AMPLEFORTH: THE IMPLICATIONS

There is still a damage limitation exercise on the media’s coverage of Ampleforth. At the time of writing, no newspapers have covered the latest important development revealed by Channel 4 yesterday:

Channel 4 has seen a letter to the government from a solicitor for victims of historic abuse at Ampleforth College, alleging it has not fully separated itself from the Abbey as it had been told to. The school denies the claims.

https://www.channel4.com/news/ampleforth-college-faces-questions-over-pupil-safeguarding

Yet, despite this media partial blackout, it’s the biggest Catholic story of 2020 and 2021:Catholic Eton may be about to close down! The one exception to this media censorship is the Catholic Tablet, which, to its credit, has followed the Ampleforth case closely and shown honesty in its reporting and true diligence. Unlike the Catholic Herald, for example, who barely covered it.

What I take away from the Channel 4 story is that the Benedictine monks must still (still!) represent a threat to the safety of children.

And it reminds me that the De La Salle brothers may also still be a similar threat to children. Today.

In the case of St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, the De La Salle brothers have long gone and I’m sure the current regime would use the classic ‘get out of responsibilities for the past’ card. Namely: ‘The college is now an entirely different legal, financial and governance entity’.

Lawyers have tried challenging the adroit use of this card elsewhere – at Sherborne, for instance – but I doubt they’ll succeed.   

So St Joseph’s can endlessly draw on the school’s proud heritage as a selling feature for today’s prospective parents. But have nothing to say about horrendous crimes which exceed the crimes of the Ampleforth monks. Any glance through past posts on this site will bear this out.

They see no need to acknowledge them and neither do the De La Salle brothers who still run many schools in the UK. I’ve read two testimonies from St Joseph’s old boys about the DLS current head, Brother Lawrence Hughes, which allege he inflicted serious physical abuse on children. One of these testimonies is featured in a past post on this site.

The crimes this order have committed outside St Joseph’s are  endless. There are the approved schools in Scotland.

http://www.irishsalem.com/religious-congregations/de-la-salle-brothers/jimmyboyle-06may01.php

Boyle states, ‘We all knew instantly who’d been inside a De La Salle school because we all carried the same deep emotional and psychological scars. In our darkest moments we’d talk about our horrific experiences there. All of us agreed, no matter how tough any prison regime, none was as brutal as De La Salle.

‘The stories were the same from all the De La Salle schools.’

There are similar accounts about the DLS schools in N. Ireland.

And there’s the infamous Brother James Carragher, head of St Williams, who ran a ‘paedophile sweet shop’ making children available for the rich laity.

And there’s further revelations about the order now coming from Australia. And so on.

But we’re led to believe that the order is totally different today.  That they really care about children and would never harm them.  That’s like saying there were once bad S.S., but now there are good, reformed S.S. No, there is only S.S. and – by definition – they are the embodiment of evil. In my view, it’s impossible to reform organizations with proven track records of organized evil.

The role of the rich Catholic laity is certainly the gorilla in the corner where St Joseph’s, Ipswich, is concerned. They were the Eminence Gris that helped create the college and saved it from scandal. See my past posts and a survivor’s testimony in  ‘The shocking truth about St Joseph’s.’

I hope and assume that the Catholic laity in the current St Joseph’s era, who have a role in governing and running the school, have no continuity or connection with these past Catholic laity who were guilty of the most serious crimes against children.

Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing when or if the latter’s role of Eminence Gris directing the school’s affairs from the shadows ever came to an end.

Today, there is increasing evidence of this sinister role of the Catholic laity in Catholic schools elsewhere. The example of Brother James Carragher above, for instance.

And there’s this account from Germany.

https://nypost.com/2020/12/22/nuns-were-pimps-for-sick-priests-says-sex-abuse-victim/

Five years ago, when I first started writing about my experience of the Ipswich Catholic laity, I was very much a lone voice, which could be easily dismissed. Then others came forward and related similar experiences. Once again, see ‘The shocking truth’.   Five years ago, I doubt this account of what happened in Catholic Germany and the central role of the laity– which is far from unique – could never have found its way into print. So the times are changing.

Returning to Ampleforth: personally, I have my doubts it will close, despite all the predictions. I believe it’s too important to the establishment – hence the media damage limitation exercises and the support of prominent Catholics like Rees-Mogg. But that could be because I’ve seen how the Catholic Diocese, the current St Joseph’s College, the De La Salle Order, and the Ipswich Catholic laity, including the Knights of St Columba, have all ignored the  testimonies from survivors on this site.  And have not been called to account. Yet.

It was also interesting seeing how the children of Ampleforth school have supported the current regime, handing in a letter to Number Ten, asking for the ban to be lifted. I’m sure St Joseph’s, past and present, would command similar loyalty and this may explain the silence of some who know what really went on in the past. But, like Ampleforth, it is misplaced.

These crimes are far too serious to put loyalty to the school and religion above the law of the land.

And inevitably, more  St Joseph’s survivors will come forward and at some point – as it dovetails with the endless new revelations of the crimes of the Catholic Church emerging every day  – there will be a new enquiry and all concerned will be fetched to give an account of themselves, just as happened at Ampleforth.

I watched Father Jamison, Abbot President, give evidence to IICSA and he was very smooth and convincing. But this was marred by what a survivor had told me about Jamison which painted a very different picture of him.

Similarly, I watched Cardinal Nichols – after being given a damning IICSA report – offer a very smooth and convincing apology to survivors. But this, too, was marred by how he reminded me so much of the three clerical abusers I knew as a child: Canon Burrows and Father Wace (St Pancras, Ipswich) and Father Jolly (Chaplain to St Joseph’s).  Nichols reminded me how smooth and convincing these abusers were under very different circumstances. It was also marred by knowing Nichols had covered up the infamous case of Father Quigley which comes under the category of current, not historic abuse.

I’m sure at an enquiry, representatives of the De La Salle order, the Diocese, the laity, and the current St Joseph’s will be equally convincing and wring their hands and plead so convincingly, ‘We never knew’.

I think I’d have more respect for them all if, instead of their pious and heartfelt lamentations, they told the truth, and admitted what they really think and say behind closed doors. Their view of me and fellow survivors, aka ‘troublemakers’, for exposing the truth about them. Namely: ‘Pat – shut the fuck up.’

Or, to put it in their establishment language, ’We all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet.’

No chance, I’m afraid. There’s more to come.

THE CATHOLIC SCANDALS OF 2020

(That you WON’T have read about)

You may well have read that Ampleforth College, ‘the Catholic Eton’, has been banned from taking new pupils and that it intends to appeal. It was banned because of its appalling record on child sexual abuse CSA which was highlighted at the independent enquiry IICSA.

That was almost a month ago with all the media covering it from the same press release yet with no follow up on what is surely the biggest Catholic story of the year.

Soon after, Ampleforth decided NOT to appeal, but rather to try to satisfy the authorities that children were no longer at risk. There is a media blackout on this important development. I suspect this blackout will continue until when or if Ampleforth is back in business.  

Thus the Catholic Herald didn’t report the original ban, never mind what happened next. I tweeted them three times to ask them why? With no response, of course. It’s so obvious why – everyone’s been ordered to keep quiet about the latest events at Ampleforth which involve not just historic CSA, but current CSA.

The only place you are likely to read about any of this is in the Tablet, to its great credit.  Here’s the latest position in a very balanced article by Jonathan West.https://www.thetablet.co.uk/blogs/1/1674/ampleforth-must-get-serious-about-child-protection-or-it-will-deservedly-close-says-this-campaigner

What I take away from this article is there a very real chance that Ampleforth may close its doors forever. 

That the jewel in the Catholic Crown may end its existence and why, you might imagine would already be the subject of opinion pieces, further research and articles in the Guardian, Independent, Times, Mirror, Sun, and Mail, not to mention coverage by the BBC. It’s a huge story. But apart from predictably bilious articles in the Telegraph and Spectator alleging the Church is undergoing religious persecution, there is nothing in the mainstream media.

Why?

In my view, it’s because there is a behind the scenes veto as it brings an important pillar of the establishment into disrepute. So the public must know little or nothing about it. Or if they do, its significance must be seriously downplayed.   

Serious Catholic crimes abroad may be written about, yes, but never such crimes in the UK. So two days ago the Mail covered a case of Catholic organised crime, a clerical, laity, and female (nuns) paedophile ring operating in Germany in the 1970s.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9078857/Nuns-pimped-boys-German-childrens-home-priests-politicians-rape-them.html

It’s the first time, as far as I know, that the British media has acknowledged ORGANISED CSA crime exists in the Catholic Church, albeit in Germany. And with a focus on the laity. So that, at least, is progress,

Regular readers of this blog will see the similarities to organised crime that I’ve written about as a survivor myself. These events took place in the 1960s involving the Catholic Church, St Joseph’s College Ipswich, the De La Salle brothers and  the laity, cantered around a Catholic elite who were Knights of St Columba, Ipswich province.

I’ve cited similar Catholic organised CSA crime in Australia and the USA, including an Oz academic study which proves the existence of organized Catholic paedophile rings beyond reasonable doubt.

Thus far, no academic or media or survivors organisations or the IICSA itself has shown any interest in UK Catholic organised crime because it either steps out of the safe tramlines of the ‘just one rotten apple in the barrel’ theory or because they’re aware of the veto. And they want to keep their jobs.

In case you’re thinking, ‘Well it was just Ipswich in the 1960s that had a few Catholic wrong uns, but they’re all dead now, so what does it matter, get over it,’ let me disquiet your mind.

This year another important Catholic CSA scandal emerged that was barely reported on. Once again it involved the kind of players who featured in Ipswich in the 1960s. Specifically a Catholic school, a De La Salle brother, and a Catholic elite laity in a paedophile ring.  

The DLS brother was the notorious school principal Brother James Carragher now on his third jail term. He’s been sentenced to a total of THIRTY years for CSA and physical brutality. He’s at the centre of the survivor’s allegations, so there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the account.

The Sun mentioned the paedophile ring in passing and I followed it up in the survivor’s book they were reporting on: The Boy In The Cellar by Stephen Smith. In Chapter 24 Stephen describes the Catholic school he attended as a paedophile’s sweetshop. He relates how the friends of Brother James ‘all wore suits, drove Jaguars and spoke with a posh accent’…. ‘I’d often see men – visitors to the school – sitting on the bench choosing (I presume) who they wanted to rape or abuse… St Williams, it seemed, had become a sweetie shop for visiting paedophiles – a shop that Brother James held the key to.’

Although Brother James is now in jail, AFAIK the DLS order has not followed up this serious account of  Catholic crime, a paedophile ring involving the laity. It’s just been treated as yet another rotten apple case. James is serving 30 years, case closed.

So the laity involved have got away with it.  As they always appear to do. It seems it’s the priests or brothers who have to ‘take one for the team.’

The IICSA also seem to settle for the rotten apple theory. Nothing about the laity here. https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/16715/view/ERY000015.pdf.   

The similarities to organised Catholic crime in Ipswich in the 1960s is remarkable. The Catholic elite laity I knew certainly drove expensive cars and were professionals. I remember them as doctors, magistrates, engineers and so on. As a kid, I always thought they were ‘posh’ because they all seemed to wear sock suspenders and have different, ‘expensive’ blue and white striped underwear.

There are four organisations that need to be held to account as detailed in my past posts:

1)The De La Salle Order who still teach children today. And whose current head made a serious physical assault on a child, according to an old boy’s account.  

2)The Catholic Church through the Ipswich parishes of St Pancras and St Marks run in my era by three paedophile priests , two or whom are listed as Knights of St Columba.

3)St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, today, which has no connection with these historic crimes in Ipswich.  It has cut itself free of the DLS order, just as Ampleforth is cutting itself free from its Benedictine monk founders. But  today’s St Joseph’s still draws constantly on its proud past and achievements and proclaims its school is ‘in the La Sallian Tradition’. It has never acknowledged  the endless CSA crimes that were committed at St Joseph’s at least until the end of the 1980s. Crimes the college is fully aware of. That has to be put right.

4)The elite Laity in the shape of the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich province. Today’s Knights, who presumably include similar professionals such as doctors and magistrates, would surely repudiate the crimes of their predecessors. Once again those crimes must be acknowledged.

And the question – when did these likely transgenerational crimes stop? –  needs to be addressed by all of them.

The ‘sit tight and say nothing’ or respond with studied passive aggression is the usual approach used by the Catholic Church and it was remarked upon and criticised at the IICSA by lawyers for survivors. It goes almost without saying that this is the most likely response by the four organisations above. It’s served them well so far.

But consider this, gentlemen, If the bell can toll for Ampleforth, it can toll for you. If the greatest Catholic school in the land can be laid low by survivors, then you could be next.

If Ampleforth can go down, then there is hope for all Catholic survivors.

THE LAY ROLE IN COVERING UP ABUSE

For several years now I’ve been highlighting the dubious role of the Knights of St Columba in Ipswich (and elsewhere) and the Catholic Laity in general in the 1950s, 1960s and possibly beyond.

Validation for some of my recollections of the Catholic Laity comes from a surprising and authoritative source that is hard to dismiss:  The Catholic Weekly May 7 2020!

More details below with a link.

It’s an Australian newspaper, of course.  

By comparison, Catholics in the UK  will probably deny the truth even if an enquiry found beyond any reasonable doubt that the Laity not only covered up abuse but actually played a key role in it, which is my own recollection.

 But when priests, monks and brothers were provably abusing children on an organised and ‘industrial scale’, why on earth would perverts in the Laity not only cover up these crimes but also want ‘their share’?  Of course they would.  

That was certainly my experience and with Catholic women, too.  1950s Catholic women were never the Ladybird book submissive characters we are led to believe. Many were strong, ballsy, truly admirable women. And some were every bit as perverted as their male counterparts.  The myth that abuse is primarily a male vice and that women are only rarely perpetrators, usually as a result of male coercion, is pretty much debunked these days.

One abusive Catholic woman I had the misfortune to meet as a child was strongly associated with the influential Catholic Women’s League. That’s a matter of record.  I suspect the other women I encountered were CWL, too.  But they didn’t wear sashes like the Knights so they’re harder to identify beyond any reasonable doubt.  The CWL is very roughly the female equivalent of the Knights of  St Columba, but without the Masonic secrecy, and there were connections between members of the two organisations in Ipswich in my day. The CWL also seems to have had a more radical and reforming role which I can genuinely admire, even if that was not the case for all its Ipswich members in the 1950s who seemed to have used it as a cover for other activities.

If you look up the CWL on Wikipedia you will see a single photo of them showing their good works today in … St Pancras Church, Ipswich. This church was the hub of child abuse in my era as I’ve previously related. It’s surely just co-incidence that of all the hundreds of possible churches the Wikipedia entry should pick, they chose St Pancras, Ipswich.

And I’m sure the CWL are very different today and completely above reproach, just like all the other relevant organisations I mention, who endlessly congratulate themselves today on their entitlement and worthiness, with never a word of self-criticism. But none of them ever want to look at their past where a rather different story unfolds.

Anyway, back to this article from Catholic Oz. I’m so impressed the author had the courage to speak out. It doesn’t go as far as I’m going, but it’s a helluva good start. Especially in a Catholic newspaper. Bravo!

Let’s hope other Catholics have the courage to speak out and put their house in order.  It seems to be a unique Australian Catholic phenomena to tell the truth. After all, their academics and national reporters first highlighted that there were transgenerational Catholic Paedophile Rings in Oz. Including the Laity. Other Catholic Paedophile Rings have also been revealed in the States.  It would seem unlikely that the UK is different and my testimony and another survivor on this site show clear evidence of a ring.

My concern – and everyone’s concern – about such transgenerational rings is that they didn’t fade away with stricter protocols from the 1990s, but just went deeper underground.

I think that’s a valid concern which is ignored by the various organisations.

I fear in Catholic Britain the relevant Catholic organisations, schools and the Church will ignore, deny and lie until the very end. Then, when they are finally fetched, wring their hands with hypocritical horror and say ‘we never knew’.

This is specifically relevant to St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, The De La Salle Brothers, the Knights of St Columba, Ipswich and the East Anglian Catholic diocese. See my past posts.

Here are some highlights from the article by Doctor Philippa Martyr:

A difficult conversation – but necessary

If we are going to do real soul-searching about clergy sexual abuse, it’s time we turned the spotlight on to the laity and their role in enabling abusers.

This is a difficult conversation to begin. We are used to seeing ourselves as the good guys, and the solution, not the problem: that if we had lay-led parishes or diocesan offices, this would rid us of clergy abuse for good.

Unfortunately, history is not on our side. Cases of clergy sexual abuse in the English-speaking world reveal any number of compromised lay people who have helped with covering up and explaining away, either directly or indirectly.

The ‘lay clericalism’ of the insiders

They are usually wealthy and influential, or employed by the Church, or in useful professions.

There are longstanding networks of Catholic old boys and women everywhere: those who know each other from their private Catholic school, Catholic community social and welfare organisations, and countless other Catholic networks.

They all do good work – but the people in these organisations are human like everyone else. Sometimes networks can build up where people have information on each other that will never see the light of day for various reasons.

….

Time to face the truth

This is the ugly underside of our local vibrant Catholic community. Covering-up goes on all the time, for all sorts of things – and yes, lay people enable it. We just haven’t been brave enough to face this about ourselves yet.

LINK: http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/the-lay-role-in-covering-up-abuse/

I doubt Catholics in the UK will ever face the truth about themselves in this way and I doubt we will ever see a similar brave and honest article in the UK’s Catholic Herald.

But there are other ways of discovering the truth.  The dark past of the Catholic Laity in Ipswich – and I would imagine elsewhere –  will not remain hidden forever.

YET ANOTHER ST JOSEPH’S TEACHER…

An Old Boy recently sent in this story which I remembered well at the time because it was just before I started at St J’s. The teacher involved, Kevin Tracey, had previously been at St J’s, a year earlier, and it was all over the newspapers. Everyone was talking about it. My mother said it was the eleven year old boy’s fault leading the ‘silly man’ on! A common attitude then and even now, I’m afraid.

This is the story in summary. It happened in 1959 – 1960.

Kidnapped English boy Tony Stephens is found on the continent, where his abductor – his school art teacher- had kept him for fifteen months. Tony was 11 when he was taken. His father, a milkman in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, left his job and dedicated his life to finding Tony. After a year and half’s search, he was successful.

Here’s the Old Boy’s recollection of the events:

I was at SJC from 53 to 61. Starting at age 7 1/2 I never saw or heard of any sexual abuse but some of the Bros were a bit fond of the cane. Bros Solomon, Kevin and Michael being the main ones. However they seem to employ some religious bigots the main one being Kevin Tracey, who taught Spanish and geography in 57- 59. He would cut bamboo from behind the 55 block and frequently cane the whole class for not learning well enough. He seemed to pick on Chris Prior the most. He spent large part of any lesson telling us how religious the boys of our age were in Spain. When he left SJC he abducted a boy from his next employment and ran away with him for best part of a year. Look on Google under Kevin Tracey.

Bros Solomon and Kevin were, of course, notorious and proven child abusers.

So I Googled the teacher Kevin Tracey.

I found this on line, by another Old Boy. 

I was at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, where Tracey taught Spanish and Geography in the academic year 1957/58. His contract wasn’t renewed. He was considered a religious fanatic, even at this Catholic school, and tried to start his Crusader group there. He said the organisation was strong in Spain. Tracey was an admirer of General Franco, at that time very much in power in Spain and vigorously persecuting former Republican opponents. I think some of his fellow teachers disapproved of Tracey’s enthusiasm for corporal punishment.  Many years later I heard a rumour that he had become a priest. How much credence one can place on this, I can’t say

It’s remarkable to think this man Tracey was too violent and too fanatical for St Joseph’s in the same era as Brother James!  I know James tried to set up his own religious cult.

I guess Tracey just didn’t fit in with the other religious bigots or pervert teachers for some reason. Either because he was competing for the same young boys or he was too blatant and therefore a risk to the  St Joseph’s Paedophile Ring which undoubtedly existed at this time. See past posts.

The full story is here

https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/kidnapped-english-boy-found-abroad-1960/

The nauseating Pathe News report on the link is worth seeing because it demonstrates how easily Tracey got away with it. Just 18 months for kidnap. We are assured the boy was medically examined and showed no signs of abuse. Well, we don’t need to be graphic to know that means absolutely nothing.

Tracey’s eleven year old victim had been promised he’d be Head Crusader in Spain.

There are many disturbing aspects to the case. The boy had written a letter to Tracey which his father found and realized from the adult content that it wasn’t the ‘pure relationship’ he had been led to believe.  So he put a stop to it. That’s why Tracey carried out his abduction plan which was well organized and involved faked passports and an epic train journey to London.  It felt to me like this individual had done something like this before.

But what’s particularly nauseating is the way modern day commentators justify and minimize this crime.

Here’s an example:

I believe that Tony must have loved, or at least thought the world of Kevin to do what he did for him, to leave his home and his family and go abroad with him as he did, with no idea if he would ever return.

We should never make the mistake of believing that no child can feel so strongly about something as Tony did. All children are different. Kevin was very wrong to do what he did and had no hope of getting away with it and was eventually sent to prison for it. However, there was no medical evidence at the time that he had sexually abused Tony and, as unlikely as it seems to our modern way of thinking, it’s quite possible that the relationship between the pair was simply loving in a platonic way.

Here’s another one.

From what I’ve read, Kevin simply wanted to set up a Crusader Christian scout movement with Tony as the head Crusader in the hope of spreading the movement throughout the world. An admirable idea that looked fine on the face of it, but that when he tried to make it work, it fell down flat. At 68 years of age, I’ve lived long enough now to know that sometimes, things can look to be one way and turn out to be another way entirely.

As a survivor, I find it disturbing that Tracey’s crimes can be rationalized in this way. The boy was eleven years old FFS! 

And these observers really believe it was all innocent, despite the evidence of the father; not to mention Tracey never wrote to the dad saying his son was alive and well.

So when, in the same era, I reported a lay teacher and his female associate (twice) to the cops, you can imagine the police response had a similar Pathe News tone and included the suggestion, roughly as follows, ‘Just keep away from them. Find someone your own age to play with, sonny.’

Good advice but not realistic if the scum have a financial hold over you, through ‘the Church’ paying my school fees (a matter of record).

But what I take away from this is how Tracey’s Scout Crusaders were disturbingly similar to the Squires of the Knights of St Columba. Now defunct. Although the Squires of the Knights of Columbus (complete with oaths of secrecy) still exist today with the inevitable numerous child abuse cases resulting.

Secondly, how there was something clearly unwholesome going on at St Joseph’s in this era when I had the misfortune to be enrolled (in 1960).

And it shows how lay teachers were just as likely to be paedophiles as the more notorious DLS Brothers.  In the 1960s that was certainly my experience,  and, I gather, subsequently, right through to at least the 1980s, as a search of this site will show.

Whether from me, or from others, there is clearly far more to come about the serious crimes of St Joseph’s College and its associated organisations.  SJC ostriches should continue  burying their heads.

KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA – THE SECRET RITUALS

The Knights of Columbus KOC  came first  (American)…. Then the Knights of St Columba KOSC (UK)… and the Knights of  St  Columbanus  KOSCL (Ireland)

All three have or had similar rituals. 

Detailed below are some of the KOC rituals. The KOSC would have been similar, but with American elements changed, like the secret serviceman.  I would assume they had a different role-playing character, maybe a police officer.

I haven’t included the preliminary material because it’s not directly relevant except for background.

Sorry if it’s a bit of a pain to read below but you’ll get the idea.

If you find it of interest, the FULL transcript is here.

 Full text of “Knights of Columbus: A complete ritual and history of the first three degrees, including all secret “work.” By a former member of the order.”

https://archive.org/stream/knightscolumbus/knightscolumbus_djvu.txt

I also have a KOSCL ritual which bears out the premise that these Knights are all drawing on each other. So it can’t be dismissed as ‘weird Americans’, much as I would love it to be!

The similarities between the three organizations is comprehensive. It’s far more than just the names.

Bear in mind the Knights are ‘covering themselves’ in this transcript by not doing anything actually illegal. Although it’s borderline. Even so, they are clearly messing with a candidate’s head.

Here’s this quote from the ritual

‘Break the spirit of all, if possible’,

Their skill at doing this has serious implications, particularly for grooming children.

And it is a VERY unhealthy ritual that warrants detailed analysis by someone better qualified than myself.

To me, it’s just sick games by arrogant rich Catholic businessmen and a precursor to other far worse rituals that, understandably, have never been written down.

Note the masks and robes. And the organ playing. It’s like something out of Eyes Wide Shut.  But the Ipswich KOSC  were after children. Imagine the effect on kids of even an adapted form of this nonsense. They were scary, truly evil bastards! I still find it hard to understand how I and others survived.  I guess kids have survived a lot worse.

One St J’s Old Boy has presented a strong case and evidence to me that the KOSC actually go back much earlier than their supposed origins date and I’d say he was probably right.

Some points I would add.

A similar ritual to this would have been used across Britain, linked to Catholic churches and to the Knights at least up to the mid-60s.

It’s obviously Masonic. According to Wikipedia the KOSC stopped these Masonic rituals when they modernized in the late 60s. I’m pretty certain I saw the masks and robes etc, but I very much doubt that I would have witnessed these exact rituals. These are for new members and I don’t think I was even considered as a Squire who would have had their own initiation rituals.   

Why wasn’t I a Squire?

 Because I was just another victim of their organization hunting for children in St Marks, Chantry Estate.  Currently I’ve counted up one Catholic girl (see the Darkest Knights) and six Catholic boys including myself who were ‘harvested’ by the Ipswich Knights of St Columba for paedophilia purposes on our council estate in the early 1960s.

I firmly believe that I and the other children on the Council Estate were seen as nothing more than ‘trailer trash’ to be used and abused.

That’s how these vile people saw the poor who they were supposedly helping with their charitable work.

Just like their fellow Knight of St Columba Savile who did so much for charity.

So there was no reason to make me a Squire.

I’m sure that was the primary purpose of the Knights’ presence, lurking at the back of the church – to check the children out and see who they could target next. When they were old enough. One or two children would clearly not be enough for them.  My figures are probably on the low side. The use of the large building on the border of of the council estate I’ve previously described – what I used to call the ‘Gingerbread House’ – would suggest this was quite a big operation.

I find this deeply upsetting and this post is dedicated to those children and their memory.

I hope they survived the disgusting and arrogant crimes of the Knights of St Columba.

If you are one of them and you’re reading this, do get in touch. I guarantee your anonymity. Or do tell someone in authority who may be able to help or advise you further. It was a long time ago, but I know just how triggering it can be. These scum still need exposing, despite the passage of time. The truth sets us free.

Finally:

Please don’t forget the Ipswich KOSC were intimately connected with St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, from its very conception, see earlier posts, which raises another whole raft of questions that need answering.

Someone, today, should answer for the crimes of their forefathers on whose traditions and organizations they have built and prospered.

Don’t either of these organizations today have anyone in them who has a conscience?

 It would seem not.

The secrecy – and the vows of silence – described in detail in these rituals continues to this day.

THIRD DEGREE — PREPARATION.

THE TEAM.

The personnel of the team which gives

this degree is as follows :

A Captain of the Guard in command

of the team.

A Decoy Priest. He wears the ordin

ary street dress of the priest, with Roman

collar and rabbi.

A Secret Service man incognito.

Enough initiated members to scatter

through the candidates and urge them to

action.

HOW ROBED.

Several robed assistants. The robe is

made of any black cloth, fitted with a

peaked cowl like a monk’s habit.

Several doctors attired as for the

operating room.

THE MEMBERS.

All members will wear black robes,

entirely covering their regular habit, and

will be masked.

The Grand Knight will appear as usual

his ribbon of office his only adornment.

In the center of the Council Chamber

will be a table with surgical instruments

and bandages.

A small room leading from the Cham-

ber will be made as warm as possible.

This room is known as the Hot Box or

the H. B.

When all is in readiness, the Grand

Knight will direct the Captain of the

Guard to send his men to their work.

The assistants go to the ante-room,

where the candidates are gathered.

Their work is to stir up the candidates

to anger if possible, using the decoy priest

as a last recourse.

THIRD DEGREE — FIRST SECTION

Line up the candidates in such a surly

manner that they will take offense and re-

fuse to go into line.

The line-up may be made according to

seniority or in any fashion the team may

judge efficient.

Often an old priest, if any priests are

to be initiated, may be called to head the

line. The assistants may try to confuse

and anger him by mispronouncing his

name or calling attention to his position.

Generally, it is not wise to push the priest

too-far. Laymen are better subjects, and

the dignity of the priesthood must be

preserved.

The best method to obtain results is

to treat the candidates as though they

were a crowd of school-boys, who needed

a severe censure for every move made. If

a candidate does not obey any order given

to him, such as to stand for a certain posi-

tion behind his fellow in line, to look

straight ahead, etc., it is good to send him

to the rear and hint that he may not be

allowed to go on.

Break the spirit of all, if possible, and

make all obey timidly the smallest com-

mand of the team members.

If the candidates rebel and refuse to go

on, the Captain of the Guard will be

called. He will enter, wearing any seem-

ingly disreputable robe, such as a bath

robe, which has been soaked in whiskey,

and giving the candidates the impression

that he is drunk. The decoy members

will artfully stimulate this suggestion.

The Captain of the Guard will brutally

inquire the cause of the trouble and when

he has listened to the charges of the can-

didates and the answers of his assistants,

he will deliver his judgment.

This is left to his ingenuity and histri-

onic skill. He will invite the candidates

As a last recourse to stir up the candi-

dates, the decoy priest will leave the line

and walk away.

The Captain of the Guard will angrily

question him :

“Why are you leaving your place?”

D. P. “I am sick. I want a glass of

water.”

C. G. “Go back to your place. No

one may leave his place for any considera-

tion.”

D. P. “But I am sick and I must have

a glass of water or I shall faint.”

C. G. “Faint then.”

He orders his assistants to take the de-

coy priest back by force if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service man

slips away and comes back with a glass

of water, which he hands to the decoy

priest. As the decoy priest takes it, the

Captain of the Guards leaps forward,

angrily, and knocks the glass from his

hand.

f the candidates have not yet gone be-

yond control, this always stirs them to

fury, and they break ranks in angry con-

fusion, struggling and shouting against

the insult to the priest.

The decoy members of the team skill-

fully urge the stronger-willed candidates

to shout defiance against the Captain of

the Guard and his assistants.

They suggest that he is drunk and that

it is an outrage — it is an insult to the

priesthood.

Many refuse to go on, and threaten to

break down the door and leave for good,

if they are not released. Some try to

catch the Captain of the Guard, but are

skillfully kept away by the decoys.

The candidates are to be aroused to the

last extreme of fury, but are to be handled

so that they cannot do anything.

He will see that the man is punished if

he is guilty. If they will be patient and

allow the work to go on, the case will be

taken care of in due time.

Then he goes back into the Council

Chamber. The decoy priest helps to calm

the candidates, by excusing the Captain

of the Guard on account of his condition.

He is not so much to be blamed because

he is drunk. Gradually the candidates

are calmed and go back into line.

THIRD DEGREE — SECOND SECTION.

They are all blindfolded. They put

their hands on shoulders. The guards

give the signal, the doors are opened, and

the candidates march into the Council

Chamber. The organ is playing. They

are marched around the room several

times and halted in a hollow square fac-

ing the center. The blinds arc removed.

The doctors are seated around the table

covered with surgical instruments and

writing paper. The Grand Knight sits

near the table.

The members of the Order, all covered

with black robes, stand behind the candi-

dates.

The chief surgeon stands up and calls

several of the candidates and decoys. The

guards lead them to the table.

Chief Surgeon — Before you may go

further, you must show that you are

worthy. You must submit to a test of

your strength that will satisfy the Order

that you are in earnest.

He calls on one of the decoys to take

the first test.

Chief Surgeon — I have here a copy of

the pledge which you must take to this

Order. I have also a dagger (picking up

from the table a dagger) . You will take

this dagger, bare your arm, prick your

veins and sign this pledge with your own

blood. Are you willing to take the test?

Decoy feigns reluctance, and plays that

he is afraid to take the test.

Chief Surgeon — You must take the test

or you cannot go on. Are you afraid of

a little blood? There are doctors here

who will see that you do not injure your-

self. Do you call yourself a man — afraid

of pricking a little vein?

Decoy — I cannot take such a pledge;

you have no right to ask it.

THIRD DEGREE— THIRD SECTION.

The organ plays, and the guards lead

the candidates to the Hot Box. When

they are all in, the door is fastened, and

masked guards are stationed inside and

outside of the door.

The Hot Box must be small enough to

make it difficult to move about easily

without jostling. The Captain of the

Guard is found inside and mingles with

the candidates. He is as surly as he was

in the ante-room, and the candidates feel

their anger rising against him.

The decoy priest soon complains of the

heat and asks to be let outside. The Cap-

tain of the Guard refuses to let him go.

They quarrel, and the decoy priest says

he is going to go out whether the Captain

of the Guard likes it or not.

The guards and decoys keep between

the decoy priest, the Captain and the can-

69

dictates. As the decoy priest starts to push

the Captain aside, the Captain slaps him

over the mouth.

The decoy priest reels from the blow

and blood seems to flow from his mouth.

He has had some red gum in his mouth,

which gives his sputum the appearance

of blood.

At once there is an uproar. Some of

the decoys shout to be let out, others

pound upon the door, and the candidates

are roused to fury, and try to reach the

Captain of the Guard. The inside and

outside guards and decoys must protect

him and see that the door is opened be-

fore it is broken down.

Then all rush out into the Council

Chamber, shouting and gesticulating.

They rush to the table, where the Grand

Knight and the doctors are sitting.

THIRD DEGREE — FOURTH SECTION.

If necessary, a decoy starts the part.

He stands on a chair and bitterly de-

nounces the whole procedure. They came

as gentlemen, as Catholics, to enter an

Order that has been approved by the

Church, and they are subjected to the in-

dignities of drunken brutes. Even the

sacred character of the priest himself is

not respected. God’s holy anointed is

brutally insulted and even struck by a

drunken wretch.

He demands that the Captain of the

Guard be summarily punished and

thrown out of the meeting and the Order,

and that the real work of the Order be

taken up.

As many as wish may make speeches.

The most hotheaded and devout generally

make the best talks. Some of the priests

make especially eloquent pleas against the

whole procedure, and many of the lay-

men are discovered to be eloquent plead-

ers, who never before had dared to speak

in public.

When all have finished, the Grand

Knight stands upon the chair and begs

them to be patient. He deprecates the

unfortunate occurrence. The man will

be tried at once. Seven men will be

picked from their number as a jury. The

charges will be made in due order, and

the verdict of the jury will be received as

final. Are they willing to abide by such

a procedure?

They answer yes.

The candidates are then told to sit

down in the chairs around the wall and

the jury is selected.

The secret service man is one of the

jurors.

The seven are called to the middle of

the chamber and lined up before the

table. Grand Knight — Gentlemen, you must

give up all your valuables, and have your

pockets entirely empty so that you may

hand nothing to one another during the

trial.

I must ask the Captain of the Guard to

go among you and receive all that you

have on your person.

The Captain, amidst wild glares and

murmurs, begins to take the things that

the jurors hand over to him. Some gen-

erally are very angry at him and show it

by their manner; some do not care to

hand him anything.

The secret service man, especially,

shows resentment, and at first refuses to

give up anything. He objects to the pro-

cedure. One of the guards comes up to

him and runs his hands over his clothes.

He resists, and the guard calls out that

he has a revolver in his pocket.

The Grand Knight asks him if it is

true that he has a concealed weapon. He

says that it is true. He is a secret service

man and always carries a revolver.

75

The Grand Knight — You must give

it up.

Secret Service Man — I will not give it

up. 1 am under orders to carry it and

never to allow it to pass from my posses-

sion.

The Grand Knight — Captain of the

Guard, you will see that this gentleman

gives up his weapon.

The Captain steps up to the secret serv-

ice man and asks him for the weapon.

Secret Service Man — You dirty brute,

I would not give it to you in any case.

The Captain catches hold of him and

76

tries to drag the gun from his pocket.

They struggle, and the guards close

around them.

Suddenly the revolver comes out in the

secret service man’s hand. Captain

catches the hand and pulls it down, and

then there is a flash and the sharp report

of the weapon. The Captain reels back-

ward, and blood pours out over his chest.

He falls into the arms of the guards.

77

The Captain of the Guard has a rubber

bag full of red fluid under his robe. This

is pierced by a knife just before the shot,

and gives the delusion of blood flowing

from his breast.

Confusion reigns in the chamber. The

priests rush to give the man absolution,

some of the guards hurry away the secret

service man, and the wounded Captain is

carried out into the ante-room and the

crowd is closed in the chamber.

Experience has shown that the body of

the candidates is always in a strange con-

dition of mind during this period of wait-

ing. The members go about and whisper

of the terrible accident, and hint of the

scandal if the newspapers find out about

the affair. If the secret service man dies,

it will be the end of the Knights of Co-

lumbus.

The dramatic climax is worked up nat-

urally until all the candidates are con-

sumed with anxiety to know the worst.

After ten or fifteen minutes the door of

the ante-room is opened, and the Grand

79

Knight walks into the chamber, followed

by the doctors, the secret service man, and

a well-dressed, clean looking man, whom

all recognize as the Captain of the Guard,

and the decoy priest.

The Grand Knight takes the middle of

the floor, with the others around him, and

begins to speak:

Grand Knight — Gentlemen and Broth-

ers : When I have given the solution of

the strange adventures which you have

gone through this day, you will learn the

most telling lesson ever devised to teach

you that things are not always what they

seem.

He turns to the decoy priest, and pulls

off his collar and rabbi, saying:

Grand Knight — Our good friend and

brother here is not a priest at all. He

bore all the outward marks, but the inner

seal of the sacrament of Orders has never

been imprinted upon his soul. He was

playing a part, and that he played it well,

I know. For I can see upon the faces of

all of you, the expression of relief which

comes to those who awake from a terrible

dream and find that it was only a dream.

And this good brother (turning to the

secret service man and taking him by the

hand) is not a desperate criminal, with

the blood of his fellow upon his head.

Our old friend, the Captain of the Guard,

stands here beaming upon us. A short

time past, you wished almost to tear him

to pieces. You thought him a brute; you

believed him a sacrilegious wretch who

dared to raise his hand against the Lord’s

anointed. It was a delusion. The good

Captain and the good pseudo-father had

conspired together to deceive you. See

how they love each other! (The two

shake hands heartily.)

Brothers, take this lesson to heart, and

bear it with you in all your activities of

life. Judge not by appearances. Things

may not be what they seem. Suspend your

judgment until there can be no mistake.

Then act. Remember this lesson. Cherish

it in your hearts.

You have seen that men are led. Un-

der certain conditions men will do things

that they never would do if they were

alone or stopped to realize what their acts

may lead to.

We asked you to take this dagger and

let your own blood and write with your

own blood your acceptance of our Order.

We had no right to ask you to do such a

thing. If you had insisted upon taking

the pledge, you would have discovered

that this dagger is a trick also. You could

not have hurt yourselves. It is filled with

red fluid, and when you pushed it against

your arm, the red fluid would have flowed

out and looked like blood (demonstrates

with dagger). But it would have been

wrong in intention anyway. If it had

been a real dagger, some zealous brother

would be sure to cut himself badly.

Learn the lesson of your rights as an

individual. You are responsible before

your conscience to God alone. No one

has any right to ask you to do an act which

is evil, no matter for what purpose. Re-

member this lesson.

n dramatic form for you on this occasion.

You were many. The guards were few.

Yet they were able to control you from

the ante-room to the climax you have just

witnessed. Why? They were an organ-

ized unit and knew what they were doing.

You were unorganized and did not know

what to do. If at any moment, one or

two of you had taken the lead and had

gathered the forces of your body about

you, you would have controlled and

beaten the guards. Without leaders you

were simply a mob, expending a great

deal of energy, but accomplishing noth-

ing.

Extend this lesson to your daily life.

Study and work to be leaders of men.

The world is sick because there are not

enough in the active life of today who

can visualize the meaning of life for man-

kind. As Knights of Columbus, you must

be leaders. You are sons of the old

Mother Church, who is the divinely ap-

pointed mother of men.

Study her; learn her ideals, her God-

given means of saving the world, and as

laymen be missionaries in every walk of

life. We must assist our clergy in their

laborious work of saving souls. They are

our spiritual guides and leaders. We

must become leaders of the world, under

their direction, and bring to this sad earth

the kingdom of God and the brotherhood

of man. All must be united in one grand,

glorious band of humanity under the one

mother church.

” ‘I now solemnly pledge myself to

keep sacred the secrets of this Order; to

be a loyal and true son of the Church, and

a faithful member of the Knights of Co-

lumbus. I will always be ruled by

knightly courtesy in my relations with

my fellow men. I pledge myself to God,

to His Holy Church, to my country, to

mankind, to be always a true Knight.

Amen.’

“It is well, brothers. I shall now de-

clare this Council adjourned.”

The secret work is made a part of the

regular council meeting for the benefit of

new members, usually at the first meeting

following the initiation.

It is generally demonstrated by the

Grand Knight, under the head of New

Business.

The new members are led by the Cap-

tain of the Guard to the Grand Knight’s

chair.

The Grand Knight addresses them:

“Brothers, as duly accredited members

of the Knights of Columbus, it is your

right and your duty to become acquainted

with the secret work of the Order.

“The password is important. It ad-

mits you to the Council Chamber. It

must be kept a secret from all outsiders.

89

“The word is changed once a year. For

the present year it is: (One password

was ‘Knights of Columbus shall rule/)

“When you come to a council meeting,

attract the attention of the Outside Guard.

Whisper in his ear the first half of the

password. He will admit you into the

ante-room. Rap upon the entrance of the

Council Chamber. The Inside Guard

will open the wicket and you will whisper

into his ear the last half of the password.

He will then admit you to the Council

Chamber. You will walk to the center

of the chamber and salute the Captain of

the Guard with the usual military salute.

When he returns the salute, you may take

your place among the members of the

council.

“The Grip : The grip is given by shak-

ing hands in the ordinary way, and giv-

90

ing two distinct pressures with all the fin-

gers. This is answered by one sharp pres-

sure. The question which goes with the

grip is, What council do you belong to?’

“If any brother is in distress or needs

aid to accomplish any work, generally in

a crowd, he will call out, ‘Are there any

good men here?’ If there are any Knights

of Columbus present, they will answer,

{ Yes I 1 and come to his assistance.

“The training in the Third Degree will

make it easy for a few to accomplish won-

ders even in a large crowd.

“Brothers, you are now duly accredited

members of the Knight? of Columbus.

You are initiated into the secvets of the

Order. You may come in and go out as

children of one family. I charge you to

be faithful to the Order; true to your

pledge. Never reveal our secrets to out-

siders.

“As Catholics you have all the sanc-

tions of the Church to keep you faithful.

We have the approval and blessing of the

91

Church. The Pope himself, our Most

Holy Father, has given us his Apostolic

benediction. If then — which may God

forbid! — anyone is tempted to reveal our

secrets, let him think well before he acts.

Such a one would surely incur the curse

of God. His name would become a by-

word and a reproach among all honorable

men. He would be shunned and cursed

by all his former fellows, the conscience

of a guilty wretch who has sold his soul,

would sooner or later come home to him,

to chastise him day and night until he

made his peace with God and did true

penance for his crime.

“It is impossible to imagine a brother

who could be guilty of such an act. He

must first become a renegade and an un-

believer, and join himself to the forces of

the devil, who prowls about the world

seeking whom he may devour.

“He deserves the reception which the

devil himself received from God — to be

cast into eternal torture. Only the Infi-

nite Mercy of God can save him from

such a fate. Think well, then, brothers,

The Dark Network

The Dark Network is a term used by academics to describe organised crime such as sex trafficking, Mafia, drug rings, youth gangs and so forth.

It is also the term used by an authoritative thesis study of organised Catholic abuse in Victoria, Australia.  It is not an isolated or maverick study; it is  further confirmed by other related sources and also independent Australian sources which state clearly that abuse in the  Australian Catholic Church was organised and endemic.

It’s remarkable that such a major study should feature on the internet – it’s only been up there since early 2020.  It has wider and serious implications for the Church in other countries, including Britain and Ireland. Therefore – if you find the study of interest – I recommend you download it, in case it mysteriously disappears.

It is relevant to the whole subject of abuse at St Joseph’s, Ipswich, the Catholic priests in Ipswich, the laity, notably the Knights of St Columba of Ipswich Province, and their wives – as I’ve detailed in past posts.  The Catholic structure in Australia and in Ipswich have enough similarities for this Dark Network to be worth looking at.  Thus I have posted the testimony of a St Joseph’s Old Boy that Father Jolly tape recorded confessions. Here is a similar account in the Australian thesis:

Searson’s sexualised conduct included having children sit on his knee inconfession, having them kneel between his knees during confession, taperecording ‘hot’ confessions, cuddling girls and having girls do handstands in front of him in their dresses.

It has always been my contention that there was organised Catholic abuse in Ipswich when I was growing up in the 1960s. Namely that it was premeditated, planned and highly organised.

It was a way of life.

 Thus all three priests I came in contact with were abusers and two, probably three, were Knights of St Columba. If it was just the odd ‘rogue priest’, as Catholics desperately still like to claim, that would be most unlikely.

Initially, my view was very much a maverick opinion which I voiced with some caution, because the prevailing view is still the ‘rotten apple’ theory of Catholic abuse. I didn’t want my evidence and the evidence of other St Joseph’s  Old Boys to be seen and dismissed as wild conspiracy theories.  But today there are now enough statements on my site to amount to empirical evidence of organised Catholic abuse.  For example,how Brother Solomon was moved around schools, and his disturbing connection with the equally disturbing Joe Homan (ex De La Salle brother) charity.  Homan (previously covered on this site) may have been ex DLS, but – as an Old Boy recently reminded me – there were still appeals in St Pancras, Ipswich, to raise money to buy him a tractor.  Everything was, and probably still is, interconnected.

 In particular, apart from my own testimony, there’s a recent detailed testimony of a survivor relating to Brother James, Father Jolly and how the Catholic authorities covered up a major crime. Plus a further private testimony I have from a survivor which describes in comprehensive and disturbing detail how organised laity cover-ups works in the Catholic Church.

In short, there was a similar Dark Network of organised Catholic crime in  Ipswich in the 1960s.

The Australian report confirms for the first time, as far as I’m aware, that such criminal Networks of organised clerical sexual abuse exist within the Catholic Church.  This should encourage survivors to speak more openly about their experiences without fear of being dismissed as fantasists. Unless family ties, tradition, and fear of the consequences still enforces the rule of omerta?

First, the other evidence from Australia which shows there was ,and probably still, is highly organised Catholic abuse.

There’s Kristina Keneally in The Guardian who highlights the response of the police to what she calls  ‘Catholic extremism’.

I posed this question on Twitter last week: should we call this Catholic extremism? One of the police officers who blew the whistle on the sexual abuse of children in the Australian Catholic church, Peter Fox, responded “I’d call it organised crime.” He’s right. But it is more than that. It is a warped, extreme and deeply flawed interpretation of the Catholic faith that led to such crimes.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/13/lets-call-child-sexual-abuse-in-the-church-what-it-is-catholic-extremism

I discuss this extreme interpretation of Catholicism later in this post and how it endorses and encourages abuse.

Then there’s The Conversation by Michael Salter, Lecturer in Criminology, Western Sydney University.

He asks if it’s rogue priests or a Culture of  abuse? He answers his question as follows:

The report of the South Australian Mullighan Inquiry into children in state care was published in 2008. In the report, former state wards provided detailed accounts of groups of staff sexually abusing children in institutions and taking them to what Commissioner Mullighan described as “paedophile parties”. Priests, nuns and care staff were implicated. Like so many other inquiries of this nature, the report hinted at a degree of sexual abuse that has not received full public recognition.

https://theconversation.com/rogue-priests-or-a-culture-of-abuse-investigating-paedophilia-in-the-catholic-church-10700

There’s also this statement made in Australian parliament.

Here is one person’s story which, I warn senators before I begin, is very disturbing. This particular woman told the inquiry that, as a young child and soon after her mother died, she had been placed in care at a Catholic church-run institution which held around 130 children in the mid to late 1950s. She alleges that a man, who she believes may have been a priest, started to sexually assault her soon after her arrival at the orphanage. She said that a nun took her to a room on the ground floor where the man put her face down on a table, lifted her dress, removed her undergarments and sexually assaulted her. He allegedly told her that she was worthless, that she deserved to be treated in this way and that she should never tell anyone because no-one would ever believe her. She said that she bled badly. The man returned her to the nun, who then put her to bed. This woman told the inquiry that this abuse occurred possibly twice a week over some time and would follow a similar pattern. Sometimes the nun who took her to the man would beat her and she would try to run away only to be taken back again. This woman did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time because she thought that she would not be believed. She recalled that she felt: ‘So lost, so lonely, so sad, so worthless. I cried every day. I cried myself to sleep every night. I used to go off into the toilet any time and I would just sob.’

And finally the thesis itself.  It’s backed up, of course, with further sources.

An exploration of the existence of clergy child sexual abuse Dark Networks within the Catholic Church.

Signed 17th September 2019.

By Sally Muytjens BJus(Hons). Doctor of Philosophy. School of Justice. Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology

It’s an excellent document, much of it concerned with statistics to bear out her premise that there is a Catholic Dark Network and showing its similarities to other ‘traditional’, recognised criminal organisations.

Chapter 5 introduction has a good summary.

The chapter begins by evidencing ties between clergy perpetrators of CSA (child sexual abuse)  to show that rather than committing CSA on an individual level these DN (Dark network) actors (perpetrators) are connected on an organisational level. Furthermore, qualitative data shows these ties being utilised to support and share DN resources with fellow clergy DN actors. The data chapter provides examples of clergy DN resources and how these are shared between clergy DN actors. Clergy DN resources include victims, victim information, shared knowledge for the facilitation of CSA and silencing of victims. The data reveals common patterns for committing CSA and for silencing victims.

As I was recruited for a seminary and there was a very punitive response from the Catholic authorities  when I refused to go, this next piece was significant and confirms my recollections are correct.  As a fourteen year old boy, I was aware of the criminal nature of the Catholic Network and I wanted nothing more to do with it.

Recruitment is an important aspect of maintaining network numbers… The data chapter discusses clergy perpetrators who were placed in roles of recruiting boys into the priesthood. The importance of recruitment and mentoring to the DN is that the ability to be able to replace DN actors is crucial to DN resilience (Ayling 2009).

Her thesis cannot possibly cover crimes by the Catholic laity and female Catholic abuse as well. But both are relevant in my view. Namely the Knights of St Columba and their wives whom I’ve previously written about.  Here’s what Ms Muytjens said on this subject:

These crimes were not limited to Victoria and did extend beyond Australia’s borders, but the boundaries for this research were set within Victoria. These crimes, and the crime of CSA particularly, were not limited to clergy and were also committed by nuns and Catholic laity. The scope of this research was limited by the enormity of criminal acts committed within the Catholic church as boundaries had to be set to analyse a manageable data set.

Ms Muytjens later gives an example of where  Catholic laity were involved in organised Catholic sexual abuse. It’s from a survivor’s testimony:

I would have been about 16 or 17 years old. We stayed in a hotel and I stayed in the same room as Fr Pickering and he continued to abuse me. I remember one night during this trip, we went to a local hotel for dinner where Fr Pickering met up with someone, who I think was called Fr Gavin, and three other men. I don’t remember Fr Gavin’s last name, but he was quite young, about 30 years old. I don’t know who the three other men were, they were not priests, but my impression was that they were involved in the church in some way. All the men had boys with them around the same age as me. I was made to sit on the kids’ table while the men sat on a different table (RCICA 2015g, 46).

It’s an important quote because thus far the congregation have largely managed to escape scrutiny. It needs more survivors to come forward.  Australia, of course, has its  own equivalent of the Knights of St Columba.

Later in the thesis (Page 166), there’s a record of a clerical death threat made to a survivor. I had several such threats made to me because I would not stay silent. Here’s the quote:

Br Best, the school principal, also teaching Grade 6, called Paul to his office. Paul was aware of Br Best’s fondness for belting the boys, the nervous child entered and was told by Best: “It’s all right. Just want to talk to you” (BRA 2017). Best then sexually penetrated the boy. Soon afterwards, Paul told his own class teacher, Fitzgerald, what Best had done. Fitzgerald responded by hitting him and then asked the boy again what happened and when Paul repeated the claim he was struck again. After being asked a third time, Paul replied: “Nothing happened”. (BRA 2017). Paul could not bring himself to tell his parents, so he approached a Catholic priest who responded with a “backhander” and threatened his life, saying, ‘If you tell anyone what happened I will f***ing kill you’. (BRA 2017) 

The relatively modern, rather than historic, nature of Catholic Dark Network cover-ups is demonstrated by the following incident from 2003.  The Grey Network that she refers to is the Catholic Network that doesn’t commit abuse but supports it.

Br Julian Fox was appointed as the head of the Salesian Order in Australia, supervising Salesian schools in several States (BRA ndn).  The Victorian police wanted to interview Fox, but in 2003 the church gave him a job in Rome as a web-master on the Salesians’ worldwide website (Family and Community Development Committee 2012b, 7). Fox used Rome as his base, but he travelled the world (Family and Community Development Committee 2012b, 7). This transfer of Fox to Rome by the grey network showed the grey network not only protecting this DN actor and obstructing a police investigation but placing Fox in a position which provided significant opportunities to acquire new DN resources such as victims, new DN actors, safe places to hide clergy subject to complaints and connections to other DN actors globally. The promotion of DN interests by the grey network was also apparent in the role promotion of known clergy perpetrators of CSA.

As Cardinal Pell has recently won his appeal, it’s relevant to quote this from the thesis:

I told George (Pell)  I had been abused by Gerald. His first reaction was, “Oh, right”.There was no shock. His tone then became terse relatively quickly and I could sense anger in his voice. I started to get a sense he was insinuating things about my story and I felt like I’d done something wrong. George then began totalk of my growing family and my need to take care of their needs. He mentioned things such as, I may soon have to buy a car or a house for my family. I doremember with clarity the last three lines we spoke together:

Me: ‘Excuse me, George, what the fuck are you talking about?’ George said, ‘Iwant to know what it will take to keep you quiet’. My response was, ‘Fuck youGeorge, and everything you stand for’. I hung up the phone. (RCICA 2015d, 73)

The thesis also details how important judicial members of the Catholic laity are involved in cover-ups. The private testimony I have from a St J’s Old Boy says something very similar.  And there’s my own experience, too. I was warned off by a Catholic magistrate (A Knight) and told to keep my mouth shut as I’ve related previously.  

At Gladstone Park, Fr Baker befriended a local family who had a son. Bakersexually abused this boy on trips away and in the boy’s bedroom. The victim’s father complained about Baker to the chairman of the parish school board,Brian Cosgriff, who was also a magistrate (BRA nda). Cosgriff consulted another Catholic layman, Brendan Murphy, who was a barrister. These two men of law neglected to notify the police and, instead, merely notified ArchbishopFrank Little (BRA nda). Archbishop Little’s secretary, Monsignor Peter Connors, who later became the bishop of Ballarat, visited the victim’s family and convinced them to keep the matter secret (BRA nda).

This evidence highlights the fact that the DN were also protected by certain members of the Catholic laity. It is significant that a magistrate and a barrister considered clergy CSA to be a matter for the Catholic Church to deal with rather than a legal matter.

It would be reasonable to assume the Catholic magistrate and barrister in question were Catholic Knights.  In two similar British incidents (my own and another survivor’s) they were Knights.

That’s as far as I’ve analysed the thesis. I must follow up on her sources where I can. Australians are to be congratulated for their courageous search for truth about the full extent and nature of Catholic abuse in Oz. By comparison, Catholic Britain is a long and shameful way behind and seems to have little interest in the subject.

The Dark Network that this thesis so superbly describes has numerous disturbing implications. The one that springs immediately to mind is – when did it stop?  There is no direct cut-off point in the thesis, but it starts to move out of historic abuse into current times with the example I’ve indicated and others.

Previously with historic abuse, the Catholic Church has been able to say:  the monks, brothers and priests who abused are now all dead or in their 80s, so it’s all in the past and today there are stringent protocols in place to ensure it can never happen again. So can we please just shut up, forget the whole unpleasant business, and look to the future?

But a Catholic Dark Network is different. It’s not dependant on individuals who die or retire as the thesis demonstrates.  It’s transgenerational.

You might assume that with such a spotlight on the Catholic Church today, that Networks would have disbanded in the last decade or so.  But this is not the case with other forms of organised crime, even though the spotlight is equally on them. The Mafia, sex trafficking, drugs rings and so on continue to this day, albeit more secretively, cautiously and cleverly than in previous eras.

So there is no reason to suppose that a Catholic Dark Network is any different. Yes, there are more stringent checks today but that’s never stopped criminals in the past from finding ways around checks.  And the Church’s wilful and provable delaying tactics and attempts to minimise and excuse its past crimes do not inspire me with any confidence. Its various  organisations’ silence about abuse at St Joseph’s College and in Catholic Ipswich is also a matter of concern.   Furthermore, in the current age of austerity, there will be more vulnerable children than ever before. 

They will be new targets for Catholic predators. And they will find new ways of reaching them. Doubtless they already have.

I’ve had one anecdotal confirmation from a police officer, who investigated paedophile crimes, that Catholic clerical abuse is still current rather than historic. I’ve also come across two incidents on the web that are thus already in the public domain. They also relate to the current era and I’ll refer to them in a future post. They’re not empirical evidence of Dark Networking, but they are a matter of concern.

 As several reports have shown, the Church has been riddled with sexual abuse for most of its two thousand years existence.  The underlying reason for this is because, underneath their paedophile and sadistic behaviour, there is also a belief system, a credo. That’s why it’s been tolerated. Priests, monks, brothers and laity do not form part of an organised Dark Network just to find an outlet for their depravity or sexual frustrations. There is an excuse, a rationale, a logic, a reasoning, a twisted theology behind their crimes. This ‘justifies’ their crimes. That’s something I can personally confirm from my own childhood encounters with these perverts.

It’s rather more than a depraved priest excusing his conduct with some pseudo-spiritual nonsense as he abuses a young child. And it’s rather less than some elaborate,  conspiratorial, esoteric,  masonic belief system.  Although it draws on  both and it has elements of both.

In fact it’s more down to earth and actually rather familiar to most of us. It’s a private interpretation and development of the Church’s public teaching on the weakness and evil of the Flesh, how to defeat the Flesh, and how to truly imitate Christ and his suffering. It’s all there, hiding in plain sight. I’ve covered some of the ground already – see ‘The Greatest Betrayal’ – but I’ll return to it in a future post.

The thesis also doesn’t cover what goes on in the criminal minds of Catholic Dark Networkers, it’s outside her terms of reference.

Significantly, few academics who relate and analyse the whole story of Clerical abuse go there either.  It’s like it’s off limits, even though it should be centre stage. It’s an aspect I’ll return to.

What Catholic abusers say, what they think, how they excuse their behaviour, how they explain what they are doing to their victims, is highly pertinent.  And yet, officially, all we have is a few pathetic  ‘rotten apple’ excuses and a few tawdry, pseudo-spiritual excuses which can be quickly dismissed.  Yet all organised criminals have a  sophisticated rationale for their behaviour – and putting Catholic abuse down to the frustrations of celibacy, traumatic childhood, the structure of the Church etc, as some authors claim, is deliberately going down a useful detour, a calculated cul- de-sac to distract us from the truth.  

‘If we can just get the celibacy/screening/structure right, everything will be fine in the Church in the future.’

It’s a classic, questionable academic technique which I’m very familiar with.  It uses that well-tried and successful ploy: ‘Don’t look over here – look over there.’ I need to return to this in a future post.

The authors concerned know it’s a detour, but desperately need to believe the Church can’t be all bad and so blind themselves to or filter out the truth.  That’s a gentle explanation for their conduct. There are other explanations.

Fuelling their work, consciously or unconsciously, is that ongoing premise, ‘The Church’s good name must be protected at all costs.’

These individuals are the loyal opposition whose work gives the fake impression that something is being said and something is being done. At last.

By comparison, Ms Muytjens courageously  ‘tells it like it is’ and exposes the true nature of the Catholic Dark Network.

 It’s a rare and refreshing contrast to and challenge to academia and the establishment’s calculated damage limitation exercises to protect the Catholic Church.

The Greatest Betrayal

The wives of the Knights of St Columba in Ipswich Province played an important part in the events I’ve described in Ipswich in the 1960s.  Their role challenges a stereotypical image of women in that era: that of dutiful, supportive Catholic wives waiting patiently at home for their Masonic husbands to return home from their men’s business.

The truth is rather different. On a purely practical level it had to be. On the Knights’ retreats, weekend outings and other charitable events, there were meals to be provided, beds to be made, children to be organized. And chaperoned, when there were girls. The wives therefore had to have a physical presence, at least. It’s unlikely that 1960s men would have done all those domestic tasks. But what I’m describing here is something more – a further betrayal of trust, which needs recording because my experience could hardly have been unique. It was hardly a one-off moment of madness. And it’s the greatest betrayal, because we assume that children are safe with women. That assumption has taken a hammering in recent decades, but it’s still a commonly held view and the uncomfortable reality is still largely a taboo subject.

I’m sure there were some admirable characters amongst the wives, but I can only recall one rather splendid woman.  She was the wife of my part-time Knight stepdad and she used her teacher skills to help prepare me and my brother to pass the relevant exam to get into St Joseph’s. Why she would do this does rather boggle the mind. Under duress from a domineering husband who ordered her to help the sons of his mistress? Or because she saw us as part of an extended family and wanted to help us? Who knows?

I am also aware of four Catholic ladies who had a great deal to answer for. I’ll keep them anonymous because I prefer to have a secondary source to confirm my recollections. As many survivors find the subject of female abuse embarrassing, I doubt that will be forthcoming any time soon. I don’t have that problem. I think it’s far too important that all the dark and taboo secrets of the Catholic community are finally brought to light. However, I already have confirmation from an Old Boy that my recollections about the character of one of the women was correct.

The abusers were Mrs C, Mrs W, Mrs X and – above all – Mrs Q.

Mrs C was a widow, she had two daughters who went to St Mary’s Convent school and she came from a wealthy Ipswich business family. As my mother was also a widow, the Parish Priest, Canon Burrows, a Knight of St Columba, encouraged our two families to bond and spend time with each other. We went on outings and a pilgrimage to Walsingham together. We spent time in her rather impressive apartment. She was a most attractive but very sad Mrs Robinson figure, but I was too young to be the Graduate. I was at primary school, after all.  She blamed me for what she did and said I’d go to Hell for it. She was also a member of the Legion of Mary. If you look at 1950s and 1960s photos of the Legion, you’ll see they dressed up like nuns on special occasions, and that’s just how I remember her – like Audrey Hepburn in The Nun’s Story.

Mrs W was the wife of a most important Ipswich legal figure. I remember her as a colourful and artistic character, a refugee from a troubled country. Her son described her in her obituary thus: ‘These events contributed towards her sometimes eccentric and unconventional disposition.’

Mrs X was the wife of a very successful local Catholic businessman. He is listed as a Knight of St Columba. Their son went to St Joseph’s.

Mrs Q is the woman I’m going to focus on here because she’s really the archetype that can represent the others. Her behaviour was the scariest, most abusive, most threatening, and I recall her in the greatest detail. She arouses the greatest anger in me, even after all these years. Actually, it’s not anger – it’s rage. But the other women – Mrs C, Mrs W and Mrs X – were cut from the same cloth, and they were all similar in their abusive methods.

Just as the Knights abused their positions of trust, so too did these women. Again, this account highlights the highly organized nature of Catholic abuse, which – officially – still does not exist. Instead, we are still told it’s just random acts of depravity and lone wolves who are responsible for Catholic abuse. A pack of wolves, hunting in unison, is simply an impossibility for many people, especially with the accusation that women were in the pack. And there was a ritual aspect, too. Or theological inspiration for abuse, at least. If such notions upset or disturb you, then you maybe shouldn’t read on because you will be upset and disturbed, even though I’m deliberately throttling back on the graphic details.

Mrs Q was a very powerful figure. This was confirmed recently by a fellow Old Boy who described her as a ‘Dragon’. His recollections about her personality dovetail with my own. The rest I’ll vouch for and swear to on a stack of bibles, if necessary. I remember thinking as an altar boy – as I would idly scan the congregation during the sermon – that her two nervous-looking sons were visibly afraid of their parents. It was that obvious. A glamorous lady, she wore the trousers in her family, even though her husband was an important and aggressive Knight, involved in business wheeling and dealing around construction work at St Joseph’s. She organized a regular Catholic social event; she was ‘the hostess with the mostest’, as my fellow Old Boy put it, at which Father Jolly – the Knight of St Columba who liked to tape-record adolescent boys’ confessions – was present and would get regularly drunk.

There are three relevant aspects to her character.

Firstly, her spiritual involvement with the Knights. That may seem surprising as it’s such an-all male organization, and I’ll come back to that in a moment.  I should add that there was also a scary physical aspect to her spirituality.

Secondly, how female abusers like her used the guise of controlling and protecting children’s burgeoning adolescent sexuality to abuse them. Control was something Catholics were utterly obsessed with, at least until the 1980s, in a most unhealthy way, and it provided a perfect cover to abuse children. This kind of abuse is fairly well known and so doesn’t require much elaboration.

Thirdly, ‘straightforward’, unabashed sexual involvement with minors. Once again, it’s relatively straightforward and so I’ll be brief.

And so to Mrs Q’s spirituality and its relevance to the Knights and to myself.

Of the three aspects, this was and is the most important. Because she was telling me what to think. What to believe.  And it’s this psychological abuse that’s left the strongest negative impression on me.

Strangely, her spirituality seemed to have a strong New Age flavour. Of course Catholics normally disapprove of anything New Age. My Catholic aunt thought New Age thinking was the work of the devil. And anyway, the New Age started in the 1970s, so I tried to push it all out of my mind. It couldn’t be true. But it just wouldn’t go away. I’d have dreams where Mrs Q acted like a New Age guru towards me. Well, it would certainly explain my life long dislike of New Age gurus, particularly females, which my wife gently tells me is ‘disproportionate’ and well off the Richter scale.

But if such memories are correct, then it’s likely there would be similar Catholic women like Mrs Q – and there are. There’s Bronwen, Lady Astor, daughter of a Judge, glamorous ex-model, and BBC TV presenter, who was caught up in the Profumo scandal. She had her first mystical experience in 1953, became a Roman Catholic in 1970, founded a Catholic charismatic ecumenical religious community that collapsed in 1974, lectured on religion, ran retreats, and chaired Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre, which focuses on mysticism, including past-life reincarnation experiences. She was an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and also opened her home to the homeless.

Note the words in italics. Her Ladyship is leading and telling her followers what to think. What to believe. She was clearly a guru. And she was a New Age guru.

She was a devotee of the French Jesuit priest and mystic Teilhard De Chardin. ‘Father of the New Age Movement’, whose ideas ‘had a profound influence on the New Age Movement’, according to Wikipedia. By the late 1950s, his groundbreaking books were available in English. Notably, The Phenomenon of Man (1959). His writings are based on the concept of Cosmic Theology.  Although condemned by the Vatican for his ‘dangerous’ and potentially heretical beliefs, other aspects of his works are approved of by both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis.

The Phenomenon of Man, written by a Catholic mystical priest, would undoubtedly have been read by intellectually and spiritually curious Catholic women such as Mrs Q.

‘You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.’ That’s a typical Chardin quote and it’s also typically New Age.

Mrs Q was also a kind of guru. She had so much to say and people really needed to listen to her! To listen! She alone had the answers! Possibly the Knights weren’t too impressed – it was an all-male organization of hard-nosed businessmen in the 1960s, after all – and she needed an outlet, a way of discharging her cosmic effluent. Or perhaps her spiritual and physical beliefs ran in parallel with the Knights and they just let her get on with it. I just don’t know. Or maybe she preached to them, too, and they listened attentively. After all, she was ‘the hostess with the mostest’ who knew how to command an audience. Anyway, she started imposing her spiritual revelations on me. I had to listen to her inspired words of wisdom. Up front and personal. Full blast! At which point you may be asking, so what? As schoolkids, especially at St Joseph’s, we were used to fanatical and rabid teachers ‘telling us how it is’.  Brother James springs to mind, right? We knew how to nod enthusiastically in the right places and let their crap go in one ear and out the other.  So what’s the big deal?

But there was a difference.  Mrs Q reinforced her message with a stylized form of physical violence. A frightening, physical element to her spiritual bullshit, which is why I hate it and I still hate her so much. It made her verbal nonsense stick to my 14-year-old brain, which would otherwise have long forgotten all about her. And it was this: ‘Mortification of the Flesh! Because the Flesh is weak and needs mortifying! Only through Suffering can we reach out to the Hand of God! And feel his Divine Goodness! Just as Michelangelo’s Adam reached out to touch the Hand of God.  Do you understand, Patrick? Do you? Do you?!’  It clearly excited her and my lack of enthusiasm seemed to send her into guru overdrive.

I’ll spare you more of her rantings.  I’m sure you get the idea.

The Catholic Church has a long and enthusiastic history of encouraging mortifying the flesh (flagellation, etc.), which continues to the present day. It’s meant to be a way of imitating Christ’s suffering, so we suffer with him. So self-harming, encouraging others to self-harm, or physically harming children ‘to show them the way’, is what we’re talking about here. I don’t share Tory MPs enjoyment for this kind of self-violence: I find it disturbing. I don’t like it, and I really don’t want to know.

Doubtless the Knights themselves were similarly inclined to mortify the flesh, but this post is about their spouses and the impact their abuse had on me. And this particular aspect of Catholic suffering always seems to have a stronger female dimension, rather than a male one.  I hope to return to the somewhat different male dimension in a further post.

So where does Chardin fit in? I assume mortifying the flesh ‘released the spirit’, allowing it to ‘rise to a higher vibration’, and ‘get in touch with the Christ consciousness’, etc. Certainly the Gnostic flagellants whipped themselves to reach a heightened state of consciousness. I don’t have the time to read Chardin, but if anyone out there has, doubtless you may know the link. It’s in his books somewhere, I assume.

Opus Dei is the most well known example of Catholic flagellants. But this celebration of self-violence is notorious in Britain, Ireland, and everywhere else, too. It’s approaching the Heart of Catholic Darkness. It’s close to the very core of their beliefs which I hope to cover in a later post . The Catholic Church has always been about celebrating suffering and it manifests itself in numerous ways. As a child, my mother told me about the wonderful pilgrims climbing Croagh Patrick mountain in their bare feet, which were cut to ribbons, and how the pain brought them closer to Jesus. They still do so to this day and their children are still allowed to make the barefoot ascent, even though the Garda seem to be discouraging both. Health and Safety protocols have not yet won the day.

Very relevant to this British and Irish aspect of Catholic self-harming is the 15th century book by Thomas a Kempis: The Imitation of Christ. Widely read by Catholics, my mother was given a paperback copy by my ‘stepfather’, that Knight of St Columba. Today, I find it almost impossible to read its dense prose, but my mother perused it avidly and her copy was well-thumbed.  Here are some relevant excerpts:

52nd Chapter. Deserving of Chastisement. ‘I deserve only to be scourged and punished because I have offended you (Christ) open and grievously. I am deserving of all scorn and contempt. ‘  Kempis goes on to say that only scourging can wash away our ‘defilement’.

Elsewhere, in Book 3:  ‘They who mortify the flesh are known to be truly wise for they are transported from vanity to truth.’

There’s lots more where that came from. Nature is seen as the number one enemy, and that’s relevant when it comes to suppressing children’s natural sexual development, as you’ll see later below.

Then there was the Oxford Movement of Anglo-Catholics, who slavishly imitated Roman Catholics and their practices. Evelyn Waugh – breaking ranks for once – warned: ‘Beware the Anglo-Catholics, they’re all Sodomites.’  Ditto Roman Catholics, Evelyn. In the Oxford Movement, led by (later) Cardinal Newman, whom my mother hugely admired, ‘it was quite common to practice self-flagellation using a “discipline”, a whip with 7 cords symbolizing the 7 deadly sins.’

That sounds very much like the multi-corded whip a St Joseph’s lay teacher was using on a school boy in the 1980s. See an earlier testimony from a survivor on this site (about 18 months ago, I think.).

So there’s a provable and commonplace British aspect to these masochistic practices, which can only be described as Anti-Human. Sexual and physical abuse of children is thus inevitable within the Catholic Church from such activities and attitudes, which are still widespread and still encouraged by its leaders. It’s emphatically not just a few weird and obscure Catholic cults who practice self violence and ‘mortify themselves’.  It’s centre stage.  What I find remarkable is that this is rarely spoken or written about, even by the Church’s many critics. Somehow we’ve been conditioned by history and heritage to see this twisted behaviour as normal or inconsequential, when it’s neither.

So it’s hiding in plain sight, as the Church so often does. Anyone self-harming  outside the Church would be seen as needing an intervention by a doctor or social worker. Hurting yourself or others, or encouraging others to harm themselves, ‘in the name of Jesus’ doesn’t make it better or make it right.  Especially if they are fourteen years old.

But Opus Dei does provide some evidence and the clearest picture of what’s actually involved. Dan Brown readers will have some idea of Opus Dei, but to briefly add to it: Opus Dei is a secretive Spanish organisation, a very rough equivalent of the Knights of St Columba. With its wealthy members, it helped to finance the Vatican, which may be one reason Pope John Paul made its fascist founder, Escriva, a saint.  Escriva is on record as saying ‘Blessed be pain.’

Mother Theresa – of whom the respected Stern Magazine asked, ‘Where are the missing millions?’ – said much the same. I think it’s important to mention Mother Theresa at this stage, and describe her relish for pain, because she was a female church leader. Many leading Catholic women think the same way. And so did the Catholic women connected with the Ipswich Province who I had the misfortune to meet.  

Mother Theresa’s whole ethos was based on the joys of pain and suffering, which these links below make clear. It’s known that although her terminally ill patients were given only the most rudimentary care, she herself had the best care money could buy. She wasn’t so keen on suffering herself, it seems.

“There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.”

Her financial crimes and involvement with fascists and fraudulent businessmen seem to have been no impediment to her being made a Catholic saint.  https://deeshaa.org/wuellenweber-where-are-her-millions/

https://newint.org/features/2014/09/01/mother-teresa-torture-kolkata

Returning to Opus Dei, it is not uniquely Spanish. Catholic Ruth Kelly, a Labour MP and one time Education Secretary, is a member of Opus Dei. She wore a self-flagellating cilice garter in 2005.

So it’s a masochistic practice that’s known to British Catholic women.

Here’s what The Independent had to say at the time:

‘This is a religious sect which recommends regular use of “the discipline” (an instrument of flagellation applied to the back or, er, the buttocks), and of the cilice, a sort of garter inset with tiny spikes that bite into the upper thigh like sharp little teeth, or thorns, and for two hours every day.’

Here are similar accounts:

‘Opus Dei embraces corporal mortification in their program of making modern-day martyrs. The use of the cilice, a barbed-wire chain worn around the groin for two hours each day and the disciplines, a flagellation device, is well-documented by former numerary (celibate) members.’  

‘Trying to emulate the founder, I found some tiny metal safety pins and pressed them into the knots of my whip in order to inflict more pain. Feeling guilty for doubting my vocation, I whipped my back with more pain as a way to punish myself.’

‘As a member of Opus Dei, I was expected to undertake a weekly discipline of private self-flagellation 40 strokes with a waxed, corded whip. We were encouraged to ‘draw a little blood’ and frequently told how ‘the Father’ the founder of the organisation drew so much blood that he spattered the walls and ceiling with it.’

Another account by a British OD member describes how she was inspired by St Theresa flagellating herself, which led to the saint having a vision of being impaled by a fiery lance and achieving an orgasm.

The various OD accounts I’ve read all seem to notably involve Catholic female flagellants enjoying masochistic practices, apart from Escriva himself who seemed to love to thrash himself. 

The questionable nature of self-harming – especially for an Education Secretary, responsible for children – doesn’t really require further comment from me. Of course the Catholic Church would probably respond, ‘Catholics only flagellate themselves as part of their own private and personal spiritual journey. They’d never do anything like that to children. They would never encourage or introduce 13-year-old boys to mortify their flesh as part of their spiritual training.’

 You think?

With the Church’s record?

I was signed up for the seminary, so they needed to initiate me into these weird practices. I was a prime target. There must have been many others, too.  Subsequently, I guess like everyone else, I’ve tried to downplay the significance of mortification of the flesh as just a typical eccentric and ‘harmless’ Catholic practice. But I can’t. Even though the media seem to think it’s all rather amusing and kinky.

I don’t. It was a perfect opportunity for warped behaviour and Mrs Q and others took it. Inviting me to ‘share Christ’s suffering’. It’s an abuse of power. It’s sadism, carefully masquerading itself as spirituality.  

Of course, they had a perfect cover story if anyone rebellious – like me – complained or reported them. As I most certainly did – at the age of 15, as I’ve previously related. 

As Catholic self-harming practices are still enthusiastically encouraged by the Church today, I stood zero chance of being believed back then. The police just didn’t want to get involved. It didn’t stop me trying, though, not least because I had a wide range of accusations against the Knights. We’re not talking about a one off incident here. I was burning up with anger. But more so because of Mrs Q’s New Age bogus rationale, rather than her actual physical abuse.

‘Perhaps you’re not ready for this great spiritual journey, Patrick’, was Mrs Q’s response.

Let’s now turn to ways the Knights and their wives, and Mrs Q in particular, affected adolescent’s physical, sexual development. 

As I’ve said, Catholics were obsessed with controlling their adolescent children’s sexuality in the 1960s. They did so as late as the mid 1980s and an incident bears relating here because it illuminates just how their minds work and how they will go to any lengths to control children.

In the 1980s, I had some dealings with a Catholic couple – a doctor and a matron. He was almost certainly a Knight. His fellow hospital doctors were known to cover up his alcoholism, possibly a side effect of his important and stressful job.  That’s typical masonic support for a fellow Knight. The couple had inspected their rebel teenage daughter’s underwear for signs of possible sexual activity. When the girl showed signs of normal teenage rebellion, they used their fellow doctor connections to have her sectioned, even though she was not mentally ill. She was in a ward in the town mental hospital and they intended to keep her there over Christmas ‘to bring her to senses’. In the ward, she met strange and distressed characters and was given drugs that she said zombified her. She was a good friend of my daughters, and my children asked me if she could stay with our family for Christmas. I contacted the hospital, who agreed, provided I obtained the parents’ consent. So I went along to see them. They told me they had been bluffing, they had intended to have their daughter back for Christmas, but I had ‘spoilt’ their plan by my interference. So, yes, she could stay with our family at Christmas, because they didn’t want her staying with them over the festive season now. She would ruin their Christmas with her bad behaviour and nasty attitude that had hurt them so very deeply. So, instead, the girl had a great Christmas with my daughters.

This incident illustrates just how far Catholics believe in power and control at all costs and how they will not be defied. In the 1960s it was worse. Back then, Catholics’ obsession with children’s sexuality was often also a cover for sexual abuse, particularly where the Ipswich Knights of St Columba were concerned.  Catholics were desperatelytrying to suppress normal adolescent behaviour, such as masturbation, which they saw as a Mortal Sin, punishable in Hell. They still do. If you’re aware of the numerous writings of Kellogg, the famous Cornflakes inventor, you’ll know he endlessly ranted about the evils and dangers of masturbation that he warned would lead to ruin and death. It’s the sickest stuff I’ve ever read and was designed to terrify the reader. Catholics thought on exactly the same lines. I would refer you to my previous post on the Knight of St Columba, Father Jolly, and his tape-recording of boys’ ‘impure thoughts and deeds’ when they confessed their sins in his confessional.

So ‘self-abuse,’ flagellating and otherwise mortifying the flesh, is good, but ‘self-abuse’, masturbation, is evil.  Even though, for some, the end result of orgasm is the same. But as long as they claim they are groans of pain and not ecstasy, it’s okay, it seems.

Next, consider the American Catholic League of Decency. In the 1960s, they were outraged by the TV series Batman and Robin because of the bulge in Robin’s trunks. They complained to the studio which, in response, made Burt Ward (Robin) take penis-shrinking pills.

‘I took them for three days and then I decided that they can probably keep me from having children. I stopped doing that and I just used my cape to cover it.’

In a similar way, St Joseph’s school chaplain Father Jolly, who also supplied my mother with questionable tranquilizers, supplied me with bromide pills to ensure ‘my body remained a temple to the Holy Ghost’. I spat them out. Apart from the priest’s other activities, this Knight of St Columba was a Catholic ‘Candy Man’, helping his parishioners to self-medicate, and seeing that as part of his pastoral duties. Witnessing the negative effect those drugs had on my mother made me very angry as a boy – an anger that’s still there to this day.

Against this background, I don’t think it’s necessary to spell out all the various bizarre ways that Mrs Q and the other women attempted to control boys sexuality ‘for their own good’ and how they would use typical abuser’s excuses, ‘I’m doing this for health and hygiene reasons.’… ‘It’s all right if a responsible adult does it for you.’…  ‘It will take away your temptation’. Without getting too graphic, it did actually work. It put me off for a couple of years and left a permanent psychological mark. So much so that when I was sixteen, teenage girls I’d be heavy petting with would comment on my failure to ejaculate. Disappointed and puzzled, they would tell me that I was  different to other teenage boys who lacked my ‘control’ and they could easily turn on like a tap.  They’d wonder what they were doing wrong or if I wasn’t attracted to them. This wasn’t especially embarrassing to me. In fact, my teenage male friends and I would discuss the mystery openly and wonder why, too. Nevertheless the Catholic women had done a good job on me.  And I would also wonder anxiously if maybe there was something wrong with me; so I was enormously relieved when I later found out this was not the case. But paradoxically – as you might imagine – it encouraged me to go ‘all the way’, in search of sexual satisfaction. So it actually accelerated and fast-tracked my teenage sexual evolution.

This, of course, was the very thing those wives of the Knights of St Columba would have particularly disapproved of.  Probably that was another reason why I was so keen to get laid as often as possible– to get even with them. Especially because they claimed sex was not something men or women should take any pleasure in, but simply be tolerated for the purpose of  producing children, and then only within the confines of matrimony. It’s pretty much the same today.

I don’t recall all the excuses and ploys they used at these weekend retreats, only their intrusive actions, but I’m sure you can join the dots. These wretched Catholic women were definitely privately getting off on their ‘holy work’  – otherwise why on Earth would you do it? – and, once again, they had a cover story for their abuse. They were doing ‘Holy work’.

I’m sure these activities were not unique to Ipswich Province. Rather, they were widespread Catholic practices and thinking. ( Similarly, I believe the nuns had some ingenious way of sexually repressing  girls, too, from what an ex-Convent girl told me. She related with a sad sigh that ‘The nuns did a good job on me.’)

Finally, there’s direct sexual assault by Mrs Q, which seemed to lack the usual cover story. Maybe she couldn’t be bothered. Once again, I don’t think it’s necessary to go into details. My hair was bright ginger at that time and I was known generally as Ginger or Ginge. Afterwards, with a happy smile, Mrs Q referred to me as ‘my Ginger Tom’.  Hardly a spiritual way of addressing a wannabe priest. So I flew into a furious rage at the idea I was being used as some kind of junior Midnight Cowboy. This was probably a mistake because she was a scary individual. So when I later blew the whistle on the Knights, her reaction was not as circuitous as the men. They had warned me to keep my mouth shut or I would rue the day I was born. She was rather more direct.  ‘If you don’t shut up, we will kill you. You will die.’

If you’re wondering how I survived all this sick nonsense, I can tell you. It was partly down to a song that encapsulated my feelings and gave me courage. I suspect many other Catholic survivors from that era drew on the same song, because it’s an anthem against everything the Catholic Church stands for.

It was Lesley Gore’s legendary ‘You don’t own me’ which was a huge hit around the time I was 14. It had a tremendous impact on me and probably helped keep me sane. It’s a brilliant, early feminist anthem and it reached out to boys, too.

‘You don’t own me’ is surely the most powerful response to abusers. We are not your property. Because – as I’ve demonstrated clearly – Catholics thought children were their property.

That’s very different to loving, protecting and being responsible for children. As I’ve demonstrated, Catholics have knowingly and rather cleverly twisted that legitimate role into something dark, frightening and perverted that must have damaged so many children.

Catholics will recognize another word for what they have done. It’s called Evil.

Here’s my adaption of some of the lyrics that I would sing in my head when I was up against these middle-class, Catholic paedophiles, these esteemed, ‘highly respected’ pillars of the Ipswich Catholic community. I would change ‘own’ to ‘know’ – because my strongest sense of outrage was that outsiders, like Mrs Q, were interfering and controlling my life. A sense of outrage that’s never left me. Those are the kind of psychological scars that abuse leaves behind.

‘You don’t know me.  I’m not just one of your many toys. You don’t know me. And don’t tell me what to do and don’t tell me what to say. Don’t tell me what to think. Don’t tell me what to believe. Don’t try to change me in any way. Just let me be myself, that’s all I ask of you. I’m young and I love to be young. I’m free and I’m going to be free (one day), To live my life the way I want; to say and do whatever I please.’

That song of Resistance kept me going through some dark days.

But all that anger for the Greatest Betrayal needs to go back to where it belongs – to the whole sick and corrupt set-up of Catholic Knights, their wives and their close connection to my school, St Joseph’s. So here we go:

‘Here – this is your shit. It belongs to you. You deal with it. You have it back.’

Once again, I expect the usual silence from the relevant Catholic communities. To which I would respond: If you are not part of the solution, part of the necessary acknowledgement of Catholic crimes, then it means you are part of the problem.

You are part of the cover-up.