Mirfield 1964-69
Dumfries 1969-70
Sunningdale 1970-71

My 21 year old son Gerard was in Sweden with some friends, when he decided to plunge into a lake. He hit a rock and snapped his neck. His friends pulled him out and he was airlifted to Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, where he underwent surgery. I immediately flew out to be with him and got the disturbing news from the surgeons. Gerard is paralysed in both legs as well as his triceps, wrists and fingers. He won’t walk again. He has no movement from the chest downwards. He was flown back to UK by air ambulance and went to a stroke ward at the Lister Hospital, Stevenage. The ward was not ideal, it was a stroke ward, the average age was 70-ish, hardly the best environment. He did have a private room though and they allowed us to visit him at any hour. Only 20mins away we could visit him every day, sometimes twice. Miriam my wife always liked to call up last thing at night to brush his teeth and give him a goodnight kiss.

Then he was suddenly transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. These had better facilities but the journey was now an hour each way. He also had to share a room.

Finally Gerard got the news he’d been waiting for for 10 weeks, that he had a bed at Stoke Mandeville. Moving day 17th Oct. His 22nd birthday. He said that it was the best possible birthday present.

It’s been a seismic shock to us and our lives will never be the same again. For the past few months the family has been in a very dark place. All we can say is that we’re gradually getting used to the light.

At this moment we don’t know what the future will hold. The sadness comes in waves. We want to provide him with the best possible medical and technological help. His friends are organising something and you’ll find the link below. I hope you will help me provide for Gerard’s dissabilty. This will last a life time.

Thank you.
Martin Murphy

Mirfield 1964-69
Dumfries 1969-70
Sunningdale 1970-71

Help raise £50000 to help Gerard get the care and equipment he needs

Weʼre raising money to help Gerard get the care and equipment he needs. Support this JustGiving Crowdfunding Page below:


Father John Clark’s Promise

Father John Clark (in his capacity as the Comboni Safeguarding Coordinator) promised me in 2008 when he travelled to Rhyl to meet me that Father Romano Nardo would never be around children and would never leave the Comboni Mother House in Verona.

The article below, which i saw for the first time last week, has been translated from the Pordenone newspaper “Il Gazzettino” and it shows that Father John Clark’s promise did not materialise.

Pordenone – Il Gazzettino – 14 Maggio 2015 – by Lara Zani – entitled:

Accuse di abusi in seminario
Missionario chiamato a difendersi


There were looks of disbelief, and open mouthed bewilderment in and around the diocese of Concordia-Pordenone, after the storm broke that Father Romano Nardo, 73, who was originally from the hamlet of Prata di Sopra, was emblazoned on the pages of La Rebubblca and had been accused of sexual harassment of a former boy seminarian.
The Religious, now in a protected place and guarded, is the leading figure in a video-recording in which he comes face to face in the Mother House of the Comboni Missionary Order of Verona with a man, aged 59 ,who accused him of sexually abusing him in the 1970s at the Mirfield Seminary in Yorkshire, England.

Father Nardo has never faced legal proceedings or been convicted of those offences, despite the fact that there was an internal investigation into the accusations in 1997 which determined that he had behaved inappropriately. Compensation was paid to a number of the boys who were at that seminary and a request for extradition by the West Yorkshire Police in the UK was never granted by the Italian authorities.

In Prata, where a brother of Father Nardo still lives and where Father Romano Nardo has returned regularly over the years, family members have preferred not to make any comment on the matter. Silence was also the only reaction from the diocese of Concordia-Pordenone.

The Comboni Missionary Order’s Provincial Superior in London, Martin Devenish, has expressed his condemnation, explaining, however, that he cannot laicise the priest.

Father Romano Nardo was a well known and respected figure in his place of origin, where his visits in the past were often the occasion for one of his lectures on the life of his work in Aduku’s mission in the Diocese of Lira in Uganda – where, according to reports by his brother, he was transferred immediately following the discovery of the young seminarian coming out of his room.

Combone Missionaries Attack on Those They Abused?

Joseph Gittos & Comboni Missionaries

12 men, myself included, who went to the Comboni Missionaries Seminary in Mirfield, Yorkshire in the Sixties have said that they were abused by priests of the order while at Mirfield. The Comboni Missionaries paid out a total of £140,000 to them.

However, they have never admitted that the abuse took place, never mind apologized for it and have not changed their processes to make sure that it never happens again.

There are a further 3 ex-seminarians in legal despite with them and we know of others who were abused but don’t want to come forward.

The closest they have come to admitting the abuse is when they said that if anything did take place then they are sorry about it.

Abused Get Attacked

It is one of the sad things about abuse is that when the abused first reveals it, perhaps to family members, it is the abuser often who is seen as the problem and not the abuser. The instinct is to protect the abuser rather than give sympathy to the abused. Psychologists are very aware of this knee jerk behaviour.

The Comboni Missionaries not only won’t aologize for the abuse but they have actually attacked those abused by their Order. An instance of this was in Verona where they tried to criminally prosecute Mark Murray when he went to Verona where his abuser resides, to offer him forgiveness. This was thankfully thrown out of court by the Italian judge.

UK Attacks on the Abused

Now it seems they want to go on the attack in the UK.

I was told on September 23rd that there was a meeting at their house in Glasgow to which some ex-seminarians were invited. The proposal was that they  should recruit some ex-seminarians to go on the offensive against those that were abused. I am not able to say one way or the other if this is correct.

Joe Gittos and Memories of Mirfield

Earlier this week this appeared as Comments on the blog from Joe Gittos who was at the seminary at the same times as us. It refers to a series of articles that I posted of my memories of Mirfield, good and bad. Here it is:-

“Another piece of fiction from Gerry McLaughlin. Marks of 5,4,5 lowest in the history of the college? Don’t make me laugh,I regularly got 3’s. I wish some of the posts on the website were not based on fiction. I have seen Gerry refer to Maurice Eaton and him getting into escapades in 1966, when Maurice had long left Mirfield. I wish some of the contributors to this site would get real and not exaggerate would went on at Mirfield. Having been a seminarian from 1962 to 1967 I have a good insight into what went on at Mirfield and some of the stories written are pure fiction and exaggeration.”

I have no idea if Joe’s post is connected to the meeting in Glasgow or not and if he is part of the action to discredit those who were abused. It may just be coincidence taht this appeared now.

Low Conduct Marks

What I would say is that what I said, in the article, was that I received a low set of Conduct marks which shocked both myself and others. One of the boys said to me afterwards that that was the lowest Conduct marks ever at the school. I said that I felt terrible as being the baddest boy ever at the school. However, I was just describing my feelings on the day. I had no access then, or now, to the historic Condcut marks held by the college. I don’t know if Joe does.

As regards whether Maurice Eaton was still there in 1966 my memory says he was and others have concurred. However, it is possible that he was not the guy on the day of the bonfire in the story. It’s possible that it was John Carey (Titch) who most certainly was there along with Mick Palmer and Mick Wainhouse.

I’m sure that, like the Conduct Marks, Maurice Eaton’s departure date from Mirfield, it will all be on the files held by the Comboni Missionaries.

My Memories of Mirfield

I would say, though, that if that is all Joe found in my dozens of articles of my memories of Mirfield which is incorrect from 50 years ago then I would say that I would be pretty safe from getting Alzheimer’s for a few years yet.

It’s an old trick, much used by politicans, i.e. find one or two things which may be incorrect and then take the leap of saying that this shows that it is all ‘fiction’.

It certainly is not!

Shame on you Joe

If Joe is part of this new campaign to attack those abused on behalf of the Comboni Missionaries he should be ashamed. That’s especially as he revealed, at the reunion, that he had been the victim of some abuse at the college himself, albeit of a more minor nature.

You said, Joe, that you had never told your iofe and kids about it.

How would they feel (and think of you) if they knew that you had possibly become part of a campaign to denigrate those who were abused at the college.

Exaggerated Claims of Abuse</h3>

You said ” I wish some of the contributors to this site would get real and not exaggerate would went on at Mirfield.”

One would presume you mean the accusations of abuse by at least 19 ex-seminarians. How would you know, Joe, if it happened or not? You were never present when it happened.

At least you are not claiming like the Combonis, that it never happened. you just believe, without any evidence at all, that it is exaggerated.

I was there when it happened!

Shame on you Joe!

I never expected this from you.

I would ask you to reconsider.



The Scot, as Father David Kinnear Glenday is often called, was once just plain “David” to me, a likeable, witty classmate and a friend. We were last together at the Comboni Missionary Order’s seminary at Mirfield in Yorkshire, England, in the 1960s. We have had quite different lives since those days. David went on to become a Comboni Missionary priest in Uganda. At various times, he was also the United Kingdom’s Provincial Superior, the Provincial Superior of the Order in the Philippines Province, the Superior General of the Order – and latterly the General Secretary of the Union of Superiors General in Rome. The Scot now spends a good deal of his time giving lectures and sermons and arranging and attending conferences. The gregarious, chummy personality that once he was as a youth has clearly been sustained and, undoubtedly, he is most suitable for his current role.

My life was different. I was sexually abused by a priest at the Mirfield Seminary at the time David was also there. I was locked into the infirmary and seriously assaulted twice a day for a fortnight under the pretence of “medical inspections”. I do not know whether or not David was abused in those years. It is not impossible that he was – for countless boys were abused by that priest from the 1950s until 1969 – when the continuous reports of abused seminarians had become so great in number that the Order eventually decided to do something about it. The only punishment for the priest who abused me and so many others for more than a decade was the prize of being sent to an Italian parish in the diocese of Como, Italy, where, presumably, he had access to even more children.

There were other Comboni Missionaries who also abused seminarians in that establishment– as both David and I well know. Their only punishment was being sent to the Missions in Africa where, presumably, they also continued, unchecked and unfettered, their abuse of yet countless other children. Who knows how many other priests of the Order were abusing children in those days – but one thing is certain, the local Provincial, the Vicar General and the Superior General of the Order did know. David Glenday, when he was both a Provincial and when he was Superior General would certainly have known also as he would have had access to the Order’s “Secret Archive” which is held at both the provincial and curia locations of the Order.

In my career, I became a Civil Servant, a Royal Air Force Officer, cultivated my vines, almond and olive trees in Cyprus for a couple of decades, trained German Pointer gundogs and then worked for an international company in London Docklands. Like David, I did end up in the Philippines for some five years also, but not at the same time as him. It all sounds good, but my life was somewhat tumultuous internally as I continuously tried to make sense of it. My path in life was quite different from that of David, but strangely they were also linked at the opposite ends of the same spectrum of the Comboni Order’s history of clerical sexual abuse. They are also paths, which in the half century since we last met, have never veered close to, nor been able to come to terms with each other.

Nevertheless, whilst not having met David since we were school-friends, I follow the comings and goings of the Scot on the internet fairly often and have noticed that he has themes in his events and sermons that he likes to go back to now and then. One is Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector:

 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evil-doers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Christ said, “I tell you that this tax collector, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I sometimes wonder to myself which of these two men does David think that he is: the humble tax gatherer or the arrogant Pharisee. He cannot be both – at least, not at the same time. Of course I would not presume to judge what is in David’s heart and soul – only the Scot can do that. However, I do know many of the things that David – and also his confreres in the Comboni Missionary Order have said and done when confronted with allegations of child sexual abuse. It follows that that same question – are you the Pharisee or the Tax Gatherer – must be posed, not only to David, but to his confreres also. I have to caution David that he and his colleagues must give themselves an honest answer and that to do so, they must recall their individual record where it comes to Child Sexual Abuse. To assist those entwined in this story, I recount the following passages, made by Comboni Missionary spokespersons, from the United Kingdom press for their reflection: –

> “We are concerned and very dismayed to hear of the alleged incidents of sexual and physical abuse”. (Dewsbury Reporter Sep 2013).

> “We have great sadness and regret at the allegations. Given the passage of time of almost half a century, we will never know the truth of what happened”. (Huddersfield Daily Examiner Oct 2014, BBC Leeds and West Yorkshire Oct 2014)

> “There was no evidence of a culture of abuse at the Mirfield seminary”. (Observer Oct 2014)

> “There are priests alive today who were at Mirfield at the time of the alleged abuse, but they have no knowledge of the abuse”. (Observer Oct 2014)

> “The abuse had not been proven”. (BBC Leeds and West Yorkshire Oct 2014)

> “As the allegations related to matters alleged to have occurred around fifty years ago – and the Verona Fathers are unable to identify their insurers from that period – having received legal advice, they decided to explore whether an early negotiated settlement of the claims may be possible in order to keep legal costs to a minimum”. (Greenock Telegraph Nov 2014).

> “We are dismayed by allegations of abuse and have co-operated with Police enquiries – but will not acknowledge that any of the men had been abused despite damages having been awarded”. (Mail On-Line Feb 2015).

> “We know that anyone subjected to abusive behaviour will experience suffering and we are dismayed to think that such suffering may have been caused to youngsters who attended our junior seminary. If that is the case, we are deeply sorry to anyone who has been hurt in this way”. ( The Observer Oct 2014, Mail On-Line Feb 2015)

> “Everything happened an incredibly long time ago and two of the priests who were accused are now deceased. My clients simply don’t know what happened at Mirfield and don’t feel that it can be established now. – There are three other pending cases of alleged sexual abuse of Mirfield pupils by priests”. (The Telegraph, 14th May 2015)

> “It was with great sadness and regret that the Verona Fathers learned that a number of allegations of historical abuse had been made relating to our former junior seminary, St Peter’s, located in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. We condemn unreservedly any action which causes harm or distress to others, particularly children. We know that anyone subjected to abusive behaviour will experience suffering and we are dismayed to think that such suffering may have been caused to youngsters who attended our junior seminary. If that is the case, we are deeply sorry to anyone who was hurt whilst they were in our care at Mirfield and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.” ( The Telegraph, 14th May 2015)

Well the average reader might think, that those comments all sound pretty reasonable for the most part. The problem is that those carefully constructed and sanitized words were dished up for the press to deliberately suggest the Order’s total ignorance and hence, reasonable denial of the abuse. Their deep sorrow “if” it had ever happened suggests that it might not have done. Without saying so directly, those statements also suggested that the Victims of the abuse might be dishonest. However, those Victims know that their accounts of the abuse are true simply because it happened to them – and there are things in life that you do not forget however many years have intervened. Moreover, yes, there may be priests alive today in the Order who were at Mirfield at the time of the abuse who knew nothing of the abuse. That statement to the press was nothing other than a wily subterfuge for there are also priests alive today in the Order who were at Mirfield at the time of the abuse, or soon afterwards, who do know of the abuse and have admitted that they had been told of the abuse! The most stunning miss-match in all those words to the press is that the Order has never actually and directly expressed to the very victims of that abuse their apparent dismay, regret and sorrow for all the suffering and hurt that was inflicted upon them. The Comboni Order has maintained absolute and impregnable silence on such sentiments and have refused all attempts to have a dialogue. There is more yet that must be considered:

> In 1996, following the initial allegations made by a Victim against Father Romano Nardo, a letter was received by his Solicitors from the Comboni Missionary Order to the effect that “the Comboni Missionary Order regarded that they had no legal obligation to compensate the Victim “even if they were minded to do so” because they were prevented from doing so by Charity Commission Rules and that the (United Kingdom) Taxpayers should compensate him.

> In 1997, a Victim received a letter from the Comboni Missionary Order through his solicitors, in which it was conveyed that an Inquiry had taken place and that it had found that the priest alleged to have committed sexual abuse had “acted inappropriately” and that he had expressed regret for the hurt caused to the Victim and had admitted the allegations. Incredibly, the letter from the Verona Fathers’ Solicitors, also announced that the Verona Fathers nevertheless felt that the abuser would be able to return to active ministry in Africa in only a month.

>The words “acted inappropriately” above were David Glenday’s euphemism for the priest’s washing of the 13 year old boy’s naked genitals in a “baptismal rite”, sharing the priests bed nightly and laying upon the priest’s naked body followed by the ritual of the priest breathing the life of the “Spirit” into the boy’s open mouth. This too was in the same room that the priest routinely heard the boy’s confession – and the same room where, on one deeply sacrilegious occasion, punishable with the greatest severity under Canon Law, that the same priest placed his stole around the boy’s neck as the priest confessed to the boy….and I almost forgot, in the midst of this sordid story, the horror the boy experienced when the priest first stripped naked in front of him and the boy was confronted by the scars of a crucifix that had been carved by a sharp instrument into the priest’s naked torso – and which the young boy later tried to emulate himself so as to be closer to the God of this priest.

> In 1999, a Victim informed the West Yorkshire Police of the sexual abuse that had been committed against him by a Comboni Order priest. In response to a letter from the West Yorkshire Police to the Order, the Solicitors, speaking on behalf of the Comboni Missionary Order, stated that the priest, previously fit enough “to return to active ministry in Africa in only a month”, could not now travel to the UK “as he is worn out by many years working in Africa”. Strangely, this inability to travel, did not stop that same priest from travelling long distances to attend church ceremonies within Italy that would have taken far longer than a flight to the United Kingdom. The Order maintained also that this priest was psychologically unable to face the “prospect of a protracted police investigation.” That in itself is no excuse under European law for not travelling to be questioned for alleged sexual offences against children, nevertheless, this Italian Order is able to hide behind the Italian statute of limitations for those alleged offences. I should point out, however, that the Order is bound by their own Code of Conduct and Canon Law to report the sexual abuses by this priest to the Vatican, but they appear not to have done so.

> In 2001, a Victim expressed to the Comboni Missionary Order his wish to meet his abuser in a spirit of conciliation. In a letter from Father Martin Devenish on 11 December 2001, the Victim was informed that his Abuser’s psychologist “felt it would not be convenient to receive the Victim”. In that letter, Father Devenish also stated, without having been asked, that the Comboni Missionaries were a “Mendicant Order” and were too poor to pay costs. (The total assets of the Order in some 40 or so countries have been calculated, nevertheless, to be well in excess of 500,000,000 Pounds Sterling).

> In 2006, a Victim of Father Domenico Valmaggia, wrote to the Comboni Missionary Provincial in an effort to trace Father Valmaggia. He received no reply and so he rang the Provincial Superior, Father John Troy, who said that Father Valmaggia was old and most probably dead. The Victim was provided with no assitance to trace Father Valmaggia by Father John Troy in 2006. At that time, documentation regarding Father Valmaggia existed at both the Provincial and the Roman Curia levels. The inaction of Father John Troy in this regard, at a time when Father Valmaggia was still alive, led to the failure of the Victim to be able to meet Valmaggia, discuss the abuse and record his responses in evidence. Father Valmaggia’s location was known to the Order, however, and when he subsequently died in 2011, his death was published in an official document of the Order.

> In 2010, following a meeting of a Victim with the Safeguarding Co-ordinator of the Wrexham Diocese, the latter agreed to arrange a meeting with Father John Clark, who was, at that time, nominated as the UK Comboni Missionary Safeguarding Co-Ordinator. The purpose was for the Victim to seek an acknowledgement that the abuse had taken place and to obtain a formal apology. The meeting subsequently took place and Father John Clark agreed that such a letter of acknowledgement of the abuse and an apology would be forthcoming and that he would consult Father Martin Devenish on the matter. No letter conveying an apology or acknowledgement was ever received. A letter was received from the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Order later in 2010, however, in which he unconcernedly conveyed little other than “at the end of the day, we are all in God’s hands.”

> In 2011, a Victim of abuse went to Rome to see members of the Curia personally to report the abuses perpetrated against him. The Victim claims that he informed both the Vicar General of the Order, Father Alberto Pelluchi and the General Bursar of the Order, Dr Brother Danielle Giusti. Subsequently, in November 2011, the Victim received a letter from Father Alberto Pelluchi stating that the Order denied all knowledge of any abuse perpetrated at the Mirfield Seminary and noted specifically that Father Robert Hicks, Father John Clark and Mr J M McGovern had stated that they had no knowledge of any cases of abuse. The letter went on to say that Father Pelluchi had conducted a full and exhaustive investigation into the allegations at Mirfield made by the Victim, but that he had never heard or known of any cases of abuse in the Order “ever”, and that the Victim was clearly “deluded”.

> In February 2012, a Victim of abuse by both Fathers Valmaggia and Pinkman, wrote to Father Devenish, the Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionary Order. He received no reply and so he wrote again in November 2012. He received a response from Father Martin Devenish eventually on 13th December 2012 in which the latter stated that Father Fraser “categorically” denied being informed about or was aware of any allegations of abuse by Father Pinkman. (Nevertheless, Father Fraser has admitted in a conversation that he did learn of Father Pinkman’s abuse later).

> Also in February 2012, that same Victim of abuse by both Fathers Valmaggia and Pinkman, informed Father Devenish, the Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionary Order, that he had told Father Hicks of his abuse during confession. Father Devenish stated that Father Hicks “vehemently” denied a knowledge of any allegation against Father Pinkman. (Yet again, Father Hicks had already stated in a separate conversation that he knew of abuse by Father Pinkman).

> In 2013, a Victim received a letter from Kathy Perrin , Solicitor, on behalf of the Comboni Missionary Order, in which she attempted to dissuade him from taking action by communicating that “I note you intend to make a report to the police …However such an investigation may be difficult in this case given Fathers Pinkman and Valmaggia are deceased”.

> In 2014, a Victim of both Fathers Domenico Valmaggia and John Pinkman, tried to establish dialogue with the Order on behalf of the “Mirfield 12” group of Victims. During the discussion, it was suggested by Father Robert Hicks that the sole reason for the allegations of abuse by the “Mirfield 12” was to extract money from the Comboni Missionary Order”.

> In 2014 a Victim, in a state of despair, wrote: “ I have done enough striving and fighting for justice. I am tired of the whole sordid mess. It was in this vein that I rang Rome and asked to speak with Sanchez, the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Order. I explained to the receptionist and then a priest, who I was. I was then informed a couple of minutes later that Sanchez would ring me back. The call never came. I rang again and once again was informed he would ring me back. The call never came. I rang back a third time and was told that he was out. I asked to speak to a priest that spoke English and the phone was put down on me. It was subsequently put down on me the several calls that I made after that”. Being ignored and having the phone put down on me came across as insulting – and I became quite emotional. I had built myself up to offer a hand of peace – an opportunity to leave all this behind, an opportunity to meet Nardo (the Victim’s abuser), and I suspect that there are people who would never understand this – but an opportunity to offer forgiveness to him. That never happened. I was shut out once again.”

> A Victim, following his attempts to contact the Superior General Sanchez of the Order, made a telephone call to Father Robert Hicks in 2014. He thought “naively”, he recollects, that if he explained to Father Hicks his intentions, that he would relay them to Sanchez. Father Hicks made it clear that he could not talk to him and the Victim was told, “I am not allowed to talk to you and that anyway my dinner is on the table and is going cold”. When the Victim protested that he was trying to extend a hand of friendship to the Order, Father Robert Hicks said that he should ring back and speak to Father Martin Devenish, the Provincial Superior.

> A Victim, in a telephone call in 2014 to Father David Glenday, who fills a post at the Vatican, was told by the latter that he was not allowed to talk to him, with the words, “I can listen, but I cannot answer”.

> A Victim in a telephone call in 2014 to Father Martin Devenish was told by the latter that if the Victim rang him again, he would be reported to the Police for harassment.

> At the end of 2014, A Victim, who at the time of writing, is in the process of litigation against the Comboni Missionary Order Priest who relentlessly abused him when he was a child at Mirfield, received a Greeting Card from his Abuser, in which the Abuser wished him a Happy New Year and extended to him his best wishes in the legal case against himself, the Abuser. The only source of the address of the Victim would have been in legal documents forwarded to the Comboni Missionary Order, one of whose members must have passed the information onto the Abuser. This is in direct contradiction of the Comboni Missionary Order’s Code of Conduct and must be seen as a deliberate attempt to suborn or influence the Victim into abandoning his suit.

> Following a visit of a Victim of child sexual abuse to Verona in April 2015 – in order to meet his Abuser, Father Romano Nardo, and obtain an apology from him for the abuse and the Order for his years of harmful treatment, the Comboni Missionary Order stated that they would be sending a letter to the Victim to inform him that they intended to sue him. The Order’s lawyer subsequently preferred charges in the Criminal Court of Verona against the Victim of Child Abuse for trespass, stalking and interfering in the life of the priest accused of child sexual abuse. The Judge threw out the charges as baseless. The Comboni Order appealed to the Court for a review. The Appeal Court threw out the charges once more as baseless. The innocent Victim subsequently had to pay a large sum of money for his legal defence at the Court.

> That same Victim in Verona was threatened with the Police for visiting the Order’s Mother House – and the Vice Superior of the House shouted to the Victim as he left that he, the Victim, and all the other Victims were “money grabbers”.

> In December 2015, a Victim of Child abuse at the Mirfield seminary forwarded the Comboni Missionary Order a 170 page document entitled: “A Text Book For Institutions On How Not To Manage Allegations Of Child Sexual Abuse – And Why The Comboni Missionary Religous Order Of Verona, Italy, Will Deny Allegations Of 1,000 Sexual Crimes Committed Against Boy Seminarians In Their Care At Mirfield, Yorkshire, England. (There has been no response from the Order)!

> On behalf of the Victims of the Mirfield Seminary, a copy of the 170-page document mentioned above was delivered by hand to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in January 2016 by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols. (There has been no response from the Vatican)!

I liked David when he was a lad and I would probably find him quite entertaining even now – but, the record above is not all that good is it? So I must repeat for David the Scot the questions that he and his confreres in the Comboni Missionary Order must each ask of themselves: “Are they the image of the Disciple on the Mount who pushed the child away, or do they believe in the image of Christ, who cherished the innocence of each and every child and who said, “Suffer not little children to come unto me”? Are they the Good Samaritan, or are they the Priest who passed by on the other side of the road? Are they the humble Tax Gatherer who prayed and repented with a bowed head , or are they the Pharisee who, with his head held high, chuntered tediously and arrogantly of his good deeds?









Father David Kinnear Glenday and Dawson Place


In Dawson Place, John McGovern and Pete Murray, my brother, were living there at the same time that I was there. I was preparing for my first mission posting.
Whilst living in Dawson Place I studied a short course in philosophy and African religions at the the not so far away Missionary Institute. The studies were to prepare me for my position of work on the Gulu Mission Farm in Northern Uganda.

During my period of study at both the Missionary Institute and Dawson Place, Father David Kinnear Glenday was my Spiritual Director.

Mark Murray



They ruined our lives in so many ways. They turned their back on us when they should have comforted us. They denied their wrongdoing when they should have asked our forgiveness. They have maligned us when they should have praised our courage to keep going. They turned their back on their Christian Gospel and walked on the other side of the road when they should have embraced those teachings and healed our wounds and bore our burdens on their own backs.



I have been asking myself that question for a long time – probably because it is shocking to me that someone who has professed a desire to do good in the world could then go on to betray the very essence of what “priesthood” is supposed to be all about. After all, the Catholic Catechism states that the sacrament of ordination “configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ’s instrument for his Church. By ordination the priest is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of Priest, Prophet, and King. The Priest is the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ’s priesthood, refashions Creation, restores it in God’s image, recreates it for the world on high and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes.”

That amazing ontological change in the nature of a man at ordination either does or does not do what it says. In reality, the mental picture of a man who stands with angels and is “divinized” does not fit well with the historic, depraved and alarmingly still undiscovered levels of clerical child sexual abuse. Rationally, within “Christianity” the truth is that some two millennia of poetic licence has been interwoven in the Catechism deliberately by a clerical hierarchy to create a contrived illusion. That description of ordination in the Catechism is a fabrication. If true, a priest would be incapable of sin. Ergo: there are no “ifs” nor “buts”. The definition cited in the Catechism is proven to be false by evidence of the most heinous of sins and the clerical arrogance expressed is in dire need of humility.

The most realistic reason why a priest, psychosexually immature or not, would abuse a child – instead, for example, of seeking a sexual relationship with an individual categorised as an adult – is because he believes that, owing to the child’s immaturity and incomprehension, his ability to control his victim means that he will not be discovered. Hence, he will not lose face nor his position in the public clerical or civil realms. Apart from the fact of the inability of an innocent and gullible child to understand what is happening to them, we need to determine, therefore, what additional factors in the clerical “realm” might contribute to a cleric taking such a risk. I offer some possible explanations.

One fact is that a priest, realistically, can believe that he can get away with abusing a child precisely because the institution which has ordained him has adopted a hierarchy that self-promotes themselves as a uniquely holy caste that is set apart from their followers. It has always been the case throughout the history of mankind, from shaman to Levite to Pope, that a priest, both in practice and in theory, should be deemed to be beyond the reproach of other mortals. The priestly hierarchy achieves this by their adoption of the role of anointed mediator between God and man from cradle to grave. They impose themselves on the communities surrounding them as the appointed teachers of religious truths that only they have the knowledge and right to interpret. They project themselves as the sole and true guardians of esoteric doctrines that are the keys to the afterlife. Having created that concept, the priesthood then seeks to usurp each layperson’s birthright to shape their own path to destiny. This deprivation of the control of a personal spiritual and intuitive access to an afterlife is achieved by the clerical right to the imposition of religious texts, the creation of codes of laws and prohibitions, of rituals, invocations and, more importantly, interdictions, proscriptions and punishments. The latter are uniquely combined with the fearful prospect of exclusion from both the earthly community and sunlit eternity by excommunication.

The Catholic Church abhors the application of the word “priest” to the prophets, shamans and medicine men of both primitive or contemporary, alternative Christian sects or religious beliefs. They do so because it is essential that they claim total uniqueness from any form of ritualistic priesthood that preceded theirs or is today “other” than their own exclusive claim to that right and dignity. Sacrifice was always an essential ingredient of the function and the key to the power of priesthood. In Christianity the daily re-creation of the Sacrifice of Christ on a Cross for the salvation of adherents derives from that dominant feature of the New Testament. The same willingness of Abraham to sacrifice Issac on the altar of Mount Moriah in the Genesis story of the Torah is similarly a dominant feature of Judaism. Nevertheless, well before Christianity and the Israelite passage out of Egypt, and still today in remote societies, the priestly castes of men set themselves apart in the same way and have claimed for themselves, without exception, the knowledge by which their followers could access spiritual prosperity in both the here and now – and in an afterlife.

Those “other” priests of bygone days have sacrificed to the gods by the ritualistic slaughter of sheep, oxen or mankind. The “other” priests of today use mostly symbolic sacrifice for the same purpose. They similarly exchange their enigmatic powers of the bestowal of eternity and access to the eternal heavens for goods and riches. That exchange has always been a part of the ritual. In doing so both priest and shaman achieve a unique stature within their respective societies – and anoints them also with distinction, status and a degree of, if not actual, wealth. Thus, they became the ritual anointers of leaders and kings. They divined the astronomical clock and controlled the planting and reaping of crops. They became the all powerful institutions that monitor and marshal the lives of mankind in this world and into the next. To maintain their position in society, they, themselves, of necessity, have always had a need to at least “appear” to be beyond reproach from the same laws and prohibitions that they demand from their followers. It is the same today as it was in the past.

When they are found not to be beyond rebuke, it is essential for the survival of the institution of “priesthood”, both individually and collectively, to conceal their misdeeds by any means possible. Thus they have routinely denied their failings and removed the transgressor far out of sight so that they are also out of mind. Any form of admission or apology is not countenanced. The wringing of hands in public is considered to be counter-productive to the acceptance of their assumed, distinctive authority and powers. Instead, historically, they have washed their hands in public with an air of indifference, feigned reproach and deliberately imprecise declarations of innocence and victimisation.

Every civilization in every age has had its priests – from the primitive, ritualistic priests of the world’s oldest known 12,000 year old Anatolian temple site at Gobekli Tepe, an agrarian society where the world’s very first genetic cereal crops were harvested, to the temples of the Sumerians, Hittites, Assyrians, Minoans, Pharonic Egyptians, Israelites, Incas, Aztecs and modern Empires of both East and West. Few of those historic priestly classes have survived in any format at all. Most are now confined to the deep, archaeological layers of pre-history. They all rose to power by the same process of the control of man’s individual journey to the afterlife. They all believed that their institutions were immortal. Most failed because they became too powerful, too covetous of their wealth or discredited by their own misdeeds. Undoubtedly, some too ended through natural disasters which the priests, despite their claims of being the ordained intermediary between man and god, were unable to control or prevent. One way or another, the civilization of today will become a similar distant memory.

Mankind, confined to its small earthly globe in the over-arching, endless universe has a yearning to understand his place within it, but mankind will ultimately and manifestly reject all “spurious” claims to control its destiny. Parents cherish their children because they are their sole and often unconscious, but instinctive hope for the continuity of their own earthly genetic posterity. When depraved clerics destructively ravish their children they cause demonstrable harm to that child’s earthly future. In some cases, sexually abused children go on in later years, for complex reasons, to take their own lives. In doing so, they irrevocably destroy not only their own unique potential, but also their parents’ hopes and dreams. Those clerics who abuse children extinguish any authority, divine or earthly, they may have possessed to mark out and light up the path to the perceived future eternity of their lay followers.

Beyond and despite any good the Catholic Church achieves in this world, it is not impervious to the retribution that their own earthly evils and unproven heavenly claims can exert upon them. Their concept of priesthood can also become irrelevant in a world that is increasingly less willing to allow others to usurp their individual right to self-determination in both the practical elements of this world and in the ethereal vision of the next. The demonstrable accumulation of unspeakable wealth, the aggregation of claims to a monopoly of the only route to a spiritual world in a heavenly afterlife and, above all, their heinous abuse of the most cherished innocents of this world in all ages past and in the present will only serve to rapidly quicken the certain and inevitable extinction that awaits them.