Comboni Missionaries and Sexual Child Abuse
The Comboni Missionaries worldwide have gathered in Rome for their XV111th General Chapter. It is taking place from August 29th to October 4th.
The 72 capitular representatives, 45 of whom are from Europe, 14 from the Americas and 13 from Africa, are representing over 1,700 Comboni Missionaries scattered throughout the world.
On September 29th and 30th they will elect their new supreme leader, the Superior General.
Comboni Missionary Seminary in Mirfield
Last year, the Comboni Missionaries paid out £120,000 (€166,000) to 12 men who claimed they were abused as children at the Comboni Missionaries seminary in Mirfield, England in the 1960s and 1970s.
They claim that they were 11 years old to 15 years old when they were repeatedly abused by three Comboni Missionaries, Fr John Pinkman, Father Domenico Valmaggia and Father Romano Nardo and a lay teacher, Michael Riddle, at the seminary. There are several other outstanding claims.
The men claim that the Comboni Missionaries have never admitted the abuse and have never apologised for it.
Indeed, they claim that there has been a cover-up of the abuse, even though those accused were sent away from the seminary or brought home from the missions in Africa when the accusations were first made at the time.
Father Romano Nardo and Yorkshire Police
Mark Murray went to Verona to confront his abuser, Father Roman Nardo, in the Comboni Missionaries house in Verona earlier this year.
Father Nardo had been brought home from the missions in Uganda when Mark first made his accusations in the mid-Nineties and Mark was told that he would be kept away from children.
UK police want to interview Father Nardo but have been refused permission by the Order who say he is not in good enough health to answer their questions.
The UK police say that they are satisfied that a crime has been committed and that they would have sought the arrest two of those Comboni Missionaries accused of abuse, Fr Pinkman from Liverpool and Fr Valmaggia from Como if they had been still alive.
They have been trying for years to extradite Father Nardo, who is from Pordenone, but to no avail.
Comboni Missionaries Chapter XVIII Election Council
Now Mark, and the others who were abused are asking that the Comboni Missionaries start afresh and elect someone who has been untainted by the abuse and subsequent cover-up.
Said Mark, “Pope Francis has apologised for the abuse in the Catholic Church and has demanded that others take action.
“However, the Comboni Missionaries have refused to even admit that any abuse took place and refuse to apologise to those to whom they had a duty of care”.
Pope Francis, Comboni Missionaries and Child Sexual Anuse
In his recent visit to the USA, Pope Francis said “The crimes of sexual abuse against children cannot be repeated.”
Said Gerry McLaughlin, another of the Mirfield 12, “We ask the Comboni Missionaries to make a clean break with the past and elect someone who has been untainted by the abuse and the subsequent cover-up.
“We ask them to elect someone who follows Pope Francis’s teaching on child abuse and who will work with the abused to make sure that the ‘crime of sexual abuse of children’ cannot happen again as Pope Francis wishes.
“The Mirfield 12 would ask that the new Superior General meets with them at his earliest convenience to discuss how we can all move forward in resolving the abuse issues at Mirfield”.