Father Anthony Wade
By Martin Millar
I want to begin by paying a special tribute to all the Mirfield Old Boys who have taken such pains in dedicating themselves to the cause of achieving justice and closure in regard to the abuse suffered.
As I listened to Mark Murray speaking on Radio 5 yesterday, I learned more of the man in 25 minutes than in the intervening years since the 2009 reunion.
With the support of people like Brian Hennessy, Gerry McLaughlin and all of the other men involved in the ‘settlement’ and subsequent battles for justice, Mark has soared in spirit and mind.
I look forward to further news coverage with keen interest.
La lutta continua!
On another note, and sharing a funny memory, I’d like to recount the tale of my attempt to introduce some risque humour into Fr Wade’s boring Scripture Studies classes.
We were always pressing him to allow us to discuss things like the Church’s attitude towards pre- and extra-marital sex, abortion, recreational drug use and all manner of things that had nothing to do with the Maccabees, the Sadducees and the Pharisees, and Our Sweet Lord.
Birds and the Bees
He always prevaricated and would digress into topics that interested him, primarily whether or not the going was good at Haydock Park, Aintree or Royal Ascot.
Ambrose Mulroy always perked up at these points as he was really into the gees.
Finally, after relentless pressure, Wade agreed to have a Q&A session about the birds and the bees, and instructed us to organise a box of anonymous questions, any and all of which he solemnly promised to answer.
Tommy O’Donnell, Ambrose, Dave Harrigan, and possibly Angus Murray got together to write some questions.
Questions for Father Wade
I hit on a corker, and my mates were duly impressed:
‘Do girls masturbate and if so, how?’
Come the session, Wade proceeded to put his hand in the box and pulled out the screwed up pieces of paper. The first and second ones he picked were completely innocuous and he gave his usual anodyne responses.
Then we knew we had hit gold as he took the next one out. His pallor, unhealthily pale on one of his good days, went white, his jaw locked open, his hands trembling as he scanned the words.
He fumbled about not knowing what to do or say.
‘Read it to us father’.
He got up and walked out of the class. We had won a great victory! We had taken the piss out of our pompous and ignorant teacher! Hah hah.
The thing is, it was a genuine question, as well as a prank.
The only person who we could get a straight answer from to our questions about sex was a brilliant science teacher from one of the local Catholic secondary schools.
I’ve forgotten his name, but I do remember his lessons being hands-on and very stimulating.
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Martin Millar (1968-72)