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 and Pope Francis on Clerical Abuse

 Comboni Missionaries

By Brian Hennessy

In early 2012, Danny Sullivan was appointed as the Chairman of NCSC following the resignation of Baroness Patricia Scotland. In June 2014, he attended the Mass in Santa Marta, presided over by Pope Francis, and he listened to the Homily in which the new Pope demonstrated, in abundantly clear language, his sorrow at the failings of the Catholic Church in the pressing matter of Child Sexual Abuse.

He heard the Pope seek forgiveness of the victims of abuse for their suffering, for the failure of Church leaders to understand their torment or to believe their complaints and reports of abuse.

He stated categorically that there was no place for any cleric in the Church who had committed such “diabolical” acts.

Pope Francis, a practical diocesan Shepherd all his life, untainted by the dogmatic and defensive rituals of the Roman Curia, took responsibility in a way that none of his predecessors had done – and he set a new tone by outlining his determination to act comprehensively and speedily to rectify the issues that had, quite literally, brought the once mighty Roman Catholic Church to its knees by a loss of credibility and respectability – and the loss of the demonstrable practice of its basic virtues of love and charity that had always been its declared mission.

Sins of the Fathers

It so happened that in mid October, just a short while after that homily of Pope Francis, that an article, “Sins of the Fathers”, written by Catherine Deveney, appeared in the UK’s mainstream Daily Newspaper, The Observer.

The text recorded details of the trauma and suffering that clerical sexual abuse, perpetrated by Priests of the Comboni Missionary Order against child seminarians, had been caused to the victims during the abuse and throughout their subsequent lifetimes.

Missionari Comboniani

The article also highlighted the “response” by the spokespersons of the Comboni Missionary Order.

That response was significant in that it was diametrically opposed to everything that Pope Francis had said.

The Comboni Missionary Order cast doubt on the veracity of the signed victim and witness’s statements of more than a dozen ex-seminarians who had been in their care.

They stated, in effect, that the small payments made to those who had lodged a legal case against the Order were not compensation, but merely a “business” arrangement.

They stated that, in contradiction of the claims by the victims that the fully documented reports, said to have been made to Priests and Superiors by the victims at the time of the abuse, were untrue.

Comboni Missionaries View of Mirfield12

One priest, to whom historic reports had been made, claimed, in a conversation face to face with one of the victims that the complaints that had been made were only about “money” – and he had emphasised that point by rubbing his thumb and forefinger together in a grubby and insulting denial.

Three other priests have refused to speak to a Victim who was trying to establish a dialogue with members of the Order.

That same Victim has been denied, by the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Order, the request by the West Yorkshire Police for the extradition to the United Kingdom of a priest of the Order to face charges of child sexual abuse.

Danny Sullivan

A week later, in a letter to the same Observer Newspaper, Danny Sullivan, the Chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, commented on the Observer article, “Sins of the Fathers” with a caution, which, in retrospect, appears both scathing and mocking. He said that the response by members of the Comboni Missionary Order to the Child Sexual Abuse Victims, predated upon by Priests of that Order, demonstrated just how far the Clerics of the Catholic Church had yet to travel to get their act in order (my paraphrase).

Danny Sullivan does not lead an organisation opposed to the Catholic Church, nor is he seeking to trample upon everything for which the Catholic Church stands.

He heads up an organisation that works on behalf of UK Catholicism – in an organisation set up by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales – to promote the safeguarding of children in line with the principles of the Cumberlege Commission Report “Safeguarding with Confidence” (July 2007).

That Commission was set up in response to Lord Nolan’s Report, “A Programme For Action” (2001) – and his later “Final Report” – which has been adopted worldwide as the “gold standard” for child safeguarding.

Child Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults

We know where Danny Sullivan stands on matters of Child Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults.

We, ‘The Mirfield 12’, stand beside Danny and his aims. Danny Sullivan also stands shoulder to shoulder with Pope Francis. Presumably, even Padre Enrique Sanchez would concede that Pope Francis is on the side of God!

Yet, we remain totally mystified as to where the Superior General of the Comboni Missionary Order, Padre Enrique Sanchez himself, stands!

There is an old maxim – “If you are not for us, then you are against us”! Presumably, by deduction, Padre Enrique Sanchez will be able to work out in his own mind with whom we think that he and his entourage stand!

Suffice it to say, that if Padre Enrique Sanchez and his confreres do not yet know right from wrong and good from bad – and are unable to discern truth from lies – then both he – and, individually, they – are in the wrong job!

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!