Benedictines to Hold Landmark Child Protection Conference in London
By Elena Curti
October 15, 2018
There was a time when members of the Benedictine community at Ealing Abbey in west London felt too ashamed to leave their monastery. The seemingly endless tide of complaints of sexual abuse by former pupils at their school caused the community to close in on itself.In a YouTube testimony, Father James Leachman OSB describes the monks’ reactions as they gradually absorbed what happened to former pupils at St. Benedict’s School.“We weren’t talking to each other,” said Father Leachman. “Some of the monks were not able to speak about it. Some were pretending it never happened, some could not go into the street because of the shame. Some were insulted and asked, ‘how can you belong to an organization like this?’ It was so very shocking.”It is a measure of the changing atmosphere at Ealing Abbey that after more than 12 years of terrible headlines, the community is taking action and organizing a conference on child protection.The conference — “Growing in Connectedness: Healing the History of Child Sexual Abuse” — takes place on Oct. 21 at St. Benedict’s. It is believed to be the first initiative of its kind by a religious order in England and Wales.The keynote speaker is the Vatican’s foremost expert on child protection, Father Hans Zollner S.J., well known for the robust...