My Favourite Comboni Missionary – Father Cerea

Father Cerea

Some of the priests we only rarely saw outside class. Virtually our only contact with them was when they taught us. Some of them lived mainly in the old house, which was where the Bronte sisters used to go to school and later taught.

It looked very nice and comfortable there but we generally only got in there to clean it. The library and TV room (which we didn’t get to see much) was just inside the old house as was the infirmary and Fr. Valmaggio’s surgery.

Fr. Cerea live in that part.

He taught History and Latin.

We didn’t do Latin until second year so it was only History he taught us in first year. I didn’t hit it off with him at all at first. Whenever he asked me questions I wasn’t able to answer. It was more nerves than not knowing the answer, although it was sometimes both. There were three of us, Kevin Benn was another, who were considered the dunces in the History class.

Luckily Fr Cerea had read the report from my school which was good and he frequently said that he couldn’t understand the difference in performance in his class and what he had expected from me – otherwise I might just rotted there as I had completely lost confidence.

Sent to the Front

One day, after I couldn’t answer another question he suddenly said “come up here” and he put me into a desk right at the front of the class. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. There was a sea change in my performance in History. Suddenly from being one of the dunces I was up at the top of the class.

I remembered virtually everything he said from then on and got on with Fr Cerea very well. Indeed I was sometimes accused by one boy of being his pet. He was almost like a father to me (with a small ‘f). History became my favourite subject and Fr. Cerea my favourite teacher. It pleased him a lot that I remembered everything that he said next time round.

One boy, in particular, never used to like it. He was always top of the class overall at the end of the year and was a good hard studier and it annoyed him more than a little that I avoided studying at all costs.

Extra Point

I remember one time Fr Cerea was so pleased at an answer I gave him that he said he was going to add on a full extra mark at the next test we did. I didn’t really understand about the mark. Was it an extra mark at the next class test we would get or the end of the year exams. I wasn’t sure, didn’t enquire and didn’t really care as it wasn’t a big deal to me.

However, it was a big deal to this boy. He mentioned it a few times to me saying that it wasn’t right or fair for me to be given an extra mark in a test for something I got right in the class.

He even came up to me when we were on our walk to enquire about it and whether I thought it was fair or not. I don’t think anybody else in the class cared except this boy, and I certainly didn’t care if I got an extra mark or not. What was most important to me was that Fr Cerea was delighted by what I had done and that was far more important to me than a mark in an exam.

Favourite Son

As I said, he felt almost like a father to me and I looked forward to his classes and, to be honest, he treated me like a favourite son and always smiled with great pride when I got a hard question right.

It was a very important relationship to me. I’m sure some people reading this will be thinking “I wonder if there’s something funny about all of this” but there wasn’t on either side. It was just a favourite teacher / favourite pupil relationship.

When you are living away from home at the age of eleven you need something like this. Looking back, I was very lucky. Even away from home I inherited a father. There were loads of other sad, lonely boys who never did. There weren’t enough priests to go around and many of them weren’t interested in this kind of relationship anyway.

This made it easier for Fr Pinkman, whose job in charge of the junior boys gave him close contact with the youngest of the boys in the school between the ages of 11 and 13.

Lured Into Pinkie’s Net

Perhaps if I hadn’t had that father / son relationship with Fr Cerea I might more easily have been lured into Pinkie’s net that many of the other small boys were lured into. I did want to get on with Pinkie as he was our appointed father who had to be shared by about 55 boys in the junior school. The fact that the other priests didn’t see much of us outside class made it very easy for him.

I got on pretty well with Pinkie in first year – but perhaps I wasn’t quite ready yet. The technical definition of a paedophile is someone who has sex with someone below the age of puberty. That wasn’t Pinkie as far as I know. It was under-age boys who had just reached puberty that he had an appetite for – and this fox was in sole control of the whole hen coop at St. Peter Claver College.

The boys he did lure in, many of them were very badly hurt by it even into later years of their lives. Some were never fixed.

However, there were others still who Pinkie didn’t lure but who weren’t able to have a father / son relationship with any of the priests there. The senior boys and junior boys were kept apart and led mostly separate lives, unable to talk to each other except at certain times. Some of the junior boys of eleven and twelve must have been lonely. After a while the other boys there became their brothers and so that relationship must have helped them through.

My emotions about the place are mixed but mostly positive. There were a lot of good things about it.

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Comboni Missionaries |The Rise and Fall of My Vocation

Comboni Missionaries

This website was set up, originally, so that people could post their memories of the Comboni Missionaries (ex-Verona Fathers) and especially of their seminary in Mirfield from the early sixties to the mid eighties.

It has been dominated, recently, by bad memories of the appalling sexual abuse perpetrated by Comboni Missionary priests on young boys as young as 11 in their care. The cover up by the Comboni Missionaries continues to this day.

I had set down my memories of Mirfield and the seminary of St Peter Claver at Mirfield, Yorkshire a few years ago. I haven’t done anyting with them. They have just been lying in my Word folder, although I have sent them to a few of the ex-Boys.

Good and Bad Memories

What I’ve decided to do is to serialise them here. There are good memories and bad memories. I hope they entertain you.

It, also, shows the methods that Father Pinkman and Father Valmaggia used to lure, and groom, young boys. At the time I thought I was the only one. Now, it seems, that it was rife.

I have learned, that someone that I considered my best friend at Mirfield, Frank McGinnis, was being abused by Father Pinkman. I learned this around fifty years after the events took place – although he said some things to me, at the time, about it which I wodered at and didn’t understand at the time – but it seems obvious what he was talking about now.

I’ll publish the first episode shortly.

Paedophile Priests / Great Friendships

Incidentally, if anyone has any good memories of Mirfield, please send them in to us and we’ll publish them.

To me, it was a place with some bad memories but also lots of good memories. I made lots of friendships there – as well as being chased by paedophile priests.

Let’s hear your memories, good and bad.

Comboni Missionaries | Were You Abused by Them?

Comboni Missionaries

For the past few years we have been compiling a list of those that were abused by the Comboni MIssionaries at their seminaries in the UK and especially at St Peter Claver’s College, Roe Head Mirfield from the early Sixties to the mid- Eighties.

Some of us have sued the Comboni Missionaries and they have settled with us outside court rather than go to court. However, two things that they have refused to do – admit that abuse took place and apologise.

So, the fight continues.

Publicity

We have had some success in publicising what happend all those years ago and the extent of the cover up then and now.

There have been articles in the Sunday Observer, Daily Mail Online, Liverpool Echo, Greenock Telegraph (front page), Mifield Reporter and on BBC Yorkshire amongst others.

West Yorkshire Police have investigated and are confident that ‘a crime has been committed’ and that if Father Pinkman and Father Valmaggia were alive then ‘arrests would be made’.

Comboni Missionaries Cover Up

They also want to interview Father Nardo Romano who is accused of abusing Mark Murray and other boys on multiple occasions. However, the very top of the Order has refused that request saying that he the paedophile priest is not mentally fit to answer questions. That is very convenient.

This is despite the Order telling Mark Murray, when he made the accusations, that Father Romano was being brought back from teh missions in Uganda immediately and would never be allowed to be near children again. If they did that, they must have had at least a slight suspicon that it was true. He is now ‘holed up’ at their house in Verona.

The Comboni Missionaries never reported any of the this to the police as they are required to do.  In the UK, the Government is plannning to make it a crime with up to five years in prison for not reporting suspicions of child abuse to the police.

Home Office Panel on Child Sexual Abuse

In the UK they have set up a Home Office Panel to investigate Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. The Comboni Missionaries actions come under that remit, the Home Office panel has decided. Comboni Missiories will be asked to attend and be legally bound to comply.

We are putting together evidence to put to the Panel.

Already, we have uncovered, and documented, hundreds of incidents of child abuse at Mirfield by Comboni Missionary priests.

However, we think that this is still the tip of the iceberg.

It is most important that we get all the evidence that we can. This is a one-off and there will never be another opportunity.

Your Evidence Needed

If you were abused at Mirfield, or elsewhere, by the Comboni Missionaries, this would be the time to let us know. If you know of anyone that was abused by them please let us know. If you have any knowledge or suspicons of any sexual abuse incidents please let us know.

Your evidence will be kept in whatever confidence that you want.

Anyone who was abused is entitled to anonymity in any investigation and newspapers are not legally allowed to use their names.

Don’t let the Comboni Missionaris get away with it.

We need your help – and we need your help now!

Abused by Father Valmaggia, I Got Father Pinkman Removed Instantly

Comboni Missionaries

Francis Barnes has told us his story and it is in the Boys’ Stories Section.

He reveals how he was abused by Father Domenico Valmaggia and managed to resist Father John Pinkman’s advances.

He also says that other priests must have known what had happened and reveals how Father Fulvi helped him to put his case together before handing it over to a weeping Father John Fraser.

Read it here by clicking on Francis Barnes’s Story

Abuse Woven Into British Fabric of Society says Theresa May

British Child Abuse

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has warned that Child Sex Abuse is ‘woven, covertly, into the fabric of British society’.

That’s both an astonishing, and very worrying, claim.

She has just announced that a new Home Office judge-led enquiry will look into child sex abuse BEFORE the 1970s.

Previously it had been only going to look at institutional child sex abuse from 1970 onwards.

Comboni Missionaries Abuse

This means that all child sex abuse perpetrated by the Comboni Missionaries in the UK  now comes under the remit of the enquiry.

That comes as very good news for those who were victims of abuse in the 1950s and 1960s in the UK at Comboni Missionaries seminaries.

It’s bad news for the Comboni Missionaries abusers and those that were, and are, involved in covering it up.

Tip of the Iceberg

Indeed, Theresa May stated that the public are not aware, yet, of the full extent of the scandal. She said that we have only seen just the tip of the iceberg yet.

The tone of what Theresa May says is important. This does not sound like a woman who wants to brush things under the carpet. This is a women who understands the full extent of the scandal – and wants something done about it.

This is very bad news for the Comboni Missionaries and their apologists and those who have helped, and are helping, them to cover up their sexual abuse of young boys as young as 11.

Most Appalling Abuse

 She said ‘We already know the trail will lead into our schools and hospitals, our churches, our youth clubs and many other institutions that should have been places of safety but instead became the setting for the most appalling abuse.

‘However, what the country doesn’t yet appreciate is the true scale of that abuse.

‘In my discussions with older victims and survivors and their representatives, I began to realise how abuse is woven, covertly, into the fabric of British society.

Blackpool Rock

‘During one of my first meeting with survivors, one lady said to me: “Get this inquiry right and it will be like a stick of Blackpool rock. You will see abuse going through every level of society.”

‘I fear she is right. I have said before and I shall say again, that what we have seen so far is only the tip of the iceberg.’

Theresa May said that the new terms of reference and the appointment of panel members for the Parliamentary enquiry into child sex abuse marked a new beginning for the probe.

Right Side of History

We will see now, as regards the Comboni Missionaries, who are on the right side of history.

I would say that those Comboni Missionaries who carried out abuse and who covered up abuse and those boys who helped them to and are helping them to, will be seen to be on the wrong side of history.

There are those who stand with those who were abused and those who stand with the coverers-up of abuse.

All will be laid bare soon.

I know which side I will be on.

It’s the same side as Home Secretary, Theresa May.

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!

Inquiry Finds Senior Cleric Protected Paedophile Priest

Paedophile Priest

The Australians appear to be ahead of the UK in terms of Rheir royal Commission into Clerical Child Abuse. However, we have an example here of the type of verdict that the looming UK Home Office might reach.

It seems that the senior cleric had a conversation with a paedophile priest, which would have reulted in a jail sentence for the paedophile priest if it had been reported to the police. This was part of a report released by the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Father John Nestor

It seems that Father John Nestor had assaulted youngsters in Wollongong during the Nineties. A senior cleric in that diocese ensured that no writtem record was ever kept of the conversation which were an admission of criminal conduct. The senior cleric did this because he wanted to protect not only the paedophile priest but the church.

 Even though it was known that Nestor was a paedophile from the early Nineties, it took over 5 years for the Vatican to remove him from the priesthood in 2008.

Clerical Sexual Abuse

There were runours in the Nineties about camps Nestor ran where the boys swam naked in the open. Nestor talked to boys about the size of their genitalia.

Father Lucas, the General Secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops was found guilty of “not recording or reporting Father Nestor’s inappropriate conduct”. He knew about what occurred after a major talk with Nestor in 1993.

“An outcome of Father Lucas’ practice was to ensure that there was no written record of any admissions of criminal conduct in order to protect the priest and the Church,” according to the report.

He even told Nestor that the conversation they had of his confession of his crimes would remain confidential and no record would be kept of it. Nestor reckoned it would impinge on Nestor’s right to silence to record the conversation.

Child Sex Abuse Accusations

The first accusation of child sex abuse was levelled at Nestor in 1996. He was convicted of ‘aggravted indecent assault as well as an aggravated act of indecency on an individual under 16 years of age’. However, he got acquitted the following year on appeal.

Complaints continued to be made against Nestor. This led to the church reconsidering and eventually removing Nestor as a priest. The report states that when he was removed the congregation were told that the reason was his involvement in several abuse cases against minors.

Food for Thought for Comboni Missionaries

This should give food for though for those who have been, or are in, positions of authority in the Comboni Missionaries and who were told about clrecial sexual abuse by boys at the seminary, them or later, or by the priests admitting it.

Although paedophile priests, Fathe john Pinkman and Father Domenico Valmaggia, are now dead, many of those, at senior level, who were told about it and covered it up are now in the cross sights of the Home Office Panel.

They won’t sleep so soundly in their beds.

The truth will out!

The Home Office Inquiry is in its early stages here but is taking shape.