ST PANCRAS CHURCH, IPSWICH, REMEMBERED

I have many happy memories of Saint Pancras (the patron saint of children). It was my local church until I was ten (1959) when we moved to Chantry Estate and Saint Marks.

I was an altar boy, a proud member of the Guild of St Stephen and was thrilled  when my red lanyard was replaced with a black one. And my red cassock replaced with a black cassock. Even if older altar boys called themselves ‘The Rhubarb Club’ (after the Goon Show), I had no such cynicism, nothing could match the excitement of carrying a lit torch or the incense ‘boat’ or swinging the thurifer.

The old Georgian presbytery next to the church was a most enthralling building. In the cellars it had a smuggler’s tunnel leading to the nearby River Orwell. The first tunnel section could still be explored, but then it was blocked off, to my great disappointment. It was such a shame the presbytery was knocked down and replaced with a faux Georgian building.

The priests Canon Burrows and his curate Father Wace were very warm and friendly. Canon Burrows was always round our house in Stoke, dressed in his boiler suit, doing handyman jobs for my mother.  Father Wace presented me with a copy of ‘A Little Hero’ by Mrs Musgrave which had a cover of a boy wearing a school uniform remarkably like a St Joseph’s College blazer. He told me I would go there one day and he was right.

Father Wace was the Akela in charge of the cubs and I was always baffled why I was a cub for just one week. Then I stopped going and no-one would talk about the reason why. It seemed to be because I had told a friend of my mother’s about ‘something that happened at cubs’ and this friend had stern words with Father Wace.

The Catholic laity – the Legion of Mary; the Knights of St Columba and the Catholic Women’s League – were also an important part of my life. My mother was a vulnerable, devout Irish Catholic widow and these organisations did their best to help her. They introduced her to another Catholic widow, Mrs Czech, and her two daughters and we went on a pilgrimage to Walsingham together.

But writing about the laity at St Pancras is still difficult for me and this short article below by Doctor Philippa Martyr for The Catholic Weekly explains the reason why.

Doctor Martyr concludes:

‘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.’

But before coming back to the laity, I have to say there was also another side to both Canon Burrows and Father Wace which was a real shock to me when the memories came flooding back to me in mid-life.

THE PRIESTS

My mother worked as a housekeeper at St Pancras presbytery. Her vulnerability meant her children were prime targets for clerical abusers.  

Canon Burrows – a listed Knight of St Columba – was a sexual abuser. It took a lot of therapy for me to get my recollections of his behaviour out of my system. His particular technique was magic and conjuring tricks. ‘Now you see it, now you don’t.’ At age six, I wanted to be a magician like the Canon and spent all my pocket money on jokes.

Father Wace is not listed as a Knight, but, given his wealthy background, it seems likely he, too, was a member.

He also was a sexual abuser. My mother smiled at my thrilled expression when I saw Wace’s pyjamas casually thrown across his bed. Because his pyjama jacket was weighed down with maybe twenty fantastic metal collectors’ badges – which would make it impossible for him to sleep in. But they were really cool badges that any eight-year-old boy would do anything for.

And did.

MALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

I’ve previously covered the Knights of St Columba on this site. There are statements from myself and other survivors  that prove there was a ring of sexual abusers in the Ipswich Knights.

The Knights were also the Eminence Gris for the Church, which meant they controlled my school fees and they exacted a price in return. The similar Knights of Columbus describe themselves as ‘The strong right arm of the Catholic Church.’

The only thing relevant here is their use of psycho-coercive ‘double bind’ techniques. These are recorded in their theatrical ceremonies which I have previously featured on this site. Such ceremonies stopped – supposedly – in the late 60’s. Too late for me, unfortunately.

 It’s relevant because female laity abusers used similar ‘double binds’.

double bind is a dilemma in communication in which an individual receives two or more reciprocally conflicting messages. It’s a mind-twister and shows a deep knowledge of psychology and how to manipulate people.

Especially children.

When – or if – the Knights stopped abusing children I have no way of knowing and no one today cares. Catholic Safeguarding ignored a recent newspaper report of a Knight of St. Columba sentenced to a long prison sentence for child abuse. The Knight was provably not given a police check, which would have shown he had a previous conviction for child abuse.

FEMALE CATHOLIC LAITY AT ST PANCRAS

When I looked at all my bills for therapy, I was startled to see that a good 50% of my recent therapy – over the last three years – related to female Catholic laity at St Pancras.

And that it took emotional priority over male clerical abuse. You might conclude it’s because female abuse is a far greater betrayal to a child, but, actually, I think it’s because of the bizarre but very effective nature of the abuse.

I believe the women were members of the Catholic Women’s League: the female equivalent of the Knights of St Columba, and it’s acknowledged they work closely together to this day.

The CWL doesn’t list deceased members, but I’ll happily supply the five names of the female parishioners concerned for the CWL to check against their records. I would, of course, also need sight of those records. I’d say ‘Deceased Ipswich members 1956 through to the millennium.’

If I’m wrong, I will write a retraction.

If I’m correct, their names will be listed here as child abusers, alongside Burrows and Wace.

Some may have also been members of the Legion of Mary at St Pancras. My eight-year-old self didn’t fully understand the difference between the two organisations.

But I have focused on the CWL because the five women concerned were all middle-class high achievers, which seems to be the hallmark of this organisation. Two of them were spinsters. There is also the CWL’s close connection to the Knights who were provably abusers. But principally because one of the key female abusers was a close friend of the famous Barbara Ward, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth – Wikipedia.

Barbara Ward went to St Mary’s Convent Grammar school in Ipswich (I went to the adjacent St Mary’s primary school). She then went on to be President of the Catholic Women’s League in the 1940s and introduced my abuser to her husband who was almost certainly a Knight. This was long before my time. And I’ve absolutely no reason to think Ward was an abuser. 

But Ward shows just how intellectual, well-connected and powerful the Catholic Women’s League were when I had the misfortune to come across some of their members, including her close friend.

Exactly like the powerful Catholic laity described in the link above.

Although their abuse was as perverted as any abuse, it had a certain ‘logic’, which perhaps helped them with their justification for their obscene gratification.

I won’t go into graphic details here, but it was a physical form of aversion therapy (not like today’s conversion therapy as fair as I know), an attempt to thwart puberty using psycho-coercive double binds.

It would have had different names in the past, but various forms of aversion therapy – some quite barbaric – were commonplace from Victorian times through to the 1950s. It was still very scary.

Why did they do it?

Because of the abuse I suffered at the hands of Burrows and Wace, I was definitely ‘acting out’ as so many children do.  For instance, I recall drawing and talking openly about what the priests did to me. So it may have been an attempt to physically put a stop to a child’s ‘play’.

But it actually feels rather more ambitious and organised. There were several of them involved, for instance. Even though I was earmarked for the priesthood from an early age (I was signed up for the seminary at age thirteen) I don’t believe that fully explains their behaviour.

It was certainly a ‘procedure’ they were used to.

However, it’s not my responsibility to understand their sick mindset. Or explain how it all worked in detail. I bear the psychological scars and that’s enough.

If your cognitive dissonance is kicking in at this point, and you find it hard to believe that respectable, middle-class Catholic women could behave in such a manner, let me tell you that in the same decade, a number of Dutch boys were castrated on the orders of the Catholic Church because they had shown gay tendencies. In the 1970s, on the orders of his British Catholic school, a young teenager was given hospital electric-shock treatment to similarly erase his gay character. There are other examples.

Aversion therapy seems designed to suppress, reduce or redirect a child’s sexuality. In practical terms, it limits your power over your own body. Instead, these women had control over my body. I’m pretty certain they saw their abuse as ‘holy work’. I’d love to tell you they failed miserably, but, annoyingly, its effects actually lasted until I was aged sixteen.

These fanatical women knew what they were doing.

If you’re a Catholic Safeguarder, or a member of the priesthood, the Knights or the CWL, you may well be thinking, with some relief, as you read this, ‘Ah. But it’s impossible for him to prove.’

Well, it’s true it’s hard to prove. Most survivors must have either accepted their programming, maybe they even thought it was good for them, or are too embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it.   

I’m not.

The best proof I have is the fortune I spent on recent weekly therapy, over the last three years, deprogramming the abusive program these women had instilled into my psyche.

And also the evidence of my therapist who has previously given evidence to the Ipswich police. This resulted in an abusive Ipswich Catholic teacher recently being arrested.

So I wouldn’t be too relieved if I were you.

Needless to say, I would be delighted if the CWL decide to challenge my account.

I know Catholics practice secrecy from the Pope downwards, but this really needs to be brought out into the open.

SAFEGUARDING

You might suggest that Catholic Safeguarding could help me with this matter.

Not a chance, I’m afraid, so I should explain why.

You may believe Catholic Safeguarding are there to help past survivors and investigate past clerical and laity abuse

They’re not.

Catholic Safeguarding is actually in a terrible state today, the worst it’s ever been. And, in case you think that’s just my negative opinion, there is already media concern and research on this aspect.

Furthermore.

The CEO of the CSSA (Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency) admitted the following to me:

‘IICSA was obviously put in place with the intention of dealing with this but quite honestly I think they were overwhelmed and in the end they presented their final report and it is difficult to know what it all achieved.’

All IICSA’S recommendations (The Elliott report etc) have been ignored by the Church, even though the Bishops claimed otherwise.

As the Daily Telegraph reported: ‘Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse had previously concluded Cardinal Nichols was more concerned with protecting Church’s reputation.’

Today, the CSSA only deals with current issues up to two years old.

‘This of course leaves those that have been subject of abuse over two years ago have very little redress.’

The CEO confirmed my own experience that the police (Operation Hydrant) will only deal with cases where the abusers are still alive.

And:

‘Our remit does not include an investigative branch. The process is that the diocese or religious life group (through the Religious Life Safeguarding Service (RLSS) investigate concerns when raised.’

So where St Pancras is concerned this means that the diocese will investigate.

I’ve been here before during Eileen Shearer’s COPCA era when I first raised Canon Burrows with the diocese. I learnt that Catholic Safeguarding diocese members are unpaid, they do nothing (e.g. they didn’t even look up records) they simply dump complaints onto the police, who can do nothing (see above). The diocese Safeguarders know this and – under the  convenient excuse of ‘we have a mandatory reporting duty’ – they are wilfully and knowingly wasting valuable police time.

The diocese Safeguarding officer also reassured me personally everything would be ‘so much better’ with Shearer’s recent appointment because she was a protestant. So nothing would be covered up anymore.

I was briefly impressed.

Shearer resigned shortly afterwards.

But it’s worse. The investigating officer is from the diocese where the crime took place, so he or she is still part of that Catholic community: they will certainly know the organisations concerned at the very least, they may even be members of it, and they are thus not independent.

This has put off many survivors from reporting abuse and that’s no accident. It’s exactly what the Church intended.

Returning to the laity.

The CEO of the CSSA said to me:

‘I agree with you over this issue around abuse by the laity does seem to be largely ignored and certainly has given me some pause for thought.’

Most of my claims against the Catholic laity can be deemed historic (over two years old) and therefore will be ignored, which is, of course, outrageous as we survivors have to live our entire lives with the results of their crimes committed against us in childhood. But two cases are actually current and one relates to the East Anglian diocese. The other to an adjoining diocese.

In both cases there was a lack of police checks and thus vulnerable people and children may be in danger.

Today.

There was no response from the CSSA and Police Operation Hydrant when I raised this with them both.

THE LIKELY RESPONSE FROM ST PANCRAS, THE CWL AND THE KNIGHTS OF ST COLUMBA

From past experience with the Knights and the evidence presented about them on this site, I fully expect the parish priest of St Pancras today, the Catholic Women’s League and the Knights of St Columba to do nothing.

They don’t seem to see it as their duty to children past and present to look into this most serious matter.

They will prefer to keep their heads down and hope it will all go away.

Or at best, to write back to me with some dismissive hand-wringing, ‘We’re sorry what happened to you, but there’s nothing we can do. We have no records and thus no way of looking at your allegations.’

But in 2023 silence – or such a dismissive lack of interest – is not a good look.

Even if the Catholic insurance company has advised or even ordered them, ‘Say nothing. Admit nothing.’  

(It’s sad when a Christian religion is controlled by an insurance company.)

Today, not responding to hard evidence of abuse means only one thing.

Collusion.

If you have been made aware of crimes past and current, and you choose to respond with silence or in some Pontius Pilate manner, it means you are colluding with the original child abusers to keep these crimes hidden from public view.

SO WHAT CAN BE DONE?

If you’re a Survivor you might feel nothing can be done. That – post IICSA – the Church has managed, with its own admitted poor Safeguarding (see above) to still successfully silence its critics. 

That’s not the case.

‘Naming and Shaming’ abusers at my Catholic school on this site has worked very well in the past and has led to positive results which I’ve described in previous posts. With both local media (EADT) and national media (Sunday Times and the Tablet) covering and investigating the accounts I have brought to light.

It’s only now that I’ve been able to focus on the parish I grew up in, and the clerical and laity abusers, male and female, who harmed me as a child.

So I would hope for similar results here. I’m sure it will be of equal interest to the media.

Particularly local media.

And if you are a survivor of abuse by any of these people I’ve described here, and would like to share your experience, please get in touch. As always, your anonymity is guaranteed.

However, if you are a member of the congregation at St Pancras and are rightly shocked by what you have read, I would appeal to you to raise some or all of these issues with your parish priest.

It is clearly his personal duty to act.

Diocesan Safeguarding is not an alternative. It is provably flawed for the reasons I’ve given and I strongly believe is deliberately designed to waste everyone’s time.

Even if you discount some of the allegations I’ve made, there is still a great deal left that should be looked at, discussed, and which you would hope would be of great concern to your parish priest.

Based on the past, I fear your parish priest will not take responsibility, but I would love to be proved wrong.

Furthermore, my experience is that – even today, despite the Church being called out for its crimes at IICSA – Catholic congregations will not respond to allegations of child abuse within the Church. They will look the other way at clerical and laity crimes.

This is because of the Oath of Allegiance they took and similar ties that bind.

However, I would hope that there are some exceptions who are not sheep and have the courage to challenge their shepherds.

In any event, at some point in the near future, there will be further investigations into the Catholic Church and this post and others will be useful in providing evidence.

Meantime, no one in the parish of St. Pancras can now say ‘We didn’t know. We had absolutely no idea these terrible things went on.’

You’ve been told.

And anyone curiously searching the web for nostalgic memories of St Pancras will come across this post.

They will be appalled to see the Church’s dark history in which the crimes of priests such as Canon Burrows and Father Wace and Ipswich female and male Catholic laity are laid bare for all to read.   

That is the legacy of shame for all the world to now see that St Pancras, its current parish priest, as the representative of the Church, the CWL and the Knights of St Columba will have to live with from now on.

Unless they choose to take a path of light and look at the truth.

Otherwise, it’s a dark cross all of them rightly have to bear.

BROTHER LAURENCE HUGHES – THE MISSING APOLOGY

THE DE LA SALLES – THE MISSING INVESTIGATION

As you may have seen on my previous blog, the RLSS  – Religious Life Safeguarding Service –  have successfully arranged for DBS police checks on Cistercian monks on Caldey Island.  

So it’s a great step forward for Caldey Island Survivors and the RLSS are to be congratulated for their supportive work.

It suggests that, despite, IMO, the questionable nature of all Safeguarding organizations as ‘fronts’ to protect religious orders and priests, that individuals can still work within the system and create real change.  Even though independent agencies are the real answer.

But this still leaves the serious matter of the De La Salles and the RLSS long outstanding.

Currently there is a missing apology and a missing investigation.

Both are of considerable current importance to survivors of the De La Salles.

 I’ve got a little tired recently of reading in posts here how wonderful the DLS  were with barely a grudging nod to survivors, and often with the qualification, ‘But I never saw the brothers do anything wrong myself.’

Well, of course you didn’t because you weren’t at risk!  

It’s like we survivors are necessary collateral damage to fulfill the perverted desires of the De La Salles, while you high achievers got on with your splendid careers, thanks to these wonderful and ‘holy’ brothers you admire so much.

Such high achievers should reflect that, in my era, at least 10%  of every class were physically and sexually abused by the DLS. (I can break that down for skeptics.) That makes the DLS a criminal organization and it’s impossible to identify, with any certainty, who was good and who was evil. Only the blatant ones, a very few of whom were caught. Please reflect on that before you continue to sing the praises of a questionable organization that is still operating today and still has its hand out for more funding to continue its ‘holy work’ in the Global South.

So onto the missing apology and investigation.

I’ve been holding off for some time on both the foregoing, not least because the SCOE, the Safeguarding organization for religious orders of which the De La Salles was a client, was disbanded earlier last year and replaced by the RLSS, a new safeguarding organization.

Before it disappeared, the SCOE didn’t pass any information about these two matters above onto the RLSS.

But of course the SCOE was directed by the DLS who could have easily updated the RLSS.

In both instances, the Safeguarding organizations are limited by their client, the DLS, who actually have the real power as the RLSS have indicated to me.

To reprise, when it existed, the SCOE/DLS assured me there would be a public apology for the horrific corporal punishments delivered by Brother Laurence Hughes previously head of the DLS. He has been ‘reduced to the ranks’ following an investigation which is now complete without criminal charges being made.

I’ve been told that it’s almost impossible to bring criminal charges for physical abuse after such a long time period.

The important issue of how Laurence Hughes dismissed abuse complaints while he was head of the DLS has never been addressed.

Given that he has been reduced to the ranks, it should be.  It means that those complaining of child abuse received a hearing from a man who committed savage physical abuse on children.

Here’s what the SCOE actually said to me on 15th July last year.

I have been waiting for confirmation on the outcome to the investigation
following receipt of allegations made against Bro Laurence Hughes (LH).

De La Salle (DLS) in the near future will be making a statement about of the
outcome of the investigation and I understand this statement will contain an
apology to victims and will be published. I will ask DLS to make the
statement easily accessible, through their website or to others if/as
requested (* see note below).

I understand that LH no longer holds any leadership or safeguarding role
within DLS.

AFAIK the DLS did not make a statement in the ‘near future’ as promised.

It was also stated, as you can see, that it would be a prominent apology, rather than the earlier example of a DLS apology on a separate and general matter. That was a vague and general apology to all survivors of DLS abuse. Such a cursory ‘sorry’ was buried on the DLS website only after I’d shown the announced apology was actually missing.   Even the Tablet had to acknowledge this was untoward.

And the DLS also said in a newspaper interview last year that there would be a thorough investigation of all the allegations about the DLS in Ipswich and elsewhere in the South of England which it suggested were ‘unheard of’.

As I’ve told the RLSS the cases against Brothers James, Kevin and Solomon in particular are overwhelming and need public acknowledgement by the De La Salles.  They also involve the Catholic laity who helped cover up the crimes of James and Solomon.

Since then, there has been nothing about this ‘investigation’ which I do not believe even exists.

There have been meetings between the RLSS and DLS with no outcome and emails from the RLSS assuring me of their best and genuine intentions.

Because they are a new organization I believed I should give them the benefit of the doubt and also in the interests of due diligence.

So – after an extended delay on the apology and the investigation – we are no further forward.

The DLS have done an excellent job of stalling for most of last year and their RLSS has played a role in this. 

The DLS – according to the RLSS – have not been very communicative with them either. Whilst I have some sympathy with them and the frustration they must feel, my priority is we survivors who have been harmed by the DLS.

The comments below relating to the CSSA (the ‘general’ Catholic Safeguarding agency) apply equally to the RLSS.

I think both commentators on twitter put it very well.

Reference Group 

@Smartcairns11·

Nov 11

Every ‘respectable’ persons engaged as the face of ‪#CSSA‬ must be responsible for their use by church leaders as a ‘smokescreen’ of safeguarding to disguise, facilitate false trust &  add more layers to leaderships cover up and concealment of clerical sex crimes.

‪@nazirafzal‬ ‪https://twitter.com/Smartcairns11/status/1590654903328051200…‬

Countess Sigrid von Galen

@instcrimjust

Nov 10

Those ‘respectable’ persons are dangerous accomplices, as they create a smokescreen & illusion of safeguarding to disguise & facilitate cover ups & ongoing crimes. All inquiries have shown that the churches can’t be trusted & safeguards are PR stunts. ‪https://twitter.com/Smartcairns11/status/1590654903328051200‬

Despite the positive result at Caldey Island, after my personal experience with the SCOE, the RLSS and the DLS, I see nothing to disagree with here, not least because Safeguarding organizations have very limited power.

Of course the real culprits are the De La Salles who would seem to be more formidable opponents than the Cistercians and who are treating survivors with absolute contempt.

Not the behaviour of supposed ‘holy’ men.

MIKE KEARNEY (1): RECOVERING MEMORIES

I’ve been prompted to write again about Mike Kearney, the lay Irish chemistry teacher at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich. For anyone not familiar with this man, he taught from the late 1950s to the 1980s. There’s plenty of accounts of his brutality on this blog, seen by apologists as ‘normal’ for the time, and one account by an Old Boy of his racism. Whether this is connected to Kearney having spent some time in apartheid South Africa, I have no way of knowing.  It has been challenged by a white Old Boy as ‘not true’. Several Old Boys also thought he was a poor chemistry teacher. Personally, I thought he was ‘okay’, but then I was a poor chemistry pupil. I think Old Boys generally are divided between seeing him as ‘stern but fair’, ‘his bark worse than his bite’ and others regarding him as a violent, cruel sadist. Given that he punched a boy in the face and had to apologise to him, I subscribe to the latter camp.

i don’t accept these were ‘different times’. Punching a child in the face, then and now, is a criminal offence.

St Joseph’s today, although it claims to have no connection with its dubious and  criminal De La Salle past, where organised sexual abuse in the 1960s and beyond is now a matter of record, had a Mike Kearney Memorial Chemistry prize. I think this has now been withdrawn, I certainly hope so because this individual does not deserve to be remembered in a positive light.

But my concern has always been about a much darker side to him which resulted in my spending considerable time and money in therapy trying to make sense of really terrible memories about him. The more I looked into them, the worse they got.  Daymares, nightmares, PTSD flashbacks, you name it. I tried blocking my memories of him, but it  didn’t work.  My experience of recovered memories was similar to the account below.

Where other St Joseph’s abusers are concerned, I’ve pretty much laid them to rest. Although, I’m touching wood here, of course.  Kearney was more problematic and there’s a reason for this. The awful events concerning him happened outside the school, so there were not the usual witnesses to validate my recovered memories.

 Nearly all survivors who write into this site are boarders and I used to thank my lucky stars I was a day boy.  In fact, it’s an illusion I used in order to survive. Day boys could also be in danger and I’m sure I wasn’t alone.  My mother was a devout, Irish Catholic widow with no income, no job and recurring mental health problems, probably worsened by medication both legal and illegal. Father Jolly, our parish priest and St Jo’s chaplain, whose crimes have been detailed on this blog by at least one other Old Boy, was a drug supplier which may sound unlikely but I can assure you is true. He was not the only one. Leaving aside for now the question of how my mother could afford to send her two sons to a posh Catholic grammar school (neither of us had passed the eleven-plus), it meant we were a prime target for Catholic predators.

These predators, from my primary school days through to secondary school, were sometimes given the right to act  ‘in loco parentis’. It was felt boys needed ‘a strong fatherly hand’, especially in 1950s Britain and –if they had been genuine – I would possibly agree.  It’s also the supposed norm in Catholic communities that the poor and the widowed are supported and so a series of predators used this to their advantage. In our tightly knit Catholic community, Catholic widows were also considered ‘fair game’ and a better alternative to having affairs with Protestants or not ‘sullying’ unmarried Catholic women. I’m pretty certain it also had some pseudo-religious rationalisation.   

I’ve been able to prove the conduct of a number of these predators to my satisfaction: Canon Burrows (Knight of St Columba), Father Wace (probably KOSC), Father Jolly (KOSC, St Joseph’s chaplain and our local parish priest), two or more lay Knights of St Columba, and… a couple of lay teachers from St Joseph’s. That sounds like an awful lot, but we’re talking over a fifteen year childhood and some of these characters may have only had brief involvement as ‘do-gooders’ or rather ‘do-badders’.

Kearney had such a ‘loco parentis’ role.

The predators’ exact terms of reference and their relationships with my mother must have varied considerably.  Some may have been interested in my mother, others her sons, yet others in both. Certainly widows – then and now – are prime targets for predators and it’s a well-known technique for abusers to relate romantically towards the mother in order to get at the kids.  Canon Burrows, the first, typically always around our house doing ‘little jobs’ and mysteriously paying for school extras,  was a truly vile sexual abuser. So were most of the other ‘father figures’ that  I’ve listed that followed him, although not necessarily all. Some may well have just been interested in my mother and not her children.  It’s not easy to be sure every time. In some cases I’ve had to speculate about the real nature of the relationships and, of course, it’s impossible to know with absolute certainty. Much of the time everyone was very ‘discreet’.

The dynamics of just how Catholic predators exploit Catholic widows like my mother and the way she would have been groomed to fulfil a certain role in her Catholic community, I would only have been dimly aware of as a kid.  It’s a role Catholics will, of course, deny then and now.  Like they’ve denied so much abuse that’s subsequently been proven.

Here’s a brief example. She was ‘put in charge’ of a young French Father Gonnet who, mysteriously, was having an extended ‘holiday’ in our industrial town. She was told to ‘look after him’, so he was always round our house having tea when I came home from school. They got on extremely well and he was always making a fuss of me, too. We would also go on picnics to Stratford St Mary, a couple of miles down the road from East Bergholt where Gonnet was staying with the local Franciscans . Their place was a very convenient location for him to abuse.  Gonnet and these far from holy Franciscans left a deep trauma scar on me, which I still resent, because my abiding recollection of this particular predator is ‘The bastard was only staying in Ipswich for a few weeks.’  A few weeks is all it takes.

 I knew my mother had a kind of exalted status in the parish and this was certainly her own perception of herself, but I knew also there was something ‘not right’, something ‘odd’, ‘evasive’ and ‘mysterious’ about her. Trying to make sense of her behaviour, her constant absences for instance, I was a latch-key kid yet she had no job, I read everything I could about fictional women like her and that helped considerably. As an adult, I can  fill in the blanks from my life experience and examples such as Gonnet. Doubtless you can do the same. I’ve had to outline the role of my mother because it’s most relevant to Kearney as he, too, had this loco parentis role which will be more defined in later posts.

Kearney was a particular threat because I was older when we clashed and starting to make sense of the world.  And, unlike the previous men, he didn’t have a  typical ‘cover story’ for his involvement with my mother AFAIK,  e.g. he wasn’t in the church choir. In fact his cover story was to go boot camp on me, to ‘bring me to my senses’, to stop being a rebellious teenager. But there was much more to him than this.

As you can imagine, in such a world, everything is ‘smoke and mirrors’, everything is deliberately mysterious, vague and hard to pin down in order to keep victims off balance.  

My agenda in writing about Kearney is firstly as a catharsis. Secondly, because it may help other survivors dealing with recovered memories and highlight how predators work. Thirdly, it’s to name and shame him.

Finally, because it may resonate with other Old Boys who may have other information about Kearney that dovetails with my account, although – as I’ve said – because this happened outside the school, it’s far less likely. But do get in touch if you can shed any light.

And this account, of course, bears out that I have no financial agenda. The De La Salles can’t be held responsible for or be financially liable for what this creep got up to outside school hours.  And so it adds to the validity of my case. Why would I spend so much time and energy on Kearney, when I have far better things to do with my life?

I’ll write more about Kearney in subsequent blogs.

This woman’s experience below of recovered memories (she’s not a Catholic AFAIK) pretty much dovetails with mine and I’m sure with many survivors of the De La Salles.

I realise all this may be upsetting or triggering to read for some, so I’d like to end with a cheerful anecdote to show how, despite everything, we survivors can beat these scum.

I was sixteen. I would leave home a few months later and Kearney’s connection with my family was over, as short-lived as all the previous predators.  My brother and I were drinking beer in a pub by the Old Cattle Market –I think it was the Plough.  I was excitedly talking to my brother about a gig we were going to at the Assembly Rooms next door. I believe it was Murray and the Mints,  they were St Jo’s boys who had a real ‘Animals’ sound, mouth organ etc, and I’m a huge fan of the Animals. ‘We’ve got to get out of the place’ wasn’t just an anthem for Vietnam soldiers, it was my anthem to escape the Catholic Church.

Then Kearney came in, ordered a pint and sat at a table on his own. We both recognised each other but said nothing.  There’s a look lonely men who drink alone in pubs have, which we all recognise, and Kearney had that look big-time. His shoulders were rounded, drooping with depression, as he stared down into his pint. I think his first-wife had died some years earlier, but that was something I’d been told on the playground grapevine, so I may well be wrong.  Whatever the reason, he was definitely down in the dumps.

Then he looked across and I could see he was weighing up whether or how to rain on my parade. As he had done until recently. In those days, there was no ID and anyway, like any self-respecting 16 year old, I’d have lied. And bar tenders don’t care. So he knew his options were limited.

I knew he was going to do something, because he always had to win, but I was ready for him. I’d taken more than enough shit from him and I was a very feisty teenager.

He finished his pint and came over. He looked sternly down at me, hoping to intimidate me.

‘Does your mother know you’re here?’

‘Yes,’ I lied defiantly, ready for him to use physical force on me.  Again.

The expression on my face was clearly saying, to paraphrase the Animals, “It’s my life and I‘ll do what I want. Drink what I want. I’ve left school, you’ve got no power over me anymore.’

There was an awkward pause. Then Kearney nodded, defeated, impotent to do anything other than show his disapproval. He stumbled off into the night. A sad, lonely loser.

That was the last time I ever saw Kearney and I can still remember the feeling of exhilaration that I’d defeated him.

Then I got back to talking about much more important matters than this odious prat – like that forthcoming gig watching Murray and the Mints.

I was finally free.

Below is a survivor’s account on Instagram which I found incredibly useful and sums up how recovered memories work.

GUEST BLOG   CALDEY ISLAND – CISTERCIAN MONKS

I was talking to fellow survivor Kevin O’Connell yesterday about Caldey Island  and abuse by the Cistercian monks which he outlines in his guest blog, SEE BELOW.

Poor and deprived Catholic children – many from the Birmingham diocese – were sent on holiday to Caldey Island where the monks were waiting for them… It’s a familiar story.

Kevin is a vigorous campaigner, with plans to go to Rome in pursuit of his cause. His story has been covered on BBC Wales https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-59479131, but needs wider coverage.

Apart from Caldey Island, Kevin has also related the Catholic trafficking of  children in Southern England.

His story is relevant to this site because, alongside the story of systemic De La Salle abuse at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, and that of Stephen Smith  (‘The Boy in the Cellar’ book where Stephen recounts St William’s organized De La Salle abuse), it means there are now THREE proven examples of organized, systemic Catholic abuse in the UK.

Organised abuse – Catholic paedophile rings –  in the laity, the Knights of St Columba, and amongst cleric and religious orders like the De La Salles and the Cistercians – has yet to be acknowledged by the Church.

Officially it never happened and all concerned have shown no interest in following up proven cases.

So it’s fallen to survivors to present the evidence that organized abuse was endemic in Catholic society and may still be. These crimes don’t go away in one or two generations – much as they’d like us to believe it.

Three examples should be more than enough. Possibly we will have to wait until there are six or more examples before the Church will admit it contained and maybe still contains organized paedophile rings.

It may take a public enquiry, as Kevin suggests, or some other independent means to expose the truth.  Certainly it won’t come from Catholic organizations themselves.

The slowness and indifference of the De La Salles and the Knights of St Columba in dealing with these crimes is certainly noted.

They clearly don’t care if children may still be at risk.

Let’s hope the Cistercians are different.

On 21 Jun 2022, at 19:46, KEVIN O’CONNELL <kevinoconnellandco@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hi.

Thanks for your interest in our campaign Caldey Island survivors.

I suffered 50 years because of the horrible abuse from monks and priests.

I came out about it in late 2018 and since then with the help of Dinah Mulholland and others have campaigned for a public inquiry and to bring the Monks on Caldey into the UK laws and provide a independent safeguarding for children from Catholic Churches and schools still retreat on Caldey Island.

The abbot stated that they retain the right to oversee past present and future child abuse.

The whole story of Caldey and priests from Sussex/Surrey has not been told, this is why we need a public enquiry.

The police failure is unforgivable.

What I witnessed while on retreats on Caldey is industrial abuse of hundreds and possibly thousands of children, the poor, the weak and vulnerable children. Taken to the caves ,ruins, sand dunes and the monks cells in the ruins. Abusers would travel by boat daily as Caldey was well known for paedophiles

As a safe haven for them. Also the abbey hid paedophiles from the police.

But please have a look at our Facebook page Caldey  Island survivors campaign.

Web site caldeyislandsurvivors.org.

It would be lovely if you could help us .

I often ask people what do they see when they  close their eyes  at night, because what I see is the eyes of the children being dragged away to be abused.

INVESTIGATION INTO DE LA SALLE ABUSE 

CURRENT POSITION

desbill.scoe@gmail.com

SCOE  – Safeguarding

Dear Des Bill

I wanted to see what the latest situation was regarding the numerous allegations of abuse by old boys, including myself, at the hands of the De La Salles. Not only at St Joseph’s Ipswich, but also Beulah Hill and elsewhere. As you know, they are all recorded on this website and have also been available in summary for an investigator’s convenience.

I’m aware that they have been sent to police Operation Hydrant, via yourself and Catholic Safeguarding, and I look forward to their response in due course. 

The DLS have also contacted Suffolk police  – see below – and this may be part of the Hydrant investigation or separate. It’s not been made clear and it would be useful to know.

It was also stated by the DLS spokesperson that an independent investigator would be commissioned to look into these allegations which he said were  ‘unheard of’.

‘ most of the accusations made on Mr Mills blog were “completely unheard of”, he (Hudd) said. 

See EADT December 11 2021

https://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/st-josephs-ipswich-abuse-monks-ask-police-8553626

“With regards to St Joseph’s, we’ve put the ball in Suffolk Constabulary’s court”, Mr Hudd said. “It’s up to them to work out what happened and if the abuse truly was systemic. 

“We’ve also hired our own independent and experienced child abuse investigator to assist the police. 

In fact ‘most’ allegations were ‘heard of’ and were  familiar to the DLS as survivors of Brother Kevin’s abuse prove on this site. And the Beulah Hill survivors who have made numerous allegations on line about Brother Solomon. 

For the DLS to claim they were unaware of these allegations and more is unconvincing.

The DLS own records will confirm that ‘most’ were ‘heard of’ as I’m sure Hudd knows only too well.

Moving onto the investigation, I have not had any contact from an investigator. But how else are they to reach the authors of the various allegations on my site?

We have been waiting these many months and nothing has happened. Who the investigator is has not been revealed to us.

I have the strong feeling that the investigator – six months later – has done nothing.

Is that the case?

You will recall that when the DLS provincial Laurence Hughes was being similarly investigated for allegations of his violent abuse of children, I put your independent investigator’s details on my site. Consequently, several Old Boys got in touch with the investigator.

As a system, it worked well and I have no complaints.

Surely that is the way to go here?

On which subject, I’m sure survivors of Hughes’s alleged violence would like to know what is happening. I understand that police action against Hughes is not proceeding? Is this correct? But I believe you said that – whatever the legal outcome – there would then be an internal inquiry? 

Is Hughes now reinstated as head of the DLS or has he ‘retired’ ? I think the survivors of his alleged assaults would like to know. 

I’m putting this letter up on my blog so survivors can be kept in the loop. I look forward to hearing from you.

Pat Mills

SONIA POULTON SHOW : RISE WITH BNT

I was on the show on Friday talking about organised Catholic abuse involving the De La Salles and the Knights of St Columba. Past AND present. I managed to give an over-view of their crimes. Hope to go into detail in specific areas of their systemic abuse on a future occasion.

It was recorded, so you can see it here:

https://brandnewtube.com/v/jLXO9f

My piece starts just after 1:04 

GUEST ON BREAKFAST SHOW – RISE WITH BNT

I’ve been invited on Sonia Poulton’s Breakfast show, Rise with BNT. (Brand New Tube) It’s twice a week, Monday and Friday. Very varied guests – but with a common theme of sticking head above parapets – speak live on Zoom for about 15 minutes. The date is Friday June, 10 at 8.30am.

I’ll be talking about Organised Catholic Abuse as manifested by the De La Salle Brothers and the Catholic Laity in the form of the Knights of St Columba. Objective? Apart from naming and shaming, as I’ve done on this blog, and making more people aware of the true criminal nature of the Catholic Church, I hope it will encourage other survivors to come forward.

i shall not only stick my head over the parapet, but go out into No Man’s Land where our compromised mainstream media have never gone – even though they know that these terrible crimes committed by the Catholic Church happened and are still happening.

ST JOSEPH’S IPSWICH TEACHER REMEMBERED & THE OPUS DEI CONNECTION

Francis Carolan has died just before facing four charges of abuse in April.

Below are some recollections from one Old Boy about this teacher from the early 1990s.

The Opus Dei recollection I find interesting.  So a few thoughts on that organisation first.

In my own and other’s experience, St Joseph’s teachers had (have?) connections with neo-masonic Catholic organisations. In my era, the St Joseph’s teacher abusers  I encountered were members of, or connected with, the Knights of St Columba whose crimes I have featured on this site and are currently being looked at by Operation Hydrant. In another notorious case (late 1950s), an ex-St Joseph’s teacher, known from his violence, ran away with a young boy, promising that he would become the youthful leader of an exciting new order of Catholic Knights.

It would be almost reassuring if one was to conclude they’re just patriarchal organisations and Catholic women were never involved. But, of course, it’s well known that women can be members of Opus Dei, too. There was Ruth Kelly who was a practising member of Opus Dei and a minister for education. Given their warped ‘mortification of the flesh’ practises, I find that singularly unhealthy. In my era, leading Catholic women in Ipswich were members of or connected with the Catholic Women’s League, which is closely associated with the Knights of St Columba.  My experience of these ladies and their practises was very unpleasant.

Beyond St Joseph’s, there are other unhealthy stories of Catholic Knights that I’ve come across: Papal Knight, and probable member of the Knights of St Columba, Jimmy Savile being the prime example which no one has ever investigated.  I doubt it will be featured in the forthcoming Netflix drama.

The inescapable conclusion is that if you’re a member of these various secretive Catholic organisations, there’s a good chance you’ll get away with your abusive crimes. As an academic study has shown (previously featured on this site), there is a strong transgenerational element which suggests it’s still going on today. 

 RECOLLECTIONS OF CAROLAN

Carolan boasted to us that he’d sign off letters to parents with the letters FOAD. If questioned he would say it was “for our almighty deity”, but it was actually fuck off and die. He was apparently a member of Opus Dei, and had met the Pope.

Frank Carolan was a scary man. Hitting us on the back of the head with bibles, but mostly he was a psychological bully. Incredibly nice on one hand (I had a band in the 4th/5th year and he allowed us to rehearse in his classroom after school, and store our instruments), and then he’d turn on you and reduce you to nothing. 

He was my housemaster in birkfield before he disappeared one night in spring 1993. Never did anything physical to me, but we were all terrified of him and there were allegations at the time. 

THE CATHOLIC INDEX

Yesterday, I had an unpleasant but cathartic flashback experience involving the Catholic Index, so I wondered if anyone else had come across this ludicrous but lethal and fascistic form of mind control? Do let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

I know it was dissolved in 1966, but too late for me – the Knights of St Columba were still using it up to that date and almost certainly beyond.

Anyway, what triggered it was some of my (comic) readers recently started sending me angry, finger-wagging and moralizing tweets about my interest in the block chain (an irrelevant subject for this blog).  Whatever its rights or wrongs, they were in essence saying I shouldn’t even think about cryptocurrency and NFTs, they were intrinsically evil etc. They were acting as self-appointed spiritual advisers.

I just shrugged it off as part of my job. They’re entitled to their opinion and I am to mine and it’s hardly a big deal. My readers often feel passionately about any changes in publishing and good luck to them.  My wife Lisa – who knows more about NFTS than I do – wrote a very calm and reasoned reply and I really thought that was the end of it. https://www.millsverse.com/response-to-our-little-twitter-storm-about-nfts/

But my psyche felt very differently and you will see how it triggered my childhood recollections of the Catholic Index.

Before I knew it, I had the most powerful ptsd flashback I’ve had in years.

I was around 14, very much under the control of the Knights, still lined up for the seminary, and as rebellious then as I am today, when I was discovered reading a forbidden book. It would be fair enough it was Lady Chatterley – although I doubt it’s on the index – and it would be far too readable anyway.  No, it’s dreary and boring books that challenge the Church’s core teaching that were on the Index – although I know there are some novels, too, like Dumas and Hugo. Anyway, it was one of those books I’d gotten hold of.  

As a form of resistance, I was hanging out with an esoteric group opposed to Catholics. Pretty stupid, and going out of the frying pan into the fire, but when you’re 14, you do what you have to do to survive. I needed some artillery on my side against the Knights, otherwise they might have crushed my spirit. This was the Knights’ clear intention, although they would have used more flattering words to describe their form of mind control.

As far as I can recall, the group, who called themselves the Cathars (‘Pure Ones’), gave me a book by Swedenborg: History of the Devil aka Heaven and Hell. In their own way they were grooming me, too, just like the Knights. I found it a bit tedious to read today, but I bet I loved it as a kid because – apart from its click-bait title –  I knew it was against the Catholic Church. It was a symbol of defiance. Being on the Index, Swedenborg’s tome was regarded as a work of evil and anyone who read it would be excommunicated and go to Hell. The usual Catholic attempt to bully their followers into submission.

The Catholic Knight in charge of my spiritual welfare – and my fake stepdad –  absolutely freaked!  He went totally nuts!  (Just like my comic readers did when I talked about NFTs). I don’t know exactly how I responded, but it was definitely with the kind of defiance that any 14 year old kid does up when they come up against a bullying and violent ‘stepdad’.  I probably didn’t swear like I do today, but the gist of my response was undoubtedly ‘fuck off’.

He wouldn’t calm down or back down and neither would I, but  there was a limit to how violent he could be in front of my mum. In any event, I was probably egging him on– the way kids do. ‘Go on. Hit me. Let’s see what a bastard you really are.’ Controlling himself with some difficulty, he found another punishment for my dreadful crime: He locked me out in the garden so I had to spend the night in the coal shed.

Hence the flashback. Although my office is warm, and I live in Spain, yesterday I suddenly found myself wearing three heavy jumpers, gloves, hugging an electric fire and a hot water bottle with a thick blanket thrown over me.   And I still couldn’t get warm!

Only when I relived the original event did my temperature return to normal.

So what happened at the end of my punishment? The next morning, when this typically noble Catholic Knight let me in from the garden? Was I suitably subdued? Did I say, ‘I’m sorry, sir. I won’t do it again. I’ve learnt my lesson.’

I think you know the answer.  

It’s a useful reminder to me that the Knights of St Columba are currently under investigation by Operation Hydrant – two prime examples of their crimes against children have been forwarded to the police by Catholic Safeguarding. And, I’m pleased to say, it is regularly being progressed. So, whatever the final outcome, it’s being taken very seriously. And let’s bear in mind that the Knights’ corruption of children didn’t stop in my era. As is well documented, there are current Knights that need further investigation.

This organization really needs thorough investigation, not just by the police but by investigative reporters. It has a lot to answer for and to explain.

And the Knights also need to pay compound interest on their organisation’s crimes from the time of the Catholic Index.

Perhaps a night in the coal shed might do them some good.

 NAZIR AT BOOT HILL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now.

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

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

Gosh! Where do we start?

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

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

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

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

*Mandatory reporting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a recent ‘personal’ tweet by him.

nazir afzal@nazirafzal·Feb 12Lesson

Technically a “Paedophile” is abusing pre-pubescent children

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

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

The reason why you don’t hear that

Because making that distinction makes you sound like a Paedophile

…………………………………..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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