Saturday, 4 September 2010

The worst that could happen?

This is from the article "Pope Friction" by Bryan Appleyard in last week's Sunday Times magazine. After describing the various ways in which Chris Patten has brought order out of chaos in the planning for the Pope's visit, there is the following quote from an interview with Patten.
"What," I ask Patten in his room at the Cabinet Office,"is the worst that could happen?"

He takes a deep breath and mentally assembles a surprisingly detailed answer. "Well, err, the worst that could happen is that our repution for organising a complicated event like this could be affected, which would have a sort of blowback for the government in relation to the Olympics. The worst that could happen would be that it encouraged more rather than less secular intolerance of faith groups, the Catholic Church in particular. The worst that could happen would be another paedophile scandal. . . "

Soon after he said this the worst did happen. It emerged that an investigation had begun into child-abuse allegations at St Benedict's School in Ealing, west London. Two men had contacted police after last year's conviction of Father David Pearce, who admitted abusing five pupils at the school. He received an eight-year jail sentence The news is particularly hard on Patten. He was a pupil there.
Of course, Patten is not merely a former pupil, he's on on the Board of School Advisers and therefore has some degree of responsibility for the safety of children at the school.


  1. But the 'advisors' are nothing more than ineffectual "window dressing" that almost without exception are connected to the school.

    The 'advisors' are collectively incompetent and guilty of failing past parents and pupils on all matters related to child protection.

    A clear out of these blazered buffers is essential if the school is going to be put onto a credible safeguarding footing.

    But more importantly what is the DfE going to do about the school repeatedly breaking the law over several decades?

  2. So to the bunch of feckless incompetents already including governors, trustees, monks and heads we can now add advisors. That must be a full house now. Somebody call the Guinness Book of Records, quick!
    Seriously, the worst aspect is all the damaged lives referred to in the comments in the last thread. We must not lose sight of that and radical and decisive action on a structural and possibly at governmental level is needed.

  3. It's like something from 'Yes Minister'. Lord Patten tells an interviewer that the worst scenario is another paedophile scandal involving the Catholic church and, whammo, not only does he get one but it involves his old school into the bargain.

    Mind you, it's hard to feel sympathy for him, given that he should have been aware of the problems surrounding St B's or, at least, the frequent allegations and the history of discreet payouts to former pupils, given his position there.

    On the other hand, have Shipperlee and his predecessors been 'economical with the verité', to paraphrase an old colleague of Patten's, when it comes to school advisors and others who are not perhaps privvy to knowledge shared amongst the monks who control the Board of Trustees? Perish the thought!

    Prosper Keating
    Former Pupil

  4. I have gone through this site a couple of times but have never come across anyone who was a novice or candidate especially those under David Pearce, I know was certainly was one for a brief period and was always creeped out by the mans probing questions about sexuality.

    Also since my time at the abbey many monks have left, and I cannot help but wonder why the likes of Dom Edward, Dom Jonathan and others would leave...