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.