Brother Kevin was called to the youth club for an emergency meeting to discuss my disgraceful behaviour.

My case was then referred to a Church worthy, who I’m naming Torquemada because he was definitely a prime source of inspiration for the Grand Master of the Terminator Knights. His real first name also begins with ‘T’ so it seems appropriate. Torquemada spoke sternly to me about conduct unbecoming. He urged me to suppress my hormones, mend my ways, lead a celibate life from now on and stay away from girls. After all, the trouble began with that hussy Eve. He exhorted me… ‘Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!’ Or words to that effect. He and I were unaware that one day this famous slogan would be scrawled on the Berlin Wall (No photos were taken at the time, alas. Sorry!) And become the title of the Manic Street Preachers documentary film.

beoure

Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! is available as an e-book, paperback and audiobook. Find out more over at my Millsverse website.

 

The sensible thing for me to do would have been to shut up and obey. And to be a little more discreet in my dalliances with the opposite sex. But there were other factors at work and things were already getting out of hand.

To keep this brief, let’s just say I blew the whistle on the behaviour of some Church worthies who were definitely guilty of conduct unbecoming. I had good reason to do so, but I naively thought that telling the truth was the right thing to do. It was not. No one in authority was interested. ‘Best stay away from them in future, son,’ was the typical advice I was given. Whistleblowers, then and now, are not popular because most people are socially conditioned to keep their mouths shut and put up with shit. Somehow I seem to have escaped that process of omertà, both then and now. Speaking out is, unfortunately, hard-wired into my DNA. But ‘betraying’ these gentlemen and their sworn secrets did not go down well with Torquemada.

There then began an interesting battle of wits between me and the Grand Master, where we both progressively upped the ante. It was a process of action and reaction with – just as in fiction – each action and reaction becoming more serious than the last and potentially spiraling out of control as we attempted to defeat the other. Once again I was naïve to imagine I could possibly beat Torquemada. How dumb was that! But when you’re a kid you’ve only got three choices: fight, flight or surrender. I chose to fight. Always.

There were attempts to keep me on a tight leash, which only had the effect of sending me further ‘off the rails’. I had already witnessed some of these Catholic gentlemen’s dubious, neo-masonic and esoteric practices. If you find that unbelievable, let me assure you their rituals are a matter of written record. Although the particularly dubious ones have gone unrecorded. It was the latter that were the subject of my whistleblowing. If you’re curious, drop me a line and I’ll send you the link to a full description of their official rituals. These occult ceremonies – which continued until the late 1960s – still make for disturbing reading.

So, furious that my complaints had not been listened to, and as a mark of my defiance, in classic ‘juvenile delinquent’ manner, I became involved with what the Church might describe as ‘The Opposition’. It was typical teenage rebellion. That would show them all! ‘The Opposition’ was a group of adults with their own equally dubious esoteric and masonic practices who recruited me from the local library. Talk about out of the frying pan… But I needed to rebel in some way and it seemed preferable to glue sniffing. But Torquemada saw right through my less than convincing excuse that these people were actually okay because ‘they were into yoga’. So was Aleister Crowley.

Now I was thought to be ‘in grave moral danger’, it was Torque’s turn to up the ante. Accordingly it was decided to speed up the vocational process. It was the norm to go to the seminary at age 18, as the Mail makes clear. This would be after a truly excellent education, at which point I might well say, ‘I don’t have a vocation after all, but thank you very much and goodbye.’ Instead, there was a change of plan. To my horror, they were sending me to a junior seminary at age fifteen! Right away. No messing. To get me far away from those ‘bad influences’!

Whether I really had a vocation was academic – when you are brainwashed every day, who is to say? I guess I thought I could decide when I was 18, but now they’d called my bluff. I passed the medical exam for the seminary and my entry was planned with immediate effect. I agonised long and hard over whether I should go. It wasn’t concern over leaving home or even my friends that finally decided me against it. That didn’t worry me at all. I had a strong sense of adventure and I wanted to discover the world – hence why I had gotten involved with ‘The Opposition’. No, it was because I knew what was waiting for me at the other end. More moral danger, this time if not officially approved by the Catholic Church, certainly carried out by its devotees.

After all, I was already aware of enough perverted practices amongst priests and the Church worthies. Too big a subject to detail here. The Mail might relate just how delightful the St J’s yachting club on the River Orwell was, but I can tell you it’s no joke being trapped on the school chaplain’s personal yacht when he is after his droit du seigneur, there’s nowhere to run and you’re a lousy swimmer.

These were not minor or isolated incidents: they were widespread and endemic. It was the norm and a way of life, something that is still conveniently steered around when the Church’s appalling record is brought to public attention. Probably because it’s on the list of taboo subjects that our tightly controlled media has been told never, ever to write about. For instance, why there is never any media reference to Jimmy Savile and the Catholic Church? Some subjects are off limits and probably always will be and these seem to include the conduct of certain important Catholic lay people. If you imagine it’s just priests who were paedophiles and the congregation never knew or never joined in, there’s probably a bridge I could interest you in. Of course what was good enough for a priest was undoubtedly good enough for certain prominent members of his flock.

So I bailed. I wasn’t going. They tried damn hard to persuade me otherwise with endless – and I mean bloody endless – lectures from Torquemada and other Catholic worthies. Every time there was a knock on our front door there was another one of them standing there, like a Jehovah’s Witness, wanting ‘a quiet word’! I guess they were used to winning, but so was I. Neither of us would back down. My behaviour was ‘very naughty’, according to a relative. Damn right it was. Their guilt-tripping lectures ranged from ‘you’ll break your poor mother’s heart’, to ‘she’s sacrificed everything for you, you can’t let her down now,’ to ‘she doesn’t know how to cope with your wild ways anymore,’ to ‘the seminary will be the making of you,’ to ‘you’re throwing away a great future, your life will be ruined’. You see, as it says in the Mail article, it was the dream of every Irish Catholic Mother for her son to be a priest. But how many kids would willingly enter the PIE equivalent of Fagan’s Den? This was how I saw the seminary. And with good reason. Google them and you will see just what I mean.

So I stuck to my guns. In retaliation, I had to face the Wrath of Torquemada! Torquemada became Torquemadder. I was kicked out of St J’s with immediate effect at just fifteen, thereby narrowly escaping the humiliation of being sent to that Secondary Modern over the road for my final school year. But the only job I could find was as an errand boy riding a trade bike at the previously mentioned R and W Paul’s. I believe this was arranged by Torquemada himself although I still need to double check my facts there. (The full fictionalised story is recounted in my Read Em and Weep novel series). It had been a busy year.

torquemada be pure my terminators are watching you.jpg

Torquemada knows when you’ve been naughty.
Nemesis The Warlock ™ REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, COPYRIGHT ©  REBELLION PUBLISHING LTD, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

But, surprisingly, that wasn’t the end of it. Torquemada just wouldn’t give up. Really! I don’t know what went wrong at Vatican 2, but they must have been absolutely desperate for recruits to still want me. I’d have thought it was bleeding obvious I was beyond saving and I’d have given up on me long ago. ‘He’s a bust. Move on.’ My bad attitude alone surely wouldn’t suit a clerical life of obedience to authority. Maybe he thought he could finally break me in the end. So, after several months had passed, he actually offered me a ‘second chance’ to join the junior seminary and all would be forgiven. I recall meeting him at Grimwades restaurant (that posh outfitters mentioned in the Mail article. Although it was never the Savile Row set-up the newspaper made it out to be). He thought suffering the indignity of being a messenger boy would ‘bring me to my senses’. Maybe that was all part of his cunning plan. Perhaps now I would finally heed his dreadful warning: ‘Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!’

Maybe he genuinely wanted to ‘save my soul’, but I just wanted to save my ass. Besides, I’d now discovered a new form of anti-authority delinquency to really piss him off that was much more appealing than my foray into the occult Opposition. Now it was Mods and Rockers. Mods were really cool, I excitedly told a sour-faced Torquemada as he scowled at my ex-army parka, desert boots and red socks. At last I’d found a group I could belong to. The Quadrophenia delights of Mod riots on the beach at Great Yarmouth were easily more attractive than fending off weirdo priests at the seminary, so my response to Torquemada was ‘Fuck you.’ Although not literally, of course.

I left home at 16, and thankfully, severed all connections with the Church.

So I don’t know how it was for John McDonnell, but, as you can see, from my experience, the Church do not give up easily. They want their pound of young flesh. To imagine that you can have an expensive, first rate education for four years and at the end of it all you simply say ‘I’ve changed my mind, I don’t have a vocation’ and walk away without any consequences is a little optimistic. Kids are, of course. I was. But adults are realistic. And these were very intelligent, very successful, very determined adults. I would not have been the first or the last recruit who tried to change his mind. And they would have their strategies in place to deal with them.

But, in the end, I guess I did beat them. I finally beat Torquemada. Although you don’t need to remind me it was a pyrrhic victory.

I don’t know whether McDonnell’s time at St Js helped make him a Marxist, but my experiences there certainly affected my beliefs – big time. Maybe the school affected fellow old boy Chris Mullin, too, and that’s really why he wrote A Very British Coup, one of my favourite novels and films because it’s about the underdog winning. I’m probably more radical than either of them and that’s undoubtedly due to my experiences with ‘Judge Dredd’, ‘Torquemada’ and the rest of that unholy crew associated with St J’s and now immortalised in the pages of 2000AD. So every cloud…

But let’s not forget about that ‘church grant’. If the Church thought McDonnell was going to be a priest then they would pay his boarding fees. Because he passed the eleven-plus, his local education authority would cover the rest. If the Mail article is a bit wooly there it’s because the process was a mysterious one but it would always be fuelled by an agenda.

However the fees were nothing like the Mail is mischievously trying to suggest. As a day boy, my fees were 21 guineas a term. Allowing for inflation, that’s approaching 2K a year in today’s money. Boarding fees would be more, but still a whole lot less than the ridiculous figures the Mail is implying McDonnell’s church or family would have had to pay.

My mother was a widow, and there was no way she could afford 2K. She was as poor as a church mouse and that comparison is deliberate because young widows with kids are always vulnerable to powerful male abusers and predators and doubly so in the Catholic Church. Especially in that era. It’s very likely that my hard-wired aggression developed at a very young from trying to protect her from dubious characters. To be ‘the man of the house’. Of course I didn’t always succeed, but there are ways… kids are still animals and animals don’t take any shit, so why should they?

So it’s no good saying – as one St J’s old boy said recently on my blog – words to the effect, ‘Well I was at St J’s and nothing bad happened to me or to anyone I know. So you and the other survivors must be making this up.’ Even if your dad wasn’t an all-in wrestler, if you had a dad, the chances are he would keep the predators at bay. These scum are cowards, after all, and they like to avoid a baseball bat in the face which is, of course, what they so richly deserve.

Anyhow, my mother sent my older brother and I to St J’s for a combined total of nine years. Even though neither of us passed the eleven plus. So our education was paid for solely by the Church. This was confirmed recently to me by my mother’s younger sister. They’re both deceased now, but the mystery remains. Why on Earth would the Church do that? After all, having two sons becoming priests seems a little excessive, even for an Irish Catholic family, although that was undoubtedly my mother’s dream.

It’s certainly rather odd, but these facts are beyond any doubt. So why? Is the Church really that generous with its cash? Not in my personal experience. On the contrary. When we were desperate and in need of charity, we turned to the local Rotary club for help and I’ll never forget their kindness and generosity. But the Church? Forget it. That’s a self-promoting myth they still spread to preen their egos. So why? The full answer lies outside this post and is connected with Torquemada. I’ll come back to him another time as I continue my researches into him.

But for now… Let’s just say, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’

TO TELL THE TRUTH

BROTHER SOLOMON aka MIKE MERCADO. And MIKE KEARNEY

Below is 1967 film footage of Brother Solomon appearing on an American TV show ‘To Tell The Truth’ in the days when he was The Swinging Monk.

There have been numerous (double figures) accusations of horrible and serious abuse committed by this man. They have all been been noticeably ignored by the De La Salle order of Brothers and their proud successors ‘in the La Salian Tradition’.

As a day boy, I escaped Solomon’s abuse, but I personally know of others – in the DLS schools in Ipswich and Beulah Hill – who were not so fortunate. Their accounts of his abuse make for unpleasant reading

TRIGGER ALERT
If you were one of his victims, I suggest you pour yourself a stiff drink before you watch this video. Or even pass on it. Believe me, it is like entering a time machine. Even though he’s wearing a toupee, he’s instantly recognisable.

To Tell The Truth’. Hah! That’s the one thing the DLS brothers have never done. His fellow abuser Brother James wrote a truly glowing and lying tribute to Solomon in the school magazine – which I remember thinking (even at the time, as an eleven year old) was a complete and utter lie. This was after Solomon left mysteriously and literally overnight after complaints had been levelled against him. At the time, we boys firmly believed he went to some kind of DLS reformatory for sexual predators on Jersey, before subsequently going to Beulah Hill where he continued abusing boys. Then, some years later, he returned to St Joseph’s Ipswich as lay teacher and Housemaster Mike Mercado. St Joseph’s Ipswich would have known about his sordid past and predictably, he went on to abuse a new generation of boys before being thrown out again in 1985. Possibly heading off to Joe Homan’s Boys Town in India either before or after his return to Ipswich.

This has prompted me to re-read Mercado’s farewell letter to parents in 1985. It may be of possible interest to survivors of his crimes. He says he was ‘fully aware of what was going on with the Order’ (whatever that means) and talks darkly about intending to write an expose (which he never did, unfortunately). He says he was dismissed for ‘misconduct’ at a governor’s meeting, a charge he strongly denies..

And he laments and says it’s ‘significant’ that Kearney (‘senior lay-master whom I have known since 1958’) was not present at the meeting to defend him.Or subsequently.

That’s interesting to me personally, because it ties in with my strong recollections of Kearney as yet another abuser and also someone who never kept his promises and could not be relied upon. His ‘betrayal’ has left an annoyingly strong impression on me, so I’m not at all surprised that he did not support Mercado. That was not his style.

Today, Kearney has a school prize named after him – an example of the continuity between the current school and its dark past in the DLS days. I’m still filling in my own blanks about Kearney, who I know was very different to his public facade as a tough but fair chemistry teacher. There was a whole lot more to this guy. It’s time consuming, but it’s the only way I’m likely to get closure on him. Any recollections any old boys have, good, bad, or otherwise, about Kearney, do share. It could be helpful. Thank you.

As for Mercado, according to old boy Chris Mullin, ‘he ended his days playing the piano on a pier in a south coast resort, I believe.’

Was Ipswich another Ballarat?

The excellent comment shown at the end of this post from Radders (commenting on my post Charity begins at home?) that mentions John McDonnell and Joe Homan has stirred my memories of St Joseph’s college once again. St J’s was my secondary school run by the De La Salle Brothers (DLSB).

These memories were also stirred after Cardinal Pell of Ballarat, Australia, was recently found guilty of sexual assault. Ballarat is a city where the Christian Brothers also feature heavily in various allegations of abuse – they currently total an astonishing and appalling 139 allegations.

On the positive side, the post also reminded me about John McDonnell. I’m really impressed that McDonnell, the Labour Shadow Chancellor, went to my old school. Reading his Wikipedia entry on the subject I also noticed his reason for attending – and possibly leaving St J’s – was remarkably similar to my own.

Still on politics, I was also impressed that fellow old boy Chris Mullin wrote A Very British Coup, one of my all time favourite novels and TV series. I rated McDonnell and Mullin both highly long before I knew they even went to St J’s, although they were there roughly at the same time as me. However they were boarders and I was a day boy, so our paths were unlikely to have crossed.

However, the fact that Mullin is also a supporter of the notorious Homan is disappointing, to put it gently. Homan was found innocent of abuse charges against him at his Boys Town in India. But I’ve read an account about Homan by an old boy I was contemporary with and knew well. It describes a vicious and horrible assault by Homan when he was a DLSB at St J’s Oak Hill and I have every reason to believe it is true.

So it sits uncomfortably with Mullin’s protagonist Harry Perkins in A Very British Coup, who becomes that so rare individual — a True Labour prime minister. A politician we can trust and admire. In fact, I could imagine John McDonnell as just such a Harry Perkins prime minister, more so even than Jeremy Corbyn. I think he would be brilliant. If it ever happens, I pray he doesn’t share the same fate as Perkins. Certainly The Sun and The Daily Mail would set out to destroy him just as their fictional counterparts destroyed Perkins.

So I got thinking as to whether these two distinguished politicians were affected by St J’s as I was. After all, they were there in the same era as me – an era when physical and sexual abuse was rife at the school and everyone knew it was going on. Even us day boys. You couldn’t avoid it. It was everywhere. In fact I would say, based on my own observations, experiences, and the disturbing and heartfelt testimonies of various old boys on this site that Ipswich – and St J’s in particular – truly was another Ballarat. Except in Ipswich they sadly got away with it. Thus all three parish priests in Ipswich at this time were abusers. No odd rotten apple there: it was endemic, just like it seems to have been in Ballarat.

St J’s certainly affected me greatly and inspired my creation of the anti-establishment British comic 2000AD featuring Judge Dredd. It’s still going strong today after 42 years. My take on the sinister Judge Dredd – also the subject of two movies – drew directly on Brother James and Brother Solomon as I relate in my autobiography Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! 2000AD & Judge Dredd: The Secret History.

To briefly describe Solomon (Mike Mercado), AKA The Swinging Monk: he was thrown out of DLSBs schools three times for sexually abusing boys. Each time they let him back in! I’m told he then headed out to Boys Town, to ‘work in the missions’ with Joe Homan.

I guess most old boys are more circumspect and discreet about how meeting such monsters affected them in later life. Perhaps wisely, they are able to put it all behind them. If so, I envy them. Like many other old boys I don’t have that luxury.

Mullin reassuringly pointed out to me that St J’s today is a very different school and I’m sure it is. So in theory it should be possible to put it behind me. However it still proudly proclaims itself to be ‘In the La Salian tradition’, which means something negative and unpleasant to me – and others.

The school also has a Mike Kearney Memorial Chemistry Prize. Kearney was a St J’s teacher in my day, so there are still clear links with the school’s past. They can’t be separated to distance the current regime when it suits them. More on Kearney later.

So someone – whether it’s the diocese, the school, or the De La Salle organisation, which is still going strong – should acknowledge the crimes of past DLSBs, which are a matter of record and provable beyond reasonable doubt. Certainly in the case of Brother James and Brother Solomon (Mike Mercado).

The diocese does have its investigatory body. If they become aware of a crime they must report it to the police which, as I’ve told them, is excellent news. However, both the police and the diocese are only concerned with cases where the perpetrator is still alive so he can be investigated. Neither the school nor the DLSBs have ever shown any interest in or commented on the disturbing testimonies related on this blog and on another similar site by a St J’s survivor.

This suggests to me that the commendable, strongly anti-abuse stance of the Catholic Church in recent years is empty spin. They only come out with it when they have to. Usually when they’re under media scrutiny or in the dock like Pell. Then they’ll wring their hands and tell us how much they deplore cases of historic abuse. Otherwise they don’t give a damn.

Apologist Catholic websites and Catholic press also seek to minimise such abuse charges and limit the damage at every opportunity. Although they don’t go quite as far as my devout Irish mother did. A year or two before I went to St J’s, there was a famous case at the college where a lay teacher ran off with a boy and they were ‘lost’ for some days. It made the newspapers and couldn’t be swept under the carpet as usual. My mother’s reaction was, ‘What a silly man! He should never have allowed himself to be led astray by that wicked boy. The poor man was weak.’ I don’t think the case ever went to court. The teacher was seen as behaving in this criminal way due to a mental breakdown and medical treatment was prescribed. I don’t think the kid stayed on at St J’s. Doubtless the risk of him leading other weak teachers astray was too great. My mother’s attitude was quite commonplace at the time, I assure you, and I suspect still is in many Catholic quarters, although they daren’t say it out loud anymore.

Instead, another excuse the Church uses today for its abusers is that they are the result of the sexual revolution in the Swinging Sixties. My Irish aunt would have agreed wholeheartedly with them. She firmly believed ‘moral decay’ began with The Beatles. But the events I’m referring to here are all pre-Beatles. Thus the Church still seems unable to take responsibility for its crimes. When it’s cornered, blame it on the Sixties. Blame it on anything except themselves.

But I want to come back to Kearney now.

Because Kearney was someone I would definitely add to my personal Roll of Dishonour of St J’s. He was well known as a sadist who delighted in recounting how he could lift a boy clean off the ground by his sideburns. I never had a problem with the discipline he administered to me personally, such as a caning for being caught smoking. It was a fair cop, which I always felt I deserved. Not least because I was stupid enough to get caught. No, it was the sadistic glee on his face as he used a blackboard duster on other kids’ knuckles that stays with me to this day. I doubt I’ll ever get his look of cruel delight out of my head.

There was more besides. Much more.

So recently, I’ve been woken in the night with endless symbolic dreams about Kearney. A sure sign of repressed memory, which I’m used to and know how to deal with, so it’s not a big deal anymore. My technique as a kid for dealing with or witnessing Catholic criminal acts was to block them out. So I could enjoy a perfect Ladybird book childhood. It worked incredibly well at the time and was a far better survival method than alternatives like using alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, the recollections spew out in later life and then have to be processed in order to get closure. So it annoys the hell out of me that I still have to waste considerable amounts of my time thinking about Kearney and figuring out what my fragmentary memories and symbolic dreams mean. Clearly they must be important.

Although it’s hazy, they seem to be connected with the local chapter of those good old Knights of St Columba. Maybe Kearney was a Knight or was closely connected to them. At the time, I related my concerns about them to my mother. Her response to my graphic claims was ‘but they do so much good work’. Whatever I said about them, she repeated this endlessly as a defensive mantra which I just couldn’t get past. So in the end I gave up and blocked it from my mind. Until now. Her attitude was understandable, though. The Church and the Knights were an important part of her world. Financial support for my schooling was almost certainly a crucial factor. Where matters involving the Church are concerned, I’ve always found ‘follow the money’ is most relevant. So faced with an angry eleven-year-old ‘making trouble’, her options must have been limited.

The Knights had a strong and – it would seem – positive behind-the-scenes role at St J’s. It was thanks to their financial efforts, for instance, that St J’s was established in the first place. I believe they bought the freehold on the Birkfield building for the DLSBs. Many Ipswich leading Catholic businessmen, priests and teachers were Knights. If you’re curious about them, their secret rituals were similar to the American Knights of Columbus. The latter’s neo-Masonic rituals can be found online. And I’ve also read a copy of the version once used by the UK Knights. It makes for disturbing reading. Not least because of what else may not have been committed to paper. But the UK Knights stopped all that ‘secret weird stuff’ – to quote other old boys’ description of them – sometime in the late 1960s apparently. After my time

Normally, it takes me some time to make sense of my repressed memories. Writing about them in a post like this helps. It’s a work in progress so I can’t be more precise just now, I’m afraid. Particularly as I like to cross-reference with others recollections where I can. Eventually the memories will emerge. Then I can thankfully consign Kearney to the dustbin of memory, where he belongs.

That’s the challenge we all face who’ve encountered Catholic crimes, whether it’s in Ballarat or Ipswich. So many of us can’t let it go and move on – because of repressed memories in my case, or post-traumatic stress disorder, or not acknowledging the significance of the crimes. Thus a well-known national journalist who went to St J’s, a few years before me, was drinking himself to death. He was a client of the charity Mind, and I was introduced to him by his social worker. He told me about the vicious, blood-drawing canings he received as a little boy at St J’s Oakhill prep school where he was a boarder. But he was furious with me when I suggested there was a possible connection with his current plight. ‘I’m not drinking with you,’ he snarled as he staggered back to the bar.

It’s not all in the distant past either. As late as the early 1990s, a counsellor friend told me he had several clients who were at St J’s. In every case he advised the parents that the remedy for their child’s problem was simple: take him away from the school. I doubt they listened. St J’s has such an excellent academic reputation it has all too often clouded other rather more important matters.

Banging Cardinal Pell up helps us all, I think – even if he eventually gets out on appeal. It means that in ‘one against one’ testimony, the victim is believed, for a change. In Oz anyway. There were plenty of similar contenders to Pell in Ipswich, as past comments on this site clearly show. And they’re not all dead like Kearney, James and Solomon/Mercado. Some from long after my time carried on in the same way. As a commenter (CS) on my Roll of Dishonour post vividly relates, a lay teacher used a cat o’ nine tails. Not easy for Catholic apologists to dismiss that one as ‘Oh, they were different times back then. You can’t judge these things by the standards of today.’

Seeing some past St J’s teachers acknowledged as criminals would be so valuable to survivors. And it should be someone’s responsibility to do this, right?

Better still, rather than spout empty spin designed to sound good for the benefit of the media, why not help put some of the more recent perpetrators away? I know of at least two old boys who have in recent years pursued predator Brothers and teachers from St J’s. I’m sure they could have used some assistance in tracking them down. I hope the predators were finally caught and banged up.

That’s the kind of memorial they really deserve.


Comment from Radders on Charity beings at home?

As a border who became a day dog I’m not sure where I fit in Opus’ taxonomy. My dad was in receipt of an army disability pension and my mother worked full time as a ward sister – and I was very conscious of the cost to them of me being at St Joes, not least of which was the A4 page of necessary kit and uniforms to be purchased from Grimwades.

It was in about 1970 I think that we had to sit through a talk and a slideshow on Boystown – I honestly can’t recall whether Homan gave the talk, but the older lads certainly referred to him as ‘Jo Homo’ with the cruel wit of youth – which may have indicated some knowledge of his activity, or may simply have been juvenile bile.

Some appeal form was handed out which we were supposed to pass to our parents with a personal plea to donate, having seen the slide show. I quietly binned it.

I don’t remember John McDonnell but I boarded with his brother Keith, forever in some sort of trouble for the usual minor infractions. We used to parade in forms on the car park between the E block and the Chaplain’s cottage whilst ‘Moggs’ – Mr McLaughlin – hopped onto a little raised dias to call the names of defaulters with his distinctive nasal twang. I can still hear him today – “McDonnell!” with the stress on the third syllable. Perhaps it is the correct pronounciation.

‘EXPRESSED REGRET’

From The Guardian, 9 August 2018

“Report damns culture of acceptance of sexual abuse at two Catholic schools

Inquiry says Ampleforth and Downside put own reputations before protection of children

The true scale of sexual abuse at two of the UK’s leading Catholic independent schools over a period of 40 years is likely to have been far greater than has been proved in the courts, a report by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has concluded.”

Read full article here:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/09/report-damns-culture-of-acceptance-of-sexual-abuse-at-two-catholic-schools

Named and shamed

See Katie’s comment on my post, Charity begins at home?, below. So much for that glowing obituary in The Guardian by St Joseph’s old boy Chris Mullin. Do we really want to live in bullshit land where creeps like Homan are honoured TODAY (!!) as near-saints? I don’t. Watching this excerpt from an ABC TV interview (at 10.48) about the ex-De La Salle Brother made me feel sick. Very upsetting.

I have it on very good authority that the notorious and proven paedophile Mike Mercado/Brother Solomon used to visit Homan’s Boys Town. A supposedly wonderful place for boys.

It is not just the journalist/writer on the TV interview who makes these allegations about Homan: it cross-references with other accounts I’ve read. And there were so many other DLS brothers who were like him, as survivors have recorded on this site, which makes the DLSB an organisation which should be outlawed, in my book.

‘In the La Sallian Tradition’ is a most inappropriate term to describe St Joseph’s today, because it connects the school with such truly vile people.

So many people want to pretend none of this ever happened, or it’s all in the past so we should forget about it, and that’s how these evil filth get away with it. And continue to do so.

I wonder if The Guardian would be interested in the truth about Homan? I doubt it.

The homes and charity are STILL named after Homan!

Thanks, Katie, for your most valuable post:

KATIE PURVIS

Recent interview on ABC TV in Australia has some horrible stuff about Homan (about 10 minutes in): http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/one-plus-one/2018-06-28/one-plus-one:-michael-robotham/9920588