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.’

DE LA SALLES  – A PUBLIC ENQUIRY? 

A recent, typically terse response from the De La Salles to Survivor NW1 is copied below.

The DLS strategy is clearly defensive rather than compassionate and healing. This is a pity as a more heart-based and genuinely spiritual response would work better for them, even at this late stage, but I guess their Suits don’t understand this. They’ve pulled up the drawbridge of their castle and think they can repel all boarders as they’ve done in the past.

Recent posts on this site bear this out. The Scotland case for instance.

And Barry Hudd told a reporter that a Hydrant historic investigation into the DLS could take a considerable time to be actioned.

Why he should say that, I find concerning.

IIRC, I believe he also said that there had been no successful civil actions against the De La Salles. Or words to that effect.

Why he should say that, I find concerning.

It would be easy after such negativity, their response below, and the Scottish case, to form the impression that the DLS believe they are impregnable. That they always win. That they have the best lawyers to defend them and so on.

And therefore it might be easier to give up and try to forget what they did.

I believe that’s what they want us to think.

So it’s worth remembering the progress so far:

1)Their Provincial was suspended following complaints on this site.

That would be previously ‘unheard of’ (to use Barry Hudd’s phrase).

We are still awaiting the results of that investigation which is taking a curious amount of time. Even so, it must come.

2) Their public apology, written by lawyers, was pathetic and wasn’t public but it was the result of social media pressure and it was highlighted in the press. 

3) Media attention is not good for the DLS. There’s been plenty of it and there is more in the works.

I believe DLS motivation is ultimately about money and business, for all their pious words. The social media and media attention on the DLS is not doing their business any good. 

Every new shocking revelation about the DLS may make parents think twice about sending their children to a DLS school.

International survivors of the DLS are now coming forward with their complaints because of this social media and media attention. 

4) The SCOE have passed complaints onto Hydrant. Hydrant will act, even if it takes a while.

5) The DLS have commissioned their own independent investigator to look at the allegations in conjunction with Hydrant. (The independent case manager they mention below)

The DLS have been curiously and predictably secretive about the details, but – nevertheless – it’s an investigation. 

And that feels – potentially – like real progress as the investigator is independent.

6) There are a number of current police investigations involving  DLS lay teachers.

7) A Scottish survivor is taking legal action against the DLS. It’s something I’m considering myself. Anyone thinking along those lines, I’d recommend  a conversation with Richard Scorer at Slater and Gordon. He’s an expert on the crimes of the Church.

So the DLS castle is not as impregnable as they seem to suggest. We are already scaling its walls.

NWI below says it needs an open and independent inquiry into what happened. 

I absolutely agree.

Such inquiries can take forever to happen, which may be a good reason for lobbying for one sooner rather than later. Its possible terms of reference are also a matter for a future post. But when I read yesterday that a Survivor was so upset by the conduct of the DLS, he intended to set himself alight outside their Oxford offices, it reminded me that there is something desperately wrong here that needs urgently looking into.

Serious abuse issues – such as at St Jo’s Ipswich –    are thus not completely ‘unheard of’, as Barry Hudd claims.

Also, how the DLS have provably known about the most notorious DLS abusers for years and yet did nothing until it was highlighted here.  IMO this  amounts to systemic abuse

The IICSA inquiry into the Benedictines was only five out of ten, with many shortfalls, but at least it provides a potential role model. And it did make some difference to a number of Survivors and to the Benedictine schools.

I now have concise, easy to follow files on all the major DLS crimes which could be sent to relevant people, like government ministers.

Everyone’s thoughts on how to lobby for such an inquiry and its feasibility are most welcome.

Here are NW1’s thoughts:

NW1 here. as you know I’ve been seeking justice in my own case. Recently, I write to the order to ask whether they would be voluntarily providing details they hold about known abusers. The inference is that they will only provide information when it is requested from them by police.

“I acknowledge your own ongoing frustration and anger towards DLS, and I am sad for your own suffering and any ongoing distress. DLS cooperates with the police on any investigation and share fully any records held as requested.

However, should you hold information that the police need to be aware of I would encourage you to disclose any details to Suffolk and Dorset police.

SCOE and DLS will consider if any further action is required post the outcome of current police investigations; and any recommendations that the police, or an independent case manager, who is advising SCOE on these matters make.

Recently, DLS did publish on its website an apology to any person who may have suffered abuse either by a brother or lay member of staff at any of their schools.”

There will not, therefore, be an open and public reckoning by the DLS Order of the suffering caused to hundreds of their victims, The “apology” they published on their website, which you have previously mentioned in this blog, is all we are likely to get. Unless we call for an open and independent inquiry into what happened.

Hope this helps.

DE LA SALLES  – THE POWER STRUCTURE

ST. WILLIAMS & IICSA

A Survivor of the De La Salles has provided a valuable over-view of their power structure as below.

To reprise, BARRY HUDD was presented not just in recent developments, but back in the IICSA era as Head of DLS Safeguarding. The implication for me and the reporter who interviewed Hudd is that he was a ‘civilian’ hired by the DLS.

However, the Survivor believes Hudd is the Provincial (the head) of the UK De La Salles. Presumably he would have taken over from Brother Laurence Hughes who was suspended last year.

I’ll certainly ask Hudd if he is, in fact, Brother Barry Hudd.  But even if he  isn’t, it raises the important question of who has taken over from Brother Laurence?

Also, Brother Laurence appeared to be Head of DLS Safeguarding a few years ago, so it’s quite feasible Hudd is also a member of the religious order.

Here’s what the Survivor wrote to me:

This  Judgement (link at the bottom) from the House of Lords will  hopefully help in understanding how “De la Salle” organises their affairs.

Please note their their official title ( Uk and Canon Law) is as cited: Institute for the Brothers of Christian Schools. This is a separate and different organisation to the “Christian Brothers”

The Line of responsibility for this Religious Order is Brother , Brother Director, Brother Visitor, Superior ( Provincial) and Superior General. The Office of the Superior General is in Rome (not Vatican)  The Superior General answers to the Pope.

Hudd is/was the “Provincial” for England and Ireland.

Herewith Link

ST WILLIAMS & FOLLOW THE MONEY

The court ruling above against the DLS is complex but much of it is very readable.

It highlights the difficulties Survivors face in getting compensation from the DLS.

These quotes are worth highlighting:

 Brother Thomas gave evidence that “the DLS trust had substantial funds derived from the sale of its properties and from the covenanted funds of the brothers employed in education at St William’s and elsewhere.

The Institute (The DLS) owns schools, presumably through its charitable trusts

Interestingly, the Judge says ‘presumably’ – e.g. even he is not sure!

I have some further information on the DLS financial structure which sheds light on their financial affairs.

If anyone is interested, I’ll do a post on what I’ve learnt so far and who may – ultimately – own/or is behind the DLS charitable trusts.

One further comment on St Williams. The Laity who abused children there seem to have gotten away with their foul crimes. It was described by a survivor as ‘a paedophile’s sweet shop’.

THE DE LA SALLES AT IICSA

Very disturbing accounts of survivors of DLS abuse and possibly triggering.  So do be careful!

One survivor is so upset he threatens to set himself alight outside the DLS HQ in Oxford as a way of shutting down the UK DLS schools.

‘He is doing this on behalf of all the boys abused by the DLS Brothers.’

Thankfully the poor guy calmed down.

Barry Hudd is the DLS Safeguarding Officer who dealt with this matter. In this case, in 2018, he was acting on behalf of the Provincial, presumably Brother Laurence Hughes.

Nazir Afzal & The Poisoned Chalice

GUEST BLOG. Anon and other survivors, myself included, are increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress and answers to outstanding issues, like Cardinal Nichols’ promise at IICSA which has not been acted upon. My own view is that the Church is not investing in its Safeguarding Officers. Two important figures who we’ve interacted with only work three days a month. Nazir Afzal, also, is only working part time as Chair.  Also three days a month, So I see these part time jobs, albeit by well meaning, genuine and sincere people, as window dressing by the Church, obscuring the serious lack of action and investment.

I, like other activists, must spend far more than three days a month collating, responding to, and publishing important testimonies, which I’m very happy to do. I need to do it.  But that puts it in perspective. The task of Safeguarding surely requires more full time staff.

So here’s Anon’s view below which I wholeheartedly agree with.

Nazir Afzal & The Poisoned Chalice

The Reality behind the Rhetoric of Roman Catholic Safeguarding Today

Nazir Afzal’s acceptance of the post of Chair of The Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency inspired a heartfelt sigh of relief from Roman Catholic parishioners, clergy, victims and survivors of abuse and their allies.

The potential was, that after forty years of unmet promises, avoidance, victim blaming & cruel indifference – the Catholic church in England & Wales would stop mistreating the human beings that their clergy sexually abused in childhood. Here was a leader that could be trusted. Sadly, that hope turned out to be a *disappointingly damp* squib. While, Nazir Afzal OBE is indeed now the (3 days a month) chair, he seems to have minimal autonomous authority. He is required to offer up recommendations to Cardinal Nichols for decision making, who arguably should have resigned years ago for his own mishandling of survivors.   

Within the last 3 months, the *brand new* CSSA “doing things differently” have done a lot of things “exactly the same.” Survivors have been exhausted by the agency’s avoidance to provide answers to simple questions and disrespected by unprofessional reception and insulting incompetency. Asked to prove his authenticity by releasing all victims of Roman Catholic abuse silenced by non-disclosure agreements, Nazir is unresponsive.  The Unfinished business of the Catholics are not being addressed by Nazir. Cardinal Nichols promised under oath at IICSA to find out who leaked a survivor’s intimate, confidential information. Neither Nichols nor Nazir have said anything.

When such integral issues are being swept under the carpet, and so much evidence is accumulating about current avoidance – let’s face it – the safety of Roman Catholic children and vulnerable adults is likely to be dangerously compromised. If the regulatory body cannot lead by example, those they advise will just pick up bad habits.

Professor Davis of the Cadbury Centre for Public Understanding of Religion in his letter to the Tablet warned of the The Maze of Pain that survivors experienced recently in their contact with safeguarding personnel.

One admirable, determined survivor recently won a settlement for the way she was mistreated by Catholic safeguarding. A subject access request revealed Safeguarding personnel bitching behind her back, essentially, describing her as needy & manipulative with whom they were “playing the good practice card.”

Those individuals still hold posts in Catholic Safeguarding – so human resources standards are evidently so low they are in the gutter.  

3000 victims of abuse by Roman Catholic clergy et al contacted IICSA. Each and every one will have their story of mistreatment by Catholic Safeguarding and files of documents evidencing that. Each one is likely to be quite curious right now about what was being said behind their backs too. The full scale of the mistreatment of survivors by catholic safeguarding is colossal.

Catholic Safeguarding personnel with appalling track records are still in post across England & Wales.  If Nazir Afzal OBE does not address the barrel of bad apples, he’s going to end up with a stinky mess on his hands.

Will his reputation survive?  

Safeguarding campaigners are twittering about it.

Pat Mills, as usual sums it up with cut to the chase vigour.  

“I see Nazir as a failed symbol of hope, and the sooner we all realise we’re wasting our time in thinking he can lobby for or lead major changes, the sooner we can all move on. He has limited power and extremely limited time and he cannot come close to what abuse lawyer Richard Scorer described as a ‘fundamental reset’ being needed for the Catholic Church’s dealing with abuse.”

Amen. Anon.

VOICES OF AWARENESS PODCAST PART 2

Andy Taylor recently interviewed me for his Voices of Awareness podcast. Previous guests on his podcast include lawyer Richard Scorer, author of Betrayed, about the English Catholic Church, Jonathan West who presented evidence to IICSA about Ampleforth College, and Carol Lawrence, the Catholic Church’s leading safeguard officer.

My interview is over three parts and is about St Joseph’s College, Ipswich and the De La Salle Brothers and how they – inadvertently – inspired my writing career. Hence the title of the interview: The Dredd-ful violence of the De La Salle Brothers. Judge Dredd is a character I developed and wrote when I created the British science fiction comic 2000AD. The interview also covers the stories of other Survivors from the school.

You can listen to Part One here.

Here is Part Two.

Pat Mills exposes the violence of the De la Salle brothers of St Joseph’s college, Ipswich that inspired the plots & character traits of Judge Dredd and 2000AD. He covers the catholic tumors of shame & guilt, coming out as a survivor, blowing the whistle, trauma memories surfacing in middle age, revenge ideation, the catharsis of lampooning abusers & the testimonies of assault by Brother Lawrence Hughes.   

NB: The Podcast about the De La Salle Brothers is currently listed SECOND in the list below – click on the title to play.

The N word (Narcicism) Voices of Awareness

Stephen Parsons from Survivingchurch.org discusses charisma, narcisism, grooming, deference and the vulnerability of believers to corruption and abuse. 
  1. The N word (Narcicism)
  2. Cardinal Nichols & The Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
  3. The Kindly Ones by Cliff James
  4. How survivors feel about IICSA
  5. Blood Legacy with Alex Renton

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.