During the festivities of this past week, Pope Francis reminded our fourteen new Cardinals (and each one of us): “When we forget the mission, when we lose sight of the real faces of our brothers and sisters, our life gets locked up in the pursuit of our own interests and securities. Resentment then begins to grow, together with sadness and revulsion. Gradually we have less and less room for others, for the Church community, for the poor, for hearing the Lord’s voice. Joy fades and the heart withers.”
How can Comboni Fr. Nardo be a “respected and well known figure in his home region” and be – as the Comboni Missionary Order of Verona states. – too unfit to travel and answer questions about sexual abuse?
Italian Newspaper Article about Comboni Nardo.
There were looks of disbelief, and open mouthed bewilderment in and around the diocese of Concordia-Pordenone, after the storm broke that Father Romano Nardo, 73, who was originally from the hamlet of Prata di Sopra, was emblazoned on the pages of La Rebubblca and had been accused of sexual harassment of a former boy seminarian.
The Religious, now in a protected place and guarded, is the leading figure in a video-recording in which he comes face to face in the Mother House of the Comboni Missionary Order of Verona with a man, aged 59 ,who accused him of sexually abusing him in the 1970s at the Mirfield Seminary in Yorkshire, England.
Father Nardo has never faced legal proceedings or been convicted of those offences, despite the fact that there was an internal investigation into the accusations in 1997 which determined that he had behaved inappropriately. Compensation was paid to a number of the boys who were at that seminary and a request for extradition by the West Yorkshire Police in the UK was never granted by the Italian authorities.
In Prata, where a brother of Father Nardo still lives and where Father Romano Nardo has returned regularly over the years, family members have preferred not to make any comment on the matter. Silence was also the only reaction from the diocese of Concordia-Pordenone.
The Comboni Missionary Order’s Provincial Superior in London, Martin Devenish, has expressed his condemnation, explaining, however, that he cannot laicise the priest.
Father Romano Nardo was a well known and respected figure in his place of origin, where his visits in the past were often the occasion for one of his lectures on the life of his work in Aduku’s mission in the Diocese of Lira in Uganda – where, according to reports by his brother, he was transferred immediately following the discovery of the young seminarian coming out of his room.
Comboni Missionary Order of Verona (also known as the Verona Fathers or The Sons of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) are back in the High Court of Justice, London, on Tuesday 19th. June 2018.
The trial relates to child sexual abuse at their child seminary in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, UK in the 1970’s..