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Wednesday 28 September,2022 | Rejected

Pope . Irish seminarians

Abuse survivors group outside the Vatican before they met the Pope

REJECTED

Pope begs Irish seminarians for forgiveness.
They were abused at a seminary run by the Comboni Fathers
The Order has never acknowledged what happened despite paying 11 seminarians over £120,000 in compensation

REJECTED

The Pope has personally begged Irish seminarians for forgiveness after they were sexually abused at an English seminary run by the Comboni Fathers over 50-years ago.

Pope Francis personally pleaded for the forgiveness of the three Irishmen sexually abused at a training college for priests in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Comboni seminary where the abuse took place.

Among the REJECTED seminarians were Jim Kirby, Charlie McLaughlin and Frank Barnes.

Jim Kirby said he was “incredibly emotional” after the meeting.

A retired Aer Lingus manager, he said he told Pope Francis about his ordeal at the hands of two paedophile priests while he was at St Peter Claver College in Mirfield, West Yorkshire which was run by the Comboni Order, formerly the Verona Fathers.

Mark Murray. He was one of 11 men who settled out of court.

Mark Murray. He was one of 11 men who settled out of court.

The Order has never acknowledged what happened to the men despite paying 11 of them a combined total of £120,000 compensation in 2014.

Mr Kirby said Pope Francis vowed to contact Fr Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie, superior general of the Comboni Order, to ask why he had not made any effort to speak with them.

The meeting with the Pope, who was in a wheelchair, lasted for an hour and a half. Each of the men spoke of their own personal experiences after years of being REJECTED by church authorities.

The Bishop of Leeds, Marcus Stock

                                                     The Bishop of Leeds, Marcus Stock

Bishop of Leeds Marcus Stock, who apologised for the first time on behalf of the Catholic Church to the survivors, and Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, accompanied the men on the papal visit.

Originally, eleven men alleged that they had been sexually abused them during the 1960s and 1970s when they were boys at a Comboni Missionaries seminary. One of those abused set up a blog, veronafathersmirfield.com, to encourage further seminarians, who had been abused, to come forward. Eventually, fifteen did so. Four abusers were identified and named in the men's statements.

In 2014, the Order paid a total of £120,000 to the men, while saying "All the claims were made on a purely commercial basis and with no admission of liability".

A Comboni Missionaries internal inquiry reported that one of the accused, Father Nardo, "had acted inappropriately".

In May 2015, the accusers sent a 157-page report including over 1,000 allegations of abuse over several decades to the archbishops of Britain and Ireland, calling on the Comboni Missionaries to acknowledge the alleged abuse and apologise.

The 2014–2020 Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales met with victims and complainants. The section of the Inquiry's Report on the Comboni Order stated that "The Inquiry has seen a number of instances where abuse was understated or described as 'inappropriate', 'a misdemeanour' or 'misbehaviour'.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Archbishop Vincent Nichols

In June 2021 Bishop of Leeds Marcus Stock, in a meeting with victims attended by Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (responsible for dealing with clerical sexual abuse cases), apologised for sexual abuse of boys at the Comboni Missionaries' St Peter Claver College in the 1960s and 1970s.

Afterwards, one of the victims said that the apology was the first time that a senior figure in the church had acknowledged the events.

West Yorkshire Police launched an investigation into historical sex abuse at the seminary, but said it was hampered because two of the named suspects were dead, and a third who was still alive was in Italy and could not be extradited because of ill health.

The meeting with Pope Francis followed recent meetings with Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna, who has led investigations into clerical sex abuse for the Holy See.

One thought on “Pope . Irish seminarians

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