The article below was brought to my attention by St Bede’s veteran, Michael Lawlor, now a resident of the state of Ontario in Canada, but part of the 1947 intake at Bede’s making him one of my oldest correspondents. The article appeared in this week’s Tablet newspaper and shows Kearney to be the bumbling obfuscating academic that we all know and love.
Read it, understand it if you can and I will comment on it, in my own very wanting fashion afterwards. Myself and academe do not fit too well together because I was educated at St Bede’s College in Manchester, where only the worthy were allowed into academic obscurity.
Abuse is neither ‘historic’ nor just the Church’s problem
03 February 2014 by Daniel Kearney, St Bede’s College
The phrase “historic abuse” troubles me on many levels. I hear it repeatedly and annoyingly used to refer to the unspeakable wrongness of depraved acts perpetrated in the past by “trusted” adults against the innocent and vulnerable children in their care.
As a headmaster at a school where abuse has taken place in the past – and has been, thankfully, in some cases, rightly and legally addressed – I offer my apologies. For those who continue to suffer and to campaign to seek redress I pray and continually hope that you will find peace of mind and some sense of closure in your endeavours.
In my view the term “historic” is wholly inappropriate because it fails, catastrophically, to acknowledge the present reality of the daily debilitating consequences of such abuse in the chaotic unfulfilled lives of those who have suffered and, more importantly, continue to suffer the corrosive effects of such ordeals. The adjective, in my mind, might be used, legally, to locate such abuse to a particular time and place but, unfortunately, it is sometimes used to distance the pain and suffering to another time, another world.
But the past is now; it is a present memory. It is not ameliorated or lessened by the passage of time.
I know, all too well, it is irrelevant and of no consequence whatsoever to see perpetrators imprisoned or for victims to receive arbitrary amounts of compensations from the courts. Such pain and suffering are not so easily assuaged.
There is, however, a deeper and a more disturbing reality here; a stinging nettle to grasp. Paedophiles, abusers, rapists and recidivists are all products and symptoms of society; they are not born and bred in a vacuum or some Frankenstein laboratory.
Too many lives have been blighted by unrestrained and self-serving appetites. Legislation and stringent popular policies might tick boxes but will reams of paper really prevent the recondite practices of the few who seek to manipulate and to abuse? It is easier to vilify and to lock up the individual but much more difficult and revealing to dig deeper, expose the root cause and eradicate it. Such action requires honesty and wholesale change in the very structures of our society. It demands truth, authenticity and maturity. Perhaps it is easier, after all, to focus on the disordered and depraved few.
But then, the sins of the past continue to weigh heavily on the present – perhaps it was, and will be, ever thus! As the poet Philip Larkin wrote: “Man hands on misery to man, it deepens like a coastal shelf.”
Daniel Kearney is the headmaster of St Bede’s College, a Catholic private school in Manchester
Now Danny would not have written this article unless St Bede’s was under the cosh. Danny is not interested in the world wide application of sexual abuse of children, no, he is only interested in the sexual abuse of children when it affects him and it affects him at St Bede’s. So let us approach his words from that standpoint and not try to widen the argument like he seems to want to and blame abuse on the society as a whole. The abuse we are talking about at Bede’s stems from the immature emotional development of priests in schools and seminaries of the Catholic Church from the age of 11 through to 24.
He says abuse at St Bede’s “in some cases has been rightly and legally addressed” but that is not the case. In only one case, the Green case, has the perpertrator been brought to justice, with a lot more to come out in that case yet. And that only came to court because a victim complained to Scottish police. The school obviously knew about Green’s transgressions when Byrne and Kelly the then Bishop of Salford swept him under the carpet in I think, 1991 never dreaming he would come back to haunt them a decade later. With one sweep of the broom Green was gone but with the backward sweep Dodgeon, Byrne and Moynihan were flicked aside and to compensate Byrne got a papal ear tag. All this skullduggery might have been new to Byrne but Kelly was a man well known for waving brown envelopes under victims noses and nailing it down with a gagging notice.
In all the other cases at Bede’s from 1950 onwards, 63 years of abuse, no other case has been rightfully and legally addressed and I doubt if a lot of them will be. Sp please Daniel get off your high horse about how decent Bede’s is. They have behaved appallingly ever since Bishop Marshall in 1951 took Duggan’s side and shooed away the complaining parent and they have been doing it up to the present when they have accepted that abuse took place but damn well prove it in court was the back answer.
The rest of the article is just clap-trap where he throws the problem at the world at large but I suggest to him that he keeps his eyes on the little things close to him, get your bit of the puzzle sorted and not allow your input into safeguarding of children get classed as appalling by the ISI in its recent report.
Before I go there has been a massive piece of breaking news, old Florid has jumped ship and about time to or to jump out of the vernacular, Monsignor Michael Quinlan, chairman of the board of governors of St Bede’s College in Manchester has resigned with effect from the 3rd February. So that leaves the school with no head, no chair of governors and, I understand, no bursar. Rats and sinking ships is what immediately come to mind. If these people had anything more than their overwhelming sense of their own importance they would have stuck with it but no and probably is a good thing to. They fucked it up, therefore they go. I do think that Quinlan’s departure is bigger than Kearney’s vamoose, the bloody school is shagged.
Look it up on the school website, Flash Moynihan has taken on the job of acting chair and sent a letter to all parents. The letter itself is full of crucifying shite to let us know how hard Florid worked for the College. The parents should ask the council for a discount, their volume of rubbish is increasing by the week through no fault of their own.