Letter to the editor: Legacy of abuse

The Tablet [Market Harborough, England]

July 8, 2021

By Keith Porteous Wood

According to your report (News from Britain and Ireland, 3 July), those seriously abused at Mirfield in the 1960s and 1970s by the Comboni Missionaries had to wait until 2014 for compensation. Although the missionaries hold huge investments the compensation was pitiful.

Archbishop Scicluna explained that “the only person who could order the Comboni Missionaries to apologise would be Pope Francis himself” and the archbishop appears to be seeking to arrange this, albeit belatedly.

Surely no less important than apologies is decent compensation. The Comboni case exposes the near-total autonomy of such orders and that of dioceses too. Has the time not come for Mgr Scicluna, who has pledged to protect minors “at all costs”, to set up a formal conduit for such injustices to be brought directly to the Pope’s attention?

Keith Porteous Wood
President, National Secular Society, London WC1