By Brian Hennessy
Lord Nolan was invited by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, to investigate the issue of paedophile priests and child protection in the Catholic Church in the year 2000. In his interim Report,
In his Final Report, dated 2001, Lord Nolan made a series of recommendations which the Order of Comboni Missionaries have given an undertaking to abide.
I am advised that the Order of Comboni Missionaries have also given their agreement to these principles by dint of being a member of the Conference of Religious of England and Wales – which is the sister Conference to the Conference of Bishops of England and Wales.
I am also informed that the Comboni Missionary Order within the UK have elected to use the Child Protection Co-Ordinator services of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton – in which diocese their Sunningdale base resides.
Lord Nolan also recommended that the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and all Religious Orders within the United Kingdom should abide by the Policy Statement.
There appears to be a discrepancy between the enshrined undertakings of the Order of Comboni Missionaries within the UK and the facts of their inertia, their inaction and their demonstrable hostility to Victims .
The Comboni Missionaries need to provide some answers – both to the abused seminarians and to the Conferences of Bishops and Religious of England and Wales for their failures to follow the protocols to which they have given agreement. I will assist them by defining just ten questions:
Ten Questions for Comboni Missionaries
• In what way have the Comboni Missionaries demonstrated exemplary best practice in their response to allegations of child sexual abuse within their Order in the UK?
• What reports did the Comboni Missionary Order in the UK make to the Child Protection Co-Ordinator of Arundel and Brighton when in 2006 a victim of the Mirfield abuse alleged that Father Dominic Valmaggia had abused him – at a time when that alleged Abuser was still alive and consigned to a Parish in Italy?
• What report did the Comboni Missionary Order in the UK make to the Child Protection Co-Ordinator of Arundel and Brighton regarding allegations of sexual abuse by an Italian priest of their Order who is currently alive and living in the Order’s Mother House at Verona, Italy?
• What reports did the Comboni Missionary Order make to the Child Protection Co-Ordinator of Arundel and Brighton when they were notified in recent times of historic allegations of emotional and physical abuse by two priests currently alive and working within the UK?
• What statutory Agencies of Law Enforcement and welfare have the Comboni Missionaries informed within the UK in respect to each of the allegations detailed above?
• In what way have the Comboni Missionaries within the UK made any attempts to bring the perpetrators of alleged abuse within the UK to account?
• Where are the support persons that have been allocated to the Victims of alleged abuse by Comboni Missionaries within the UK to meet their needs and those of their families?
• What notification to any diocese, other than Arundel and Brighton, has been made where any alleged abuser of Victims is currently undertaking work, temporarily or permanently, on behalf of the Comboni Missionaries in the UK?
• What safeguarding checks have been made by the Comboni Missionaries in the Uk in respect to external Comboni Missionaries who have been moved into the UK Province from other countries or Provinces of their Order?