Father Martin Devenish
According to a new article from the Liverpool Echo, Father Martin Devenish of the Comboni MIssionaries has pledged that every member of Misioneros Combonianos will agree to appear in front of the Home Office enquiry into child sexual abuse.
Father Devenish told the Liverpool Echo “Every member of the Verona Fathers who is fit and able will be prepared to appear at the inquiry if asked to do so. However, it is regrettable that those from whom we all most need to hear, the alleged abusers, will not be able to appear because they are deceased or, in one case, medically unfit.”
Father Enrique Sanchez
The ‘medically unfit’ person refers to Father Romano Nardo, who is accused of serious sexual abuse by Mark Murray, an ex-seminarian at the Comboni Missionaries seminary in Mirfield, Yorkshire. Father Enrique Sanchez, the Superior General of Missionari Comboniani (the boss of the order) refuses to hand Father Nardo over to answer questions about it to UK police.
The claim is that the atrocities that Father Nardo encountered in Uganda has affected him mentally so that he cannot answer questions from the UK police.
Father Enrque Sanchez told Mark Murray, by letter, that they brought Father Nardo home after 27 years in Uganda after his accusations against him. He also assured him that Father Nardo would be kept in a Comboni Missionaries home for the sick in Verona and would have no acccess to children.
According to Mark Murray, who had been a Brother out in Uganda, Amins’ atrocities took place decades before Father Nardo was brought home. Indeed he was brought home immediately after the abuse accusations.
If he he was mentally ill, or unstable, it begs the question why the Comboni Missionaries left him in a position of responsibility in Uganda for so many years. They had a duty of care to him.
He was also pictured saying a concelebrated mass in 2008 and was spotted at carnivals in Verona. Surely he could, then, answer a few questions from the UK police.
Equivocating Like Jesuits
However, it is good to hear that they will appear before the panel, even if Vather Martin Devenish has said that all those who are “fit and able” will appear. One wonders who that would exclude. One wonders if the Comboni Missionaries would think that those in positions of authority at the time and who are accused of covering up the abuse would be “fit and able” to appear as some of them are now in their eighties.
The Comboni Missionaries are an offshoot of the Jesuits and we all know what Shakespeare said about equivocation and Jesuits.
We shall see what the ‘fit and able’ means!
However, if the committee has full powers, they may not have a choice. The UK Government outrank the Comboni Missionaries in the UK.
See the Liverpool Echo article Fresh Hope for Catholic Abuse Victims