Betrayal

I am not interested in retribution, apologies or compensation for myself. My concern is with the question of betrayal by others and the harm that betrayal has done to us.

Firstly, Romano was, at best, eccentric.  He behaved in very different ways to his two contemporaries, Father Eugene Murtagh and Father Frank McCullagh.  There was hardly any comparison with the behaviour of more senior Clerics, such as Cerea, Stenico or Wade  – his extreme religious views, his intimacy with young boys, his erratic behaviour.

For example, he would often punch boys in the middle of the chest with the heel of his clenched fist.  I, and others, believe that his bizarre actions must have been observed and well known by others in positions of authority in the House of Verona, yet he was charged with the pastoral care of vulnerable young men.

Secondly, I find it hard to believe that Romano was a one off.   I was at Mirfield for a very short time yet I quickly found myself exposed to a lack of due care. Therefore, turning a blind eye to uncomfortable situations was perhaps endemic.

Thirdly, I feel a deep sense of betrayal to my father, whose chest swelled with pride when Romano brought me home for a brief visit. For many years after my Father would relate this story with pride, that the Italian Priest thought so much of his son that he brought him home for an unscheduled, unannounced visit.

And finally the deep sense of betrayal to those young seminarians, my friends and brothers who may also have suffered a lack of care and support that was rightly due to them.

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