The Scot, as Father David Kinnear Glenday is often called, was once just plain “David” to me, a likeable, witty classmate and a friend. We were last together at the Comboni Missionary Order’s seminary at Mirfield in Yorkshire, England, in the 1960s. We have had quite different lives since those days. David went on to become a Comboni Missionary priest in Uganda. At various times, he was also the United Kingdom’s Provincial Superior, the Provincial Superior of the Order in the Philippines Province, the Superior General of the Order – and latterly the General Secretary of the Union of Superiors General in Rome. The Scot now spends a good deal of his time giving lectures and sermons and arranging and attending conferences. The gregarious, chummy personality that once he was as a youth has clearly been sustained and, undoubtedly, he is most suitable for his current role.

My life was different. I was sexually abused by a priest at the Mirfield Seminary at the time David was also there. I was locked into the infirmary and seriously assaulted twice a day for a fortnight under the pretence of “medical inspections”. I do not know whether or not David was abused in those years. It is not impossible that he was – for countless boys were abused by that priest from the 1950s until 1969 – when the continuous reports of abused seminarians had become so great in number that the Order eventually decided to do something about it. The only punishment for the priest who abused me and so many others for more than a decade was the prize of being sent to an Italian parish in the diocese of Como, Italy, where, presumably, he had access to even more children.

There were other Comboni Missionaries who also abused seminarians in that establishment– as both David and I well know. Their only punishment was being sent to the Missions in Africa where, presumably, they also continued, unchecked and unfettered, their abuse of yet countless other children. Who knows how many other priests of the Order were abusing children in those days – but one thing is certain, the local Provincial, the Vicar General and the Superior General of the Order did know. David Glenday, when he was both a Provincial and when he was Superior General would certainly have known also as he would have had access to the Order’s “Secret Archive” which is held at both the provincial and curia locations of the Order.

In my career, I became a Civil Servant, a Royal Air Force Officer, cultivated my vines, almond and olive trees in Cyprus for a couple of decades, trained German Pointer gundogs and then worked for an international company in London Docklands. Like David, I did end up in the Philippines for some five years also, but not at the same time as him. It all sounds good, but my life was somewhat tumultuous internally as I continuously tried to make sense of it. My path in life was quite different from that of David, but strangely they were also linked at the opposite ends of the same spectrum of the Comboni Order’s history of clerical sexual abuse. They are also paths, which in the half century since we last met, have never veered close to, nor been able to come to terms with each other.

Nevertheless, whilst not having met David since we were school-friends, I follow the comings and goings of the Scot on the internet fairly often and have noticed that he has themes in his events and sermons that he likes to go back to now and then. One is Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector:

 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evil-doers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Christ said, “I tell you that this tax collector, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I sometimes wonder to myself which of these two men does David think that he is: the humble tax gatherer or the arrogant Pharisee. He cannot be both – at least, not at the same time. Of course I would not presume to judge what is in David’s heart and soul – only the Scot can do that. However, I do know many of the things that David – and also his confreres in the Comboni Missionary Order have said and done when confronted with allegations of child sexual abuse. It follows that that same question – are you the Pharisee or the Tax Gatherer – must be posed, not only to David, but to his confreres also. I have to caution David that he and his colleagues must give themselves an honest answer and that to do so, they must recall their individual record where it comes to Child Sexual Abuse. To assist those entwined in this story, I recount the following passages, made by Comboni Missionary spokespersons, from the United Kingdom press for their reflection: –

> “We are concerned and very dismayed to hear of the alleged incidents of sexual and physical abuse”. (Dewsbury Reporter Sep 2013).

> “We have great sadness and regret at the allegations. Given the passage of time of almost half a century, we will never know the truth of what happened”. (Huddersfield Daily Examiner Oct 2014, BBC Leeds and West Yorkshire Oct 2014)

> “There was no evidence of a culture of abuse at the Mirfield seminary”. (Observer Oct 2014)

> “There are priests alive today who were at Mirfield at the time of the alleged abuse, but they have no knowledge of the abuse”. (Observer Oct 2014)

> “The abuse had not been proven”. (BBC Leeds and West Yorkshire Oct 2014)

> “As the allegations related to matters alleged to have occurred around fifty years ago – and the Verona Fathers are unable to identify their insurers from that period – having received legal advice, they decided to explore whether an early negotiated settlement of the claims may be possible in order to keep legal costs to a minimum”. (Greenock Telegraph Nov 2014).

> “We are dismayed by allegations of abuse and have co-operated with Police enquiries – but will not acknowledge that any of the men had been abused despite damages having been awarded”. (Mail On-Line Feb 2015).

> “We know that anyone subjected to abusive behaviour will experience suffering and we are dismayed to think that such suffering may have been caused to youngsters who attended our junior seminary. If that is the case, we are deeply sorry to anyone who has been hurt in this way”. ( The Observer Oct 2014, Mail On-Line Feb 2015)

> “Everything happened an incredibly long time ago and two of the priests who were accused are now deceased. My clients simply don’t know what happened at Mirfield and don’t feel that it can be established now. – There are three other pending cases of alleged sexual abuse of Mirfield pupils by priests”. (The Telegraph, 14th May 2015)

> “It was with great sadness and regret that the Verona Fathers learned that a number of allegations of historical abuse had been made relating to our former junior seminary, St Peter’s, located in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. We condemn unreservedly any action which causes harm or distress to others, particularly children. We know that anyone subjected to abusive behaviour will experience suffering and we are dismayed to think that such suffering may have been caused to youngsters who attended our junior seminary. If that is the case, we are deeply sorry to anyone who was hurt whilst they were in our care at Mirfield and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.” ( The Telegraph, 14th May 2015)

Well the average reader might think, that those comments all sound pretty reasonable for the most part. The problem is that those carefully constructed and sanitized words were dished up for the press to deliberately suggest the Order’s total ignorance and hence, reasonable denial of the abuse. Their deep sorrow “if” it had ever happened suggests that it might not have done. Without saying so directly, those statements also suggested that the Victims of the abuse might be dishonest. However, those Victims know that their accounts of the abuse are true simply because it happened to them – and there are things in life that you do not forget however many years have intervened. Moreover, yes, there may be priests alive today in the Order who were at Mirfield at the time of the abuse who knew nothing of the abuse. That statement to the press was nothing other than a wily subterfuge for there are also priests alive today in the Order who were at Mirfield at the time of the abuse, or soon afterwards, who do know of the abuse and have admitted that they had been told of the abuse! The most stunning miss-match in all those words to the press is that the Order has never actually and directly expressed to the very victims of that abuse their apparent dismay, regret and sorrow for all the suffering and hurt that was inflicted upon them. The Comboni Order has maintained absolute and impregnable silence on such sentiments and have refused all attempts to have a dialogue. There is more yet that must be considered:

> In 1996, following the initial allegations made by a Victim against Father Romano Nardo, a letter was received by his Solicitors from the Comboni Missionary Order to the effect that “the Comboni Missionary Order regarded that they had no legal obligation to compensate the Victim “even if they were minded to do so” because they were prevented from doing so by Charity Commission Rules and that the (United Kingdom) Taxpayers should compensate him.

> In 1997, a Victim received a letter from the Comboni Missionary Order through his solicitors, in which it was conveyed that an Inquiry had taken place and that it had found that the priest alleged to have committed sexual abuse had “acted inappropriately” and that he had expressed regret for the hurt caused to the Victim and had admitted the allegations. Incredibly, the letter from the Verona Fathers’ Solicitors, also announced that the Verona Fathers nevertheless felt that the abuser would be able to return to active ministry in Africa in only a month.

>The words “acted inappropriately” above were David Glenday’s euphemism for the priest’s washing of the 13 year old boy’s naked genitals in a “baptismal rite”, sharing the priests bed nightly and laying upon the priest’s naked body followed by the ritual of the priest breathing the life of the “Spirit” into the boy’s open mouth. This too was in the same room that the priest routinely heard the boy’s confession – and the same room where, on one deeply sacrilegious occasion, punishable with the greatest severity under Canon Law, that the same priest placed his stole around the boy’s neck as the priest confessed to the boy….and I almost forgot, in the midst of this sordid story, the horror the boy experienced when the priest first stripped naked in front of him and the boy was confronted by the scars of a crucifix that had been carved by a sharp instrument into the priest’s naked torso – and which the young boy later tried to emulate himself so as to be closer to the God of this priest.

> In 1999, a Victim informed the West Yorkshire Police of the sexual abuse that had been committed against him by a Comboni Order priest. In response to a letter from the West Yorkshire Police to the Order, the Solicitors, speaking on behalf of the Comboni Missionary Order, stated that the priest, previously fit enough “to return to active ministry in Africa in only a month”, could not now travel to the UK “as he is worn out by many years working in Africa”. Strangely, this inability to travel, did not stop that same priest from travelling long distances to attend church ceremonies within Italy that would have taken far longer than a flight to the United Kingdom. The Order maintained also that this priest was psychologically unable to face the “prospect of a protracted police investigation.” That in itself is no excuse under European law for not travelling to be questioned for alleged sexual offences against children, nevertheless, this Italian Order is able to hide behind the Italian statute of limitations for those alleged offences. I should point out, however, that the Order is bound by their own Code of Conduct and Canon Law to report the sexual abuses by this priest to the Vatican, but they appear not to have done so.

> In 2001, a Victim expressed to the Comboni Missionary Order his wish to meet his abuser in a spirit of conciliation. In a letter from Father Martin Devenish on 11 December 2001, the Victim was informed that his Abuser’s psychologist “felt it would not be convenient to receive the Victim”. In that letter, Father Devenish also stated, without having been asked, that the Comboni Missionaries were a “Mendicant Order” and were too poor to pay costs. (The total assets of the Order in some 40 or so countries have been calculated, nevertheless, to be well in excess of 500,000,000 Pounds Sterling).

> In 2006, a Victim of Father Domenico Valmaggia, wrote to the Comboni Missionary Provincial in an effort to trace Father Valmaggia. He received no reply and so he rang the Provincial Superior, Father John Troy, who said that Father Valmaggia was old and most probably dead. The Victim was provided with no assitance to trace Father Valmaggia by Father John Troy in 2006. At that time, documentation regarding Father Valmaggia existed at both the Provincial and the Roman Curia levels. The inaction of Father John Troy in this regard, at a time when Father Valmaggia was still alive, led to the failure of the Victim to be able to meet Valmaggia, discuss the abuse and record his responses in evidence. Father Valmaggia’s location was known to the Order, however, and when he subsequently died in 2011, his death was published in an official document of the Order.

> In 2010, following a meeting of a Victim with the Safeguarding Co-ordinator of the Wrexham Diocese, the latter agreed to arrange a meeting with Father John Clark, who was, at that time, nominated as the UK Comboni Missionary Safeguarding Co-Ordinator. The purpose was for the Victim to seek an acknowledgement that the abuse had taken place and to obtain a formal apology. The meeting subsequently took place and Father John Clark agreed that such a letter of acknowledgement of the abuse and an apology would be forthcoming and that he would consult Father Martin Devenish on the matter. No letter conveying an apology or acknowledgement was ever received. A letter was received from the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Order later in 2010, however, in which he unconcernedly conveyed little other than “at the end of the day, we are all in God’s hands.”

> In 2011, a Victim of abuse went to Rome to see members of the Curia personally to report the abuses perpetrated against him. The Victim claims that he informed both the Vicar General of the Order, Father Alberto Pelluchi and the General Bursar of the Order, Dr Brother Danielle Giusti. Subsequently, in November 2011, the Victim received a letter from Father Alberto Pelluchi stating that the Order denied all knowledge of any abuse perpetrated at the Mirfield Seminary and noted specifically that Father Robert Hicks, Father John Clark and Mr J M McGovern had stated that they had no knowledge of any cases of abuse. The letter went on to say that Father Pelluchi had conducted a full and exhaustive investigation into the allegations at Mirfield made by the Victim, but that he had never heard or known of any cases of abuse in the Order “ever”, and that the Victim was clearly “deluded”.

> In February 2012, a Victim of abuse by both Fathers Valmaggia and Pinkman, wrote to Father Devenish, the Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionary Order. He received no reply and so he wrote again in November 2012. He received a response from Father Martin Devenish eventually on 13th December 2012 in which the latter stated that Father Fraser “categorically” denied being informed about or was aware of any allegations of abuse by Father Pinkman. (Nevertheless, Father Fraser has admitted in a conversation that he did learn of Father Pinkman’s abuse later).

> Also in February 2012, that same Victim of abuse by both Fathers Valmaggia and Pinkman, informed Father Devenish, the Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionary Order, that he had told Father Hicks of his abuse during confession. Father Devenish stated that Father Hicks “vehemently” denied a knowledge of any allegation against Father Pinkman. (Yet again, Father Hicks had already stated in a separate conversation that he knew of abuse by Father Pinkman).

> In 2013, a Victim received a letter from Kathy Perrin , Solicitor, on behalf of the Comboni Missionary Order, in which she attempted to dissuade him from taking action by communicating that “I note you intend to make a report to the police …However such an investigation may be difficult in this case given Fathers Pinkman and Valmaggia are deceased”.

> In 2014, a Victim of both Fathers Domenico Valmaggia and John Pinkman, tried to establish dialogue with the Order on behalf of the “Mirfield 12” group of Victims. During the discussion, it was suggested by Father Robert Hicks that the sole reason for the allegations of abuse by the “Mirfield 12” was to extract money from the Comboni Missionary Order”.

> In 2014 a Victim, in a state of despair, wrote: “ I have done enough striving and fighting for justice. I am tired of the whole sordid mess. It was in this vein that I rang Rome and asked to speak with Sanchez, the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Order. I explained to the receptionist and then a priest, who I was. I was then informed a couple of minutes later that Sanchez would ring me back. The call never came. I rang again and once again was informed he would ring me back. The call never came. I rang back a third time and was told that he was out. I asked to speak to a priest that spoke English and the phone was put down on me. It was subsequently put down on me the several calls that I made after that”. Being ignored and having the phone put down on me came across as insulting – and I became quite emotional. I had built myself up to offer a hand of peace – an opportunity to leave all this behind, an opportunity to meet Nardo (the Victim’s abuser), and I suspect that there are people who would never understand this – but an opportunity to offer forgiveness to him. That never happened. I was shut out once again.”

> A Victim, following his attempts to contact the Superior General Sanchez of the Order, made a telephone call to Father Robert Hicks in 2014. He thought “naively”, he recollects, that if he explained to Father Hicks his intentions, that he would relay them to Sanchez. Father Hicks made it clear that he could not talk to him and the Victim was told, “I am not allowed to talk to you and that anyway my dinner is on the table and is going cold”. When the Victim protested that he was trying to extend a hand of friendship to the Order, Father Robert Hicks said that he should ring back and speak to Father Martin Devenish, the Provincial Superior.

> A Victim, in a telephone call in 2014 to Father David Glenday, who fills a post at the Vatican, was told by the latter that he was not allowed to talk to him, with the words, “I can listen, but I cannot answer”.

> A Victim in a telephone call in 2014 to Father Martin Devenish was told by the latter that if the Victim rang him again, he would be reported to the Police for harassment.

> At the end of 2014, A Victim, who at the time of writing, is in the process of litigation against the Comboni Missionary Order Priest who relentlessly abused him when he was a child at Mirfield, received a Greeting Card from his Abuser, in which the Abuser wished him a Happy New Year and extended to him his best wishes in the legal case against himself, the Abuser. The only source of the address of the Victim would have been in legal documents forwarded to the Comboni Missionary Order, one of whose members must have passed the information onto the Abuser. This is in direct contradiction of the Comboni Missionary Order’s Code of Conduct and must be seen as a deliberate attempt to suborn or influence the Victim into abandoning his suit.

> Following a visit of a Victim of child sexual abuse to Verona in April 2015 – in order to meet his Abuser, Father Romano Nardo, and obtain an apology from him for the abuse and the Order for his years of harmful treatment, the Comboni Missionary Order stated that they would be sending a letter to the Victim to inform him that they intended to sue him. The Order’s lawyer subsequently preferred charges in the Criminal Court of Verona against the Victim of Child Abuse for trespass, stalking and interfering in the life of the priest accused of child sexual abuse. The Judge threw out the charges as baseless. The Comboni Order appealed to the Court for a review. The Appeal Court threw out the charges once more as baseless. The innocent Victim subsequently had to pay a large sum of money for his legal defence at the Court.

> That same Victim in Verona was threatened with the Police for visiting the Order’s Mother House – and the Vice Superior of the House shouted to the Victim as he left that he, the Victim, and all the other Victims were “money grabbers”.

> In December 2015, a Victim of Child abuse at the Mirfield seminary forwarded the Comboni Missionary Order a 170 page document entitled: “A Text Book For Institutions On How Not To Manage Allegations Of Child Sexual Abuse – And Why The Comboni Missionary Religous Order Of Verona, Italy, Will Deny Allegations Of 1,000 Sexual Crimes Committed Against Boy Seminarians In Their Care At Mirfield, Yorkshire, England. (There has been no response from the Order)!

> On behalf of the Victims of the Mirfield Seminary, a copy of the 170-page document mentioned above was delivered by hand to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in January 2016 by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols. (There has been no response from the Vatican)!

I liked David when he was a lad and I would probably find him quite entertaining even now – but, the record above is not all that good is it? So I must repeat for David the Scot the questions that he and his confreres in the Comboni Missionary Order must each ask of themselves: “Are they the image of the Disciple on the Mount who pushed the child away, or do they believe in the image of Christ, who cherished the innocence of each and every child and who said, “Suffer not little children to come unto me”? Are they the Good Samaritan, or are they the Priest who passed by on the other side of the road? Are they the humble Tax Gatherer who prayed and repented with a bowed head , or are they the Pharisee who, with his head held high, chuntered tediously and arrogantly of his good deeds?









I’m So Ashamed Says Comboni Missionaries Priest as Walls Crumble

Comboni Missionaries

Brian Hennessy, one of the Mirfield 12, has worked very hard to put all our information together in a document called “The Comboni MIssionary Order of Verona, Italy and Their Response to Child Sexual Abuse”. It documents all instances of abuse, the abusers and those in the Order who were told about the abuse.

It also documents the Comboni Missionaries own rules and procedures, as regards sexual abuse by clerics, and shows how they did not follow them properly.

It shows what the procedures that the Catholic Church have recommended be followed in instances of clercial child sexual abuse. He shows how they didn’t follow those either.

Home Office Panel

The document is a masterpiece and will be presented to the Home Office Panel on Insitutional Child Sexual Abuse which has been set up by Government Minister Theresa May and will investigate the Comboni Missionaries. It is an encyclopaedia of our case and the abuse by the Comboni Missionaries at Mirfield.

After sending the document out for correction to those amongst us involved, he then sent it out to UK Catholic Bishops and to the leadership of the Comboni Missionaries asking for comment. None was forthcoming so he sent it out to 800 individual Comboni Missionaries.

The case is compelling.

One Decent Comboni Missionary

He got abusive responses from two Comboni Missionaries who hadn’t even read it. There’s none so blind as those that won’t see. There’s none so deaf as those that won’t hear. However, one Comboni Missionary took time out to read the whole document. It took him three hours.

Afterwards he emailed Brian back with the words “I am so ashamed”. With his Vow of Obedience, this is a very brave man. We won’t give his name or any indication of whom he is.

Parallel Universe

It just shows you that the truth will out. It will have its day. One sometimes wonders if one is living in a parallel universe, where the rules are all different.

Sometimes, in this parallel unverse, it seems that the ‘wrongdoers’ are those who have been abused rather than those who abused and those who have, and are, covering it up.

This is not just true amongst the Comboni Missionaries but even amongst some of the Boys, themselves, some of whom were even abused themselves.

Theology Lessons

There were only 3 replies to Brian’s email, two negative and one positive. We don’t know what the other 797 think. However, we would reckon that there must be at least a few more decent men amongst these 800 ‘holy men’ who can recognize right from wrong – especially after so many lessons in Theology.

The current attitude of the Comboni Missionaries (and some of their apologists amongst the Boys) to Mark Murray and the other members of the Mirfield 12 cannot last forever.

They won’t apologize and they won’t even admit that the abuse took place even though Brian’s tome documents more than 1,000 instances of sexual abuse on 18 different boys by several different Comboni Missionary priests over two decades.

Father Enrique Sanchez

This rotten edifice, this lie that is the Comboni Missionaries, will surely come tumbling down. “I’m so ashamed” said this decent Comboni Missionary. He shouldn’t be. It wasn’t he who perpetrated the abuse. It wasn’t he who covered it up. However, he knows some people who did – and it goes right to the very top of the Order.

Father Sanchez, Tear down those walls!

Tear down those walls!

Mark Murray Meets his Comboni Missionaries Abuser at Last

Mark Murray’s Abuser

Many, many years ago, in a seminary in Mirfield, Yorkshire, run by the Comboni Missionaries, Mark Murray was repeatedly abused by a priest of that Order whilst he was just 14 years of age.

The priest’s name was Father Romano Nardo. There was an element of masochism, too, as Nardo scratched a cross on his own chest and that of Mark Murray as well.

Nardo was there from Italy till the summer of that year to learn English before being transferred to the English-speaking Missions in Uganda.

Missions in Uganda

Mark was regularly in Nardo’s room being abused for four months. He was spotted by another priest coming out of Nardo’s room at 6am. Shortly afterwards, Nardo was transferred to the Missions in Uganda a couple of months early.

The abuse has severely affected Mark’s life and that of his family. In the late Nineties, Mark reported Nardo to the order and they promptly brought him back from the Missions in Uganda after 20 years service there.

They told Mark that Nardo would never be allowed access to children again. They moved him to one of their buildings in Verona, Italy.

West Yorkshire Police

Mark also reported his abuse to West Yorkshire police. In the late Nineties they tried to get Nardo extradited to be interviewed and to face charges. However, this request was turned down by the Comboni Missionaries saying that Nardo wasn’t mentally able to be interviewed over it.

Despite this, Mark has pictures of Nardo concelebrating mass many years after that.

Mark has asked to meet Nardo many times. He has also asked for an apology from the order. He has been in touch with the No. 1 Comboni Missionary in England, Father Martin Devenish, who told him he would get the police onto him.

Comboni Missionaries

He contacted Father Enrique Sanchez, who is head of the Comboni Missionaries worldwide, but was rebuffed by him too. He also contacted Father David Glenday, the ex-head of the Comboni Missionaries, who now has a senior position at the Vatican. He asked Mark to write a letter to Father Sanchez. This got him no further.

It was at an impasse. The Comboni Missionaries not only refused to apologise but would not even admit that any abuse had taken place.

This is despite there being over 1,000 documented instances of abuse of 18 boys in the Sixties and Seventies at the seminary in Mirfield by several different priests and a lay preacher.

Verona Fathers Trip

So, Mark decided to take the matter into his own hands.

A few weeks ago, Mark decided to fly to Verona to try to meet his abuser in person. After all, he knew where he was.

Instead of just doing that he was advised to contact the local press there – otherwise he could end up in an Italian police cell. A bunch of local priests would be more likely to be believed than he would be.

It’s just as well that he did as the Comboni Missionaries were not only unsympathetic but they accused him of being drunk and called the police.

La Repubblica Newspaper

Luckily, though, Mark had contacted La Repubblica, a major newspaper in Italy.

They gave him a camera disguised as a wrist watch – and so he had evidence of what took place – and that he wasn’t drunk.

When Mark arrived, he asked reception if he could go into the chapel there. After a while, he plucked his courage and asked reception if he could speak to Father Romano Nardo. She went to fetch him.

When Nardo came out, he knew who Mark was within seconds.

You can find the La Repubblica article and the videos of the meeting between Mark and Nardo by clicking on Comboni Missionaries Abuser Meeting

There is a not very good Google Translate into English version here

Channel 4 News

Mark was later interviewd by Channel 4 Television in the UK.

After all of this, the Comboni Missionaries have still not apologized, still do not admit any abuse took place and have moved Nardo to another location in case he is harmed by Mark Murray.

Indeed, they are threatening to sue Mark.

When will they ever learn!

When will they ever learn!

If you want any further information on Mark’s case or any of the other abuse cases at Mirfiled, ust contact us.



Comboni Missionaries Defy Pope Francis on Child Abuse

Comboni Missionaries and Pope Francis

Pope Francis, last weekend, said that the aftermath of child abuse is enough to make one “cry out loud”. He was replying to fellow Argentine and anti-paedophile campaigner, Roberto Plazza.

Pope Francis then said that preventing child abuse is the main objective of his special child protection commission.

He has shown that he is serious about tackling child abuse by clerics several times recently. He has defrocked several priests for child abuse. He also had Polish Archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, arrested in the Vatican for allegedly abusing children. That was the first ever arrest inside the Vatican for alleged child abuse.

It has cost the Catholic Church billions all over the world in the last few years. However, Pope Francis is tackling it head on. He has aplogised for the abuse several times. He has also stiffened punsihments for paedophilia in the Holy See’s laws.

Missionari Comboniani

So, what about the Comboni Missionaries? Are they following Pope Francis’s lead? Are they ruthlessly exposing and hunting down paedophile’s in their midst? Are they having paedophiles arrested?

Not a bit of it!

They are still obfuscating and dragging their feet.

They recently paid out £120,000 to 11 boys who accused Comboni Missionaries’ priests of sexual abuse of minors. However, they were very grudging about it. They said that, as they weren’t insured at the time, this was just the cheapest option. They said that as two of the priests were dead it would never be known what happened 50 years ago at Mirfield.

Father Romano Nardo

Two of those are dead. However, there is one still alive, Father Roman Nardo. When Mark Murray contacted the Comboni Missionaries in 1996 to tell them about the abuse perpertrated on him over 20 years before, the Comboni MIssionaries investigated it.

They decided that Father Romano should be removed immediately from Uganda where he had worked for 26 years. In 1970, just after Mark Murray was seen coming out of Father Nardo’s room in Mirfield at 6am by another priest, Father Nardo was sent immediately to the Missions in Uganda, before the time he was due to be sent there.

Crimes Have Been Committed

West Yorkshire Police have investigated the abuse accusations against Father john Pinkman, Father Domenico Valmaggia and Father Romano Nardo and announced that they believed that crimes had been committed. They would have sought the arrests of Father Valmaggia and Father Pinkman if they were still alive.

They requested that the Comboni Missionaries send Father Romano Nardo to the UK for questioning as regards the abuse accusations from the Comboni Missionaries house in Verona where he is resident.

Father Enrique Sanchez turned that down point blamk saying he was not in a fit mental condition to travel nor answer questions. However, he was mentally fit enought to say mass just a few years ago.


The Comboni Missionaries, despite paying out £120,000 have admitted nothing. They have refused to apologise. They never reported any incidents to the police (like Pope Francis did) even though they were told about it multiple times at the time. They are refusing to hand over a priest for questioning to the UK police.

Not only are they out of step with the times, they are out of step with Pope Francis.

The Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries worldwide is Father Enrique Sanchez, He is refusing to hand Father Nardo over.

Father David Glenday

However, there is an even higher ranked Comboni Missionary in the Catholic Church and that is ex-Superior General, Father David Glenday, who has such a high position in the Vatican that he is in regular touch with Pope Francis. He must know Pope Francis’s thoughts on child abuse.

It’s about time that the Comboni Missionaries came round and adpoted the new Catholic Church policy on child abuse.

2015 would be a good time to start.

Note:- The Comboni Missionaries are known as Missionari Comboniani in Italy, Misioneros Combonianos in Spanish speaking countries, Comboni-Missionare in Germany, Missionaires Comboniens in French speaking countries and Missionarios Combonianos in Portunguese speaking countries.

Comboni Missionaries | Christmas 2014 Appeal

Comboni Missionaries Christmas Appeal

They are known in English-speaking countries as the Comboni MIssionaries (ex-Verona Fathers), in Italy as Missionari Comboniani, in Spanish-speaking countries as Misioneros Combonianos, in German-speaking countries as Comboni-Missionare and in Portuguese-speaking countries as Missionarios Combonianos.

They have, in 2014, paid out £120,000 to 11 men who claimed to have been abused by Comboni Missionaries, Father John Pinkman, Father Domenico Valmaggia and Father Romano Nardo at their seminary in Mirfield in Yorkshire in the Sixties and Seventies.

Misioneros Combonianos

However, whatever the language, the one thing that Missionarios Combonianos have not done is apologise. As even little children know, if you don’t apologise, it means that you don’t think that you have anything to apologise for.

This is despite the current Superior General, Father (Padre) Enrique Sanchez, the boss of the Comboni Missionaries, admitting to Mark Murray that they brought Father Roman Nardo home in 1997, after 27 years in Uganda, after Mark’s accusations of abuse against him. He assured Mark that father Nardo was now under house arrest in a home for the sick in Verona and would be allowed no access to children.

Missionari Comboniani

And, yet, there has been no apology from Padre Enrique Sanchez or previous bosses of Missionari Comboniani like Father (Padre) David Glenday. Indeed, Missionari Comboniani are saying, callously, that paying out 120 grand to those accusing them of abuse, and the cover-up of abuse, was just the cheapest option for them. That really is a kick in the groin to those whose groins were so abused by Comboni Missionaries when they were just 11, 12, 13 and 14  years of age.

The same defence was used by Michael Jackson, and his representatives, when they paid out $20m to the father of a boy who accused Michael Jackson of abuse.


The closest that anyone from Misioneros Combonianos has come to apologising has been Father Martin Devenish, head of the Order in Britain who said  “We know that anyone subjected to abusive behaviour will experience suffering and we are dismayed to think such suffering may have been caused to youngsters who attended our junior seminary. If that is the case, we are deeply sorry to anyone who has been hurt in this way.”

However, there are a dozen, or more, men who were at the seminary as youngsters, who believe that the ‘if’ needs to be removed. There was no ‘if’ when they were being abused by Padre John Pinkman, Padre Domenico Valmaggia and Padre Romano Nardo of the Comboni Missionaries.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has already apologised for the rampant abuse perpertrated on Catholic boys by priests of the Catholic Church. The Franciscans have already apologised to 14 boys abused by priests of their Order, to whom they had already paid out millions of dollars.

By not apologising, Missionarios Combonianos are out of step with the rest of the Catholic Church as far up as its very leader.

Missionarios Combonianos

2014 was the year that the Comboni Missionaries paid out £120,000 to 11 boys who were at their seminary in Mirfield. Despite what they said, those ‘boys’ have taken this as tacit admission that the abuse occurred.

Now, 2015 must be the year when the Comboni Missionaries, finally, apologise not only for the abuse that occurred but for decades of cover-up of the abuse at the very highest levels of the Order.

The longer they delay, the less any apology will be believed as being sincere.

This is the Christmas Appeal of the Mirfield 12 to the Comboni Missionaries on Christmas Day 2014.

Happy Christmas to everyone!

Let’s make it a better 2015!

Let’s make it the year that it is all over!

That would be better for everyone!

Let’s make it the year that everyone moves on!