Victims and survivors are not the enemy of the church. We want to move on. And, for many, that will only happen when we are truly listened to by the Church that abused us. All most victims want is their life back.
Mark Stephen Murray
Victims and survivors are not the enemy of the church. We want to move on. And, for many, that will only happen when we are truly listened to by the Church that abused us. All most victims want is their life back.
Mark Stephen Murray
Hans Zollner SJ: Church Needs Readiness for Self-criticism
The child protection expert Hans Zollner demands of the church on the topic of abuse “an inner attitude of readiness for constant self-criticism”. The Church needs it as well as the consequent “readiness to turn back to their own ideals,” said Zollner. He added: “Church institutions of all kinds need clear guidelines and clear definitions of responsibilities, violations of standards and related penalties, transparency in legal and administrative procedures, and ongoing training on intervention and prevention to foster a culture of mindfulness. ” Zollner is a Jesuit priest and was born in Regensburg. He manages the Child Protection Center at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and is a member of the Pontifical Child Protection Commission.
Zollner also said in relation to abuses: “The inability and unwillingness to comply with the laws of the state and the church was fueled by fear of confrontation and hard decisions as well as misunderstood – and for all very harmful – over-identification with the institution.”
Attention to the victims of abuse and their commitment to prevention are a major task of the Church. “It must be normal and natural to think of all activities – in parish, school, leisure time – that children and adolescents should be safe,” said Zollner. “This is not an ‘add-on’, that is the DNA of the Church, which embodies the core of the Church’s message, and to do so requires a wholehearted willingness to address issues openly and address them with vigor and decisiveness.” (CBA)
Hans Zollner in a Question & Answer Session
The Jesuit Hans Zollner, 50, is head of the Child Protection Center at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and is one of the most renowned sexual abuse prevention professionals. In an interview, the member of the Pontifical Child Protection Commission talks about a change of mentality among bishops and about the future of the commission.
Question: Pope Francis issued a new law in June . According to this, those bishops who are not sufficiently prosecuted for sexual abuse in their diocese can now also be prosecuted. Is this sufficient from the point of view of the Pontifical Child Protection Commission?
Hans Zollner : In the end, this so-called Motu Proprio is what the Commission wanted. The new legal basis goes beyond our proposal in one point. So it affects not only the local bishops , but also the higher religious superiors – these had not been explicitly mentioned. It is crucial that bishops, provincials and superiors may now also be held responsible under church law for neglecting their official duties and disregarding their due diligence. Behind this is the view that superiors in the legal sense have a share of responsibility for the actions of their subordinates. In the Anglo-Saxon area, this has long been required.
Following a decree by Pope Francis in June, those bishops who are not sufficiently concerned about sexual abuse in their diocese can now also be prosecuted.
Question: Do not you fear that such “soft criteria” could open the door to defamation of unwelcome bishops?
Zollner : This fear is not unjustified. However, it is not yet clear how often such cases occur. Allegations can also hit the wrong person. As with any charge, the accused has the opportunity to defend himself legally. It is clear that the name of the person in question suffers irreparable damage in public. But that cannot be avoided even in these cases.
Question: What can one imagine under a neglect of official duties? How are the new regulations applied?
Zollner : The decree officially came into force at the beginning of September. Concrete implementing regulations are missing so far. Therefore, some things are still unclear. But one thing can already be said: The message has arrived at the bishops. Suspected cases are now reported more quickly. Apparently, the bishops have become more active through this measure.
Question: Who determines the implementation of regulations?
Zollner : Pope Francis has four authorities, which are responsible for bishops and higher orders in the Vatican. Apart from the Congregationof Bishops , these are the Eastern and Conventual Congregations and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He asked them to develop appropriate criteria for their area. Compared to a detailed instruction from above, this has the advantage that the employees are involved and have to make their own thoughts on the topic and the procedure. The unity is to ensure a separate advisory commission of the Pope. Their composition is, however, not yet determined.
Question: In 2014, the papal child protection commission was initially put to trial for three years by Francis. This trial period ended in December 2017. What’s next?
Zollner : The topic of sexual abuse will continue to accompany the Catholic Church in the coming years and decades. Therefore, there will certainly continue to be an institution that deals with it at world level. However, it is currently still open regarding in which form this will happen.
Question: You are also head of the Child Protection Center at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Is its future secured?
Zollner : The child protection center relies on donations from church institutions and private individuals, because our training courses on abuse prevention focus primarily on those countries in the southern hemisphere in which we cannot demand any money. For years, our biggest donor has been the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. Added to this are the children’s missionary work ” Die Sternsinger ” and other donors. Currently, our annual budget is around 500,000 euros. In the future, we will need between € 300,000 and € 400,000 to adequately meet the fast growing demand worldwide.
Interview with Fr Hans Zollner: Confronting the reality of abuse
By Catherine Sheehan – September 5, 2018
Father Hans Zollner SJ, President of the Centre for Child Protection at the Gregorian University in Rome and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, is the Vatican’s foremost expert on safeguarding minors. In Australia last week, he spoke to Catholic Weekly journalist, Catherine Sheehan, about what the Church has learned through the sex abuse crisis.
Fr Zollner, how extensive is child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church? For example, can you say what percentage of clergy or religious have abused?
There are very few reliable statistics and research being done. Only from a few countries. One is Australia, another one is the US, and maybe five other countries. The extent is more or less consistently of about three, to five, to six per cent of priests in a specific period of time, which relates mostly to what we know, where the research has taken place, from around 1950 to 2010. Whereas over the past 10 to 20 years, depending on the country, the numbers have dropped almost to nil. Of allegations referring to these last 10 to 20 years … where a church has decided to introduce Safeguarding measures, and codes of conduct, and guidelines to implement them … they work. And where information on Safeguarding are obligatory and supervision on that is mandatory, it works.
So the Church began implementing these measures ten years ago?
It was in 2002 in the US they introduced the so-called Dallas Charter, guidelines and mandatory information sessions every year. In Australia, as has been shown by the Royal Commission … in almost all dioceses the number of allegations referring to the current years, not 50 years ago or 30 years ago, is almost nil.
The impression is often given through the media that child sexual abuse is rife in the Catholic Church. Is it possible to say that it is more likely to take place in the Church as opposed to the wider society?
We cannot say it is more likely and people who say so can’t present statistics. For the simple fact that … There is no other institution, there is no other Christian denomination or religion, that has been investigated as thoroughly as the Catholic Church. So there is no real comparison to that. And even within professional groups, there is not research that would cover, for example, school teachers in public schools … psychologists, doctors, police, music or sports trainers. So we don’t have a reliable number for comparing the number of Catholic priests, especially if you talk about the whole population of one particular profession. We have also to acknowledge that by far most sexual abuse and of course physical abuse of minors happens in the family context. I … heard somebody who was involved in the Royal Commission’s proceedings [say] that they believe that 95 per cent of all abuse in Australia happens within the family context. Which means five per cent of all abuse happens in all institutions altogether, of which the Catholic Church is a part. Now this does not excuse the Catholic Church. Every single abuse that takes place is one too many. Every single abuse that is committed by Catholic clergy and other personnel in the Church is a horrendous crime and needs to be prosecuted and punished full stop.
So the amount of abuse perpetrated by clergy, religious or other Church personnel would be less than 5 per cent of the total amount of child sexual abuse in society?
No, 95 per cent [occurs] in [the] family context, in society at large. Five per cent in all institutions of which the Catholic Church is one part of. So all the public schools, all the psychologists would be in the 5 per cent.
Yes, so it would be less the 5 per cent?
Much less than 5 per cent.
Father, in your opinion, is the Catholic Church doing enough to address the problem of child sexual abuse?
We can’t ever do enough. But the Catholic Church in Australia has done a lot and is certainly among the top five in the world. If you come to the local churches, or bishop’s conferences in this country, you have all kinds of resources allocated money, personnel trained. You have officers established, you have information sessions running, you have conferences like this [one in the Diocese of Wollongong]. You have a response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations that accepts 98 per cent of all recommendations without any discussion and you have an atmosphere of willingness to really act upon what the Church asks … and what society asks it to do.
Speaking from your background as a psychologist, what do victims of child sexual abuse most need for their healing?
Most victims with whom I have met, to whom I have listened, say that the one thing that sticks out and that all they long for is being listened to, which is something that is easily said and not so easily done because it means that the listener, whoever that is, needs to be open, not only in his or her mind, but also in his or her heart and really empathise and understand the depth of the suffering of the person who shares that. Many survivors say they would like somebody in a Church hierarchical position to listen to them. Normally if the abuse has happened in a diocese they would ask the bishop, or for a religious congregation, the Provincial. Some don’t want to meet with any clergy anymore so it would need to be somebody else. But all concur in this, that the most important single element in a possible healing process, is being really listened to … all say this is the possible starting point.
Is it possible for someone who has suffered childhood sexual abuse to find healing?
I have seen victims who have come a long journey and who would say that they have been healed and have been reconciled which is another step. But this is not possible without the help of other human beings, mostly those who accompany, family and friends, in counseling and psychotherapy. Sometimes a good number of clergy sexual abuse [victims] say they have been helped in the spiritual journey of healing by priests or religious. What may surprise then but again they have found people who declare to being helped by clergy. This is not a journey that is possible for all but I have come across people who have said that they have been healed. And I can believe that.
What does sexual abuse do to a person?
Most of all it destroys the very basis of trust and that is the most important consequence of abuse. It destroys trust in oneself, in others, and in God. If the abuser is a priest or a religious or a person within the Church, that is the identification of anybody in that position. Then there are many questions that come around psychological disturbance, feelings of guilt. There is very often some conflicting emotions and attitudes towards sexuality and the question is, quite often, how can one put together one’s own identity, in terms of what am I worth and can I venture into a life that has been very often, very much harmed by such kind of abuse early on?
Why do you think these cases of sexual abuse in the Church are coming to light now, at this point in time? Do you think there have always been these crimes taking place in the Church but it’s only now that we are discovering them and the gravity of them?
We have not only now discovered it, it has been here in Australia in various waves, a topic within the Church. I’ve met a priest who had to deal with the first case in his career as somebody employed by the diocesan offices in 1977. But since then, that is 40 years now, in society and in the Church, much has changed and in my country we have started to speak about sexual abuse of minors in a public way, to a large extent only eight and a half years ago. There comes a point when people really start to talk about this because there is an openness to it [and because] certain taboos are gone …
What would you say are the main causes of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and religious?
This is a question that you would have to answer with regard to all individual perpetrators. [There are] common factors … that people express by abusing minors especially a power differential. [For example,] me as a priest, I take what I wish, I take what I want and I am not accountable for what I do. I seek to express my superiority, which shows that psychologically speaking many of those who have abused feel themselves really weak interiorly. They may not appear to be weak but they feel … they cannot cope with an adult peer to peer relationship, they may not be able to face the opposite sex. So there may be all kinds of dynamics going on including unresolved issues about sexual identity and so forth.
Is there an element of perpetrators having been victims themselves in the past of childhood sexual abuse?
Now there is debate in science and conflicting figures about that. I personally think that there is a risk factor when one has been abused and literature speaks to that but it is not as high as people think. Not every body who has been abused becomes automatically an abuser. This has been proven to be wrong.
Do you see any evidence in the Church that people who abuse have themselves been abused?
There is no difference between people in the Church or outside the Church, no. As I say, there is a certain risk factor but the risk factor does not mean that necessarily somebody acts on that.
Do you see a diabolical element to all of this sexual abuse in the Church?
Certainly there are horrendous stories and you can’t believe that a priest would do something [like] what you hear and what has happened to really, that a priest would be capable of doing something like that. So there is an element of evil that goes way beyond human understanding and certainly there is something that has also a component of some evil presence in human beings that is not comprehensible.
Independent research from the US has shown that 81 per cent of victims of clergy sexual abuse are boys who are at the age of puberty or beyond. So would you say there is a homosexual element to the sex abuse crisis in the Church?
There is within the Church, the numbers are as they are, and they seem pretty much confirming what is actually going on, and what has been going on. I would say that the homosexuality first of all does not lead automatically to abusive behavior, that is clear. And I would add, from my experience and from what I’ve read, that not all people who have abused, not all priests, men, who have abused boys would identify themselves as homosexual. So they act out sexually but they would also have heterosexual tendencies, or they would not identify as clearly and uniquely homosexually oriented.
So there is much talk about this nowadays. Some would say that we have a certain proportion of homosexuals among clergy, that is clear now and we don’t need to deny that. And since they were not allowed to process that because [they] thought or they were told that they couldn’t speak out on that, this homosexuality was lingering on and then became manifest, not in same-sex relationships with peers, but rather with adolescent boys.
Is it therefore the Church’s policy to screen seminarians for homosexual tendencies?
Within the admission process of a seminary there is a psychological screening, at least I think that is in place all over this country and elsewhere. The point is not heterosexuality or homosexuality for such a screening, basically because the psychologist would rather not look into that but it is a question of how integrated the sexuality is, how healthy it is lived out or how immature the whole area of emotion, of relationships, of power, is lived out. Because sexuality is not a thing that is disconnected to the rest of the personality. To the contrary, it is very much present.
So even though such a high percentage of clergy sexual abuse has been against boys, that’s not reason enough to prevent someone with homosexual tendencies from entering the priesthood?
No, the Church has guidelines for that and it says that people who have deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to the seminary or to ordination. The question is what does “deep-rooted tendency” mean? That is not defined, certainly not by science. So there is a moment of discretion and you have to acknowledge that people who are homosexuals, or who define themselves as homosexual, are in priesthood. There is no need to deny that because it’s clear out there. The more important question is how do they live that? I think that a homosexual priest faces more challenges than a heterosexual, if only for the fact that he has to stand in for a doctrine that says homosexuality is not normal.
Would part of the problem be that boys are more accessible?
Yes of course, we see that, as I said, the period that was investigated in all these reports was around 1945, 1950 to 2010, or Royal Commission 2018, and until 20, 25 years ago, priests would also teach in boy’s schools, would have only altar boys and so forth.
One issue that came up here during the Royal Commission was mandatory celibacy. What’s your response to those who think mandatory celibacy is a contributing factor in the sex abuse crisis and should be abolished?
There is no causal effect between celibacy and child sexual abuse and the Royal Commission itself has stated so, that celibacy does not lead to abusive behavior in a mono-causal sense. It may become a risk factor when celibacy is not lived out well enough over years, then it may lead people to becoming abusers of alcohol, abusers of internet pornography, abusers of adults or abusers of minors. The point is that mandatory celibacy is not a dogma, it can be changed.
The point is that 99.9 per cent of all abusers do not live a celibate life. So the question is first of all, how do you deal with that fact? And secondly, 95 per cent of all priests are not abusers so celibacy obviously does not lead to abusive behavior as such, only over time and the time is quite long, meaning priests abuse for the first time, this is a scientifically established fact, at the age of 39. Which is much older than a trainer, a teacher, or a psychologist when they abuse for the first time which would be at the age of 25. So celibacy becomes a problem if it is not lived out, not integrated into a healthy lifestyle.
The Church here in Australia has come under fire from the media for rejecting the Royal Commission’s recommendation that it break the Seal of Confession for cases of child sexual abuse. It has been said that if the Church really wants to be transparent it needs to stop all the secrecy including the Seal of Confession. What’s your response to that?
They don’t listen to what has been said over and over again. How do I know who is confessing to me? I don’t know their name, that’s part of confession. So either you do away with all confession, and you have no confession anymore, or you have what confession presupposes, somebody comes there who I don’t know. So how would I know the name and be able to report that person? And if you take away that element of Confession, that I don’t know who is the person confessing to me, then the person will certainly not come to confess. And it is greatly exaggerated the number of people who would come to Confession. People think that every person, every Catholic goes to Confession every week. Far from that, who goes to Confession nowadays? I’ve heard many people, priests, say, and I can confirm that, in decades of being a priest, I’ve never ever heard one single confession of any perpetrator.
What about the role of clericalism in child sexual abuse and its cover up in the Church?
There is certainly a problem with clericalism, if you define clericalism as the way people define themselves and live more from the role and position they have rather than from their personality and their personal competence. I was very much surprised and very much enlightened by comments from lay people with whom I met over the last few days here, that they said clericalism is not only for clergy. Lay people also show clericalist attitudes and that is also a problem. When they cling to prestige and they measure their importance in the number of secretaries they have, the type of car they drive etc.
Another criticism of the Church in relation to the sex abuse crisis is that there are not many women in leadership roles. Do you think that would make a significant difference in regards to child sexual abuse?
I would say that women certainly can be, and have been, more included in leadership positions. The Pope himself has done do over the last years for very important positions in the Holy See. That will continue. I was also very much surprised to hear here during the conference, a woman speak up who said she had worked very much for gender equality but she would warn that by simply substituting men [with] women or by women, you solve the problem of power issues. That is not the case.
Father, you’ve said in other interviews that this sex abuse crisis is not a matter of Liberal vs Conservative Catholics. What did you mean by that?
In the US we have now a very strong debate, a great and ferocious discussion between Liberals and Conservatives that has been going on for a long time. But after the Vigano letter that has come up again over and over, it is an issue that concerns the whole Church. Apart from Church political parties, because we have abuses on either sides, and we have people who on either side for betterment, so it could be a bridge in the favour of creating a safer Church for children.
If the allegations against former Cardinal McCarrick are true, then would you say there must have been many in the hierarchy who knew and covered it up by not doing anything?
We need to know how many people knew really about the allegations. I guess it will be very few because clear allegations have been forwarded only to very few people. If you hear gossip, if you hear some hear-say, you are not necessarily in the full picture and that diminishes your responsibility for that. So I don’t think there will be many clearly indicted. There will be very few people who would have known precisely what were the allegations.
Do you give any credence to Archbishop Vigano’s testimony? Do you think it is worth investigating?
Yes it is worth investigating. I have seen many over the last days, many, many questions surfacing, putting his [Vigano’s] credibility to the test. In many respects the timing of the publication of the letter leaves open the question of what political interests brought it to be published precisely at that moment when the Pope was in Ireland wrapping up his visit there. So there are many open questions.
Did you think the Pope’s response to journalists that he wouldn’t say a word about it but that they should investigate was adequate given how much the faithful are hurting and confused because of the sex abuse crisis?
I think he tried to say, he said literally ‘for the moment I don’t want to speak to that. You journalists do your work, then I will come back to that.’ He invited [them] precisely to do what many ask journalists to do, and not trying to convince them [by saying] ‘I haven’t done any wrong and so forth’. I think in that sense, he has invited all of us to be alert and not simply believe what we read … Go and verify things. I have seen now there are a lots of articles that have taken the allegations of Archbishop Vigano to the test and there are many factual errors, many omissions in the letter, there are many other open questions with regard to that and I hope, as all of us, that the Pope or the Holy See will reply.
What is the key to preventing this sex abuse crisis from happening again?
The key is that people become aware of abuse is happening, that they speak out and that they are informed to whom they can report. And then that the due process is being followed through. I would like to warn against the [impression] that it will be over once and for all. This would be from my point of view a dangerous illusion because evil will be with us and we will not be able to exclude abuse from happening simply because we introduce new guidelines. This is a necessary and very important step but not a sufficient one in the sense that we will never be able to exclude somebody abusing another person.
That’s why we will need to continue education and dissemination of information about reporting etc. and that is the work of the Centre for Child Protection of the Gregorian University of which I am the President. We have online training programs, we have residential programs for future safeguarding officers and this is the way we believe the change can come about.
A RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL BY REV MATTHEW F MALONE SJ, PRESIDENT & EDITOR IN CHIEF OF THE JESUIT PUBLICATION ’AMERICA MEDIA’.
US Catholics should not think that CSA abuses on the scale unearthed in America are unusual. In many respects you are blessed with the scale of abuse being out in the open. It means that you can now start to deal with it. In many countries it remains hidden – which means that children remain at great risk. In the UK in just one junior seminary run by the Italian Comboni Missionary Order allegations of 1000 sexual abuses against UK child seminarians by clerics of that Order were documented and handed in by Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, (after much badgering) to CDF by hand almost three years ago. There has not yet been a response from CDF. The recent Australian Inquiry and the Irish Tusla Inquiry also reveealed large scale abuses – and the effects of these are still ricocheting throughout those countries.
Again in UK, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has revealed large scale child abuse in schools run by the Benedictines – and a Scottish Inquiry is about to investigate the abuse at the Benedictine School of Fort Augustus. Thousands of Catholic orphanages throughout the world have not yet been routinely investigated and in countries like Italy and the Philippines little attempt has been made to understand the scale of child sexual abuse – but inevitably, in due course, it will be fully revealed.
Much has been reported in recent months about abuse by National and International Aid Agency workers in the developing world. There is serious cause for concern that Catholic Missionaries have also been committing CSA abuses in their Missions. Little has yet been revealed about that, but it is known that the Comboni Missionary Order in the past (if not now) routinely sent clerics accused of CSA crimes in the UK to African Missions. One was sent to a Mission where he established a school and another was placed in charge of the Ugandan Boy Scout Movement. (A third was sent to Italy to a parish).
Now that the USA ‘s scale of abuse is, at least, partially revealed you can start the process of reform. The key will be a compulsion by Hierarchs to take positive action to investigate, report and dismiss abusive clerics in short order.
The Vatican must gear itself up to establish clear procedures and it must review the actions of local church hierarchs to ensure compliance with the Canons and rules. The responsible Curia Congregations must also ensure the standardisation of administrative & judicial procedures and worldwide responses for both diocesan and Religious clergy. Inspections of failing Diocesan and Religious Orders and Institutes by a central Curia body would also assist in establishing conformity.
Of course, it is not only children who have been abused. A report was undertaken in Africa some years ago of the clerical abuse of nuns. Despite opposition by African Bishops the report was handed in to the Vatican – who took no action. The issue has again been raised in recent months.
Additionally, the plight of the offspring of male clerics who engaged in both consensual and non-consensual sexual relations with women has also been raised and that, at least, has received some attention and attempts at a solution – but it must be monitored and followed up to ensure compliance and uniformity of action.
All these events have been common, but hidden, throughout history and they must be fully confronted now. It is curious that it is within the English speaking countries of the world that most of the abuse has been or is now being investigated: the USA, Australia, England and Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland – and shortly New Zealand. Our common language and cultural heritage can be a factor in both dissemination of information and the creation of the norms of clerical behaviour and administrative processes that are urgently needed now and into the future.
The experience garnered by Hans Zollner SJ, Vice Rector of the Institute of Psychology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome since 2010 and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since its creation in 2014 would be crucial to the success of such a process. The opportunity to learn from each other and to standardise processes and methodologies must not be lost. It cannot be stated emphatically enough that the future of the Catholic Church depends on concerted international, dynamic and thorough action now.
Most importantly, the children of the world depend on us now for their safety and an un-blighted future.
Brian Mark Hennessy
A Survivor of abuse by clerics of the Italian Comboni Missionary Order – who have yet to apologise and commit to dialogue with Victim Survivors of abuse by their clerics.
Twitter: @ArakapasHash @comboni_abuse
Location: Dorchester, Dorset, England.
“The grievous failing of the Hierarchy of the Comboni Missionary Order is that, apparently to protect the
reputation of the Order, they have displayed a serious disregard to the rights of the Victims of child
sexual abuse within their own establishments – specifically in respect to this document, the rights of
Mr Mark Murray. In doing so, they have further given witness to their abject lack of Gospel inspired
introspection, humility, justice and the invocation of the Canonical rights of injured members of the Lay
Faithful of the Roman Church. Indeed, they have failed even to follow the terms of their own Code of
Conduct – which, I highlight, contain a predeliction for secrecy and the avoidance of scandal – both of
which are the sworn enemies of righteous justice. Their most infamous failure, however, is that they
have unlearned the very basic concepts of their Christain morality and have substituted it with a newly
learned false conscience that absolves them from the shame and guilt of their cruelty.
The Comboni Missionary Order is not ignorant of the Canons of the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed,
they quote the Canons listed below within their very own Code of Conduct (See Document entitled:
The Brotherly Care of Persons in Certain Situations)
Note also the following (repeated elsewhere in this document): The
dismissal of a cleric by Papal Decree following an admission of crimes of
sexual abuse was effected by Pope John Paul II in his 2001 Motu Proprio,
“Sacramentorum Sanctiatus Tutela”. It is of note that Father Roman Nardo
was withdrawn from the Mission in Uganda in 1996 – and in that same year
Mark Murray (who had been abused by Father Romano Nardo) received a
letter through his solicitors to the effect that Father Nardo had admitted to
the abuse. (This admission was later rescinded by the Comboni Missionary
Order – albeit they had admitted that Father Nardo had taken Mark Murray
to his bed)! The Superior General, Father David Kinnear Glenday, should,
at the time that “Sacramentorum Sanctiatis Tutela” was issued in 2001,
have reported the details of the abuse and the admission of guilt by Father
Nardo directly to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF). It is not
clear that he did so – for had he – then it is certainly possible that Father
Nardo would have been subjected to consideration by the CDF for dismissal
from the clerical state by a “Papal Decree” at that time. There would, at that
time have been no consideration as to his age, nor health that prevented
such action – for he was only 60 years of age in 2001 (born 1941) and,
given that he was working in the Missions in Uganda at the time of his
recall, he was, certainly, still a fit and active man. Evidence of that fact is
that they also intended to return him to the Missions.)