Questions for Comboni Missionaries on Clerical Sexual Abuse

Comboni Missionaries

Some of us are very confused as to the reactions of the Comboni Missionaries to accusations of clercial sexual abuse by priests at their seminaries of boys as young as 11. Here are some questions for them. If they want to answer them for us we will gladly publish their answers.

Questions for Comboni Missionaries

Do you agree that sexually abusing young boys is a sin?

Do you agree that not acting on reports of sexual abuse is a sin – especially when the abuser continued to abuse children after you had been told?

Do you agree that sexual abuse of young boys is a crime?

Which course of action do you agree is most appropriate when you have been told that a crime, i.e. sexual abuse of a minor, has been committed:-

a) You report the crime to the police or

b) You hide the crime from the police and you protect the person who has committed the crime?

Psychological Damage

Do you agree that young boys who have been sexually abuse by priests will be psychologically damaged by it?

If the police contact you with questions about sexual abuse perpetrated at a seminary where your order operates do you:-

a) Tell them all you know about the crime (for that is what it is) or

b) Tell them that you know nothing about it (when you did)

If a boy tells you that a criminal act has been perpetrated on him by one of your priests do you:-

a) Report this accusation of a crime immediately to the police

b) Bring the priest home from the missions, hide him away in a Comboni Missionary house in Italy, tell the boy that the priestwill  no longer have access to children and tell the boy that he you are sorry and that he is in your prayers?

Aiding the Police

If the police want to ask questions to a priest who has been accused of sexual abuse do you:-

a) Tell the police “We will help you in any way we can” or

b) Refuse the police permission to interview the accused priest telling them that he is not mentally able to answer questions

Do you belive that the correct response when a crime is commited is to:-

a) Report the crime to the police

b) Hide the perpetrator of the crime?

Jesus Christ

Jesus said “Suffer little children to come unto me”.

What do you think that Jesus would have said if he had been told that some of his followers were sexually abusing young boys?

Lastly, are you happy with the way that you and your order acted when told about child sex abuse at the hands of your priests?

Are you happy with the way that they are continuing to act when they have overwhelming knowledge of crimial acts by members of your order?

When contacted by journalists about these crimes are you comfortable telling the press that “We will never know what happened all those years ago?”

Ninth Commandment

Are you aware of the 9th commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbour”? Do you remember you used to teach us about Sins of Omission? Does this not cover this?

In this whole matter which does the Coomboni Missionaries resemble most:-

1) A responsible, godly organisation which respects those put under its command and respects the laws of the land

2)  The Mafia with its code of Omerta?

the cover up of sexual abuse against children goes right to the top of the Comboni missionaries Order. As regards the Comboni Missionaries, their actions, their leaders and those who are amongst them, Jesus once said “By their Followers Ye Shall Know them”.

Are your actions in this matter more akin to:-

a)  The actions of those who want justice and the rule of law upheld

b) The actions of those who want to preserve as much of the wealth and reputation of the Order no matter the rights and wrongs of the matter?

Meeting Your Maker

Lastly, when you meet your maker, do you think he might mention your part in covering up the sexual abuse of young boys as young as 11 years of age and the mental damage your order did to them and which is continuing to affect many of them?

When you meet your maker, you will not be able to equivocate like a Jesuit by using Canon Law.

You may think that the needs of your order and the needs of the Catholic Church are above the laws of the land.

You may find that different on Judgment Day!

Members of your order abused children in their care. There is overwhelming evidence of it. You are still covering this up till this day?

Do you never feel any shame?

How can you continue to go out and give Catholics moral advice when you have helped cover up terrible crimes that would have had Jesus in a rage?

Foundations of abuse at Comboni Missionaries seminary in Mirfield

Comboni Missionaries

During the 1960s and 70s, and possibly into the 1980s, priests and brothers of the Comboni Missionary Order (formerly Verona fathers) sexually abused children as young as 11 years of age at their seminary in Mirfield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

A group of ex seminarians, The Mirfield 12, have successfully prosecuted a civil case against the Comboni Missionaries: a legal case remains outstanding. More ex seminarians abused by Comboni Missionaries have now come forward to pursue both legal and civil actions.

A culture of abuse existed at the Comboni Missionaries seminary in Mirfield. All of the abused have struggled to come to terms with the experience and to understand how it came about. Our concern was not only about the individuals who perpetrated the abuse but also the organisations which allowed this to happen, and is to this day in denial that any abuse took place.

A 2013 report from CEOP ‘The Foundations of Abuse:
A thematic assessment of the risk of child sexual abuse by adults in institutions’
provides some telling analysis of the way institutions operate to produce such fertile ground for child sexual abuse to take place. The key findings are below.

Key Findings

1) Children in institutional settings are not only at risk from adults who are inclined to abuse them sexually; but also from adults who either fail to notice abuse or, if they do, fail to report it.

2) Where institutions put their own interests ahead of those of the children who engage with them, abusive behaviours are likely to become normalised, potentially leading to sexual abuse.

3) The culture within an institution has a strong influence on the degree to which abuse might occur within it. Poor leadership, closed structures, ineffective policies and procedures together with the discouragement of reporting, facilitates a malign climate which colludes with those inclined to sexually abuse children.

4) Where institutions are held in high regard and respected by the communities they serve, positional grooming can be perpetuated, whereby offenders conduct social or environmental grooming and mask their actions by virtue of their formal positions within an organisation.

5) Potential risks from those with a sexual interest in children who pursue work in institutions can be mitigated by vigilant and effective leadership and management.

6) Intense loyalty and conformity of workers to the mission, norms and values of an institution can inhibit them from reporting concerns.

7) The historic nature of many cases currently exercising media attention, together with developments in safeguarding, might give a false perception that this type of offending can no longer occur. Offenders continue to exploit systemic vulnerabilities where they exist.

The full report can be accessed here

Boy X – It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault

Comboni Missionaries Abuse

In his last post, Boy X, who had been terribly sexually abused by FatherJohn Pinkman and who was psychologically terrorised by Father Ceresoli (now Bishop Ceresoli) said the reason he remains anonymous is:-

“I sometimes wonder what my friends thought of me. I never told any of them what was going on. I was too ashamed to do that. I still feel shame and that’s the main reason I’ve always writen anonymously. I think I may have eventually said who I am but I wrote about what I was doing in London.

“How do I tell my friends I did that? I can’t. I wish I had never writen it.”

Evil Missionari Comboniani

Boy X, let me tell you what they would say. They would be sympathetic. Their blame (and horror) would all go onto the Comboni Missionaries, to Father John Pinkman and all those up to the highest level of the order who covered it up and are covering it up now.

I know!

At the time, we all thought that it was just happening to us. I only discovered a few months ago that it was also happening to me best freind there at the time. Neither of us told each other.

Comboni Missionaries Reunion Old Boys

At a reunion, organised by ourselves in 2006, we started talking about the abuse and it was clear that more than haf of those who were present had been abused by Fr Pinkman and / or Father Domenico Valmaggia.

I’ll bet that the same thing was happening to one, or more, of your friends. Few stayed out of the clutches of both of these evil men.

To help expose the Comboni Missionaries, and to help others, I decided to waive the anonymity that I am legally entitled to and allow my name to be used in The Observer, the Liverpool Echo and my local paper in Scotland, the Greenock  Telegraph.

Clerical Sexual Abuse

With the last one, especially, I was very nervous about the reaction of people – even my family, who didn’t know.

The response was overwhelmingly postive to me and there was complete revulsion towards the Comboni Missionaries.

No one blames the 11-14 year old boy. All blame the adult priests and those who have continued to cover up their crimes.

Not Your Fault

Legally, it’s not yor fault Boy X. I ‘ve checked with my barrister sister on this.

Also, morally, it is not yoru fault either.

You are blaming yourself, Boy X when you shouldn’t.

You say that you are ashamed of what you have done.

You shouldn’t!

Goodwill Hunting

I don’t know if you, or other readers, have seen the film Goodwill Hunting. In it, the character Matt Damon had an abusive foster father and was screwed up and angry (as well as bing very bright).

The character played by Robin Williams was charged with getting inside him to help rid him of his demons. It was proving difficult till this short scene. I strongly recommend you watch it ,Boy X, and other readers.

Goodwill Hunting – It’s Not Your Fault

Boy X, it’s true!

It’s not your fault!

It’s not your fault!

You’re one o fus now. You’re one of a community. We didn’t avoid it either.

What happened later was becasue of it. Two evil men destroyed your self esteem.

Freedom Time

It’s time to free yourself, to free yourself from the prison you built yourself inside your mind becasue of the abuse you suffered from evile men.

It’s time to open the prison door on those parts of your character that you locked away 50 years ago. The only person keeping them inside is yourself.

Come on, Boy X. Open those doors and let them out.

There’s no shame attached to you.

It’s not your fault!

It’s not your fault!

Read By X’s story by Clicking on Boy X’s Story

Boy X, it’s THEIR fault!

It’s ALL their fault!

Disclosure and Abuse

What does someone do with that type of information?

Well this someone sat on the fence.

Could it have been the casual way that the abuse was talked about and the seeming insignificance of some of the acts, such as inappropriate touching, that made my feelings ebb and flow?  Normally in our house disclosure and abuse are talked about in professional but passionate terms.  These conversations draw deep feelings of revulsion and anger towards the perpetrator and compassion and sadness for the victim.  So could it be that it was the time lapse or the almost flippant way that these things were talked about that made me non committal?

I now realise that perhaps people that have held onto this for such a long period of time and in this unique environment, need to test the water or even that our indoctrination by the church still pervades to the point of denial (it is better to bury our heads in the sand than to confront the awful reality of what was being said).  It was only at further reunions when more disclosures were made, generally in the same casual manner, but by closer friends, that I started to feel strongly that I had to do something.

But what?