Saturday, 29 October 2011

Ealing Abbey on "Sunday"

BBC Radio 4's Sunday will be carrying the Ealing Abbey story in the morning. This is from the programme schedule on the BBC website.

The Vatican has ordered an inquiry into child sex abuse at Ealing Abbey and the adjoining school in west London. Jane speaks to Sean O'Neill, Crime Editor of the Times on the paper's investigation into a number of high-profile cases at the Abbey. She also hears from Bishop John Arnold, the man appointed by Rome to conduct the Apostolic Visitation.
The programme starts at 7.10am. When it is available on BBC iPlayer, I'll provide a link.

Update: You can now listen to the programme on BBC iPlayer. Follow this link. The interviews with Sean O'Neill and Bishop John Arnold are the first item in the programme after the introductions.


  1. I thought Bishop Arnold sounded bureaucratic and evasive; he seemed to suggest that everything was fine at Ealing, and that the diocese had been right historically to do nothing.

    The simple fact is that, had either the present Archbishop or his predecessor wished to take the allegations being made about events at Ealing at all seriously, all they had to do was ask for Roman authority in order to intervene. They didn't. This is obviously what someone has now done, hence the Roman intervention. It's a massive shame it took so long.

    By contrast, I thought the perspective offered by Sean O'Neill was fair, and very clear. One caveat: "Transparency" can be limited, legitimately, by the paramount need to protect victims from harmful publicity; but this legitimate consideration might also used as a catch-all simply to avoid publicity. The test surely, lies in whether subsequent to an incident, all possible measures are put in place to avoid further harm to young people.

  2. I understand that the School awards a "Chillman Cup", named in honour of Father Gregory Chillman.

    Perhaps Mr Cleugh would consider instituting a "Soper Cup" for cross country running in honour of Father Lawrence Soper, the School's most famous runner who has been running from the police since March.

    Run Larry run!!

  3. To 21:36

    ...with the annual presentation of both to take place in the Horsey Building, of course!

    BTW the Radio 4 Sundy feature was a waste of time. No real questions, no real answers.

  4. The problem is 09.05 that very few people know the key questions to ask.

    If they did, almost no one would recognise a valid answer.

    For Shipperlee, the two parents nights will be a walk in the park because the audience is unfamiliar with the subject and has little understanding of the key issues. A large number of people will not speak for fear of looking foolish. Those who do ask a good question will unlikely recognise whether the answer indicates the school's determination to change or its desire to cling onto the 'old ways.'

  5. I listened with interest to the BBC R4 Sunday report. I wonder if The Times reporter is limiting his brief to the Benedictine monasteries in Great Britain. I think the recent enquiries of institutionalised abuse of children (in care) in the Republic of Ireland didn't enquire into the abuse of children in (non-care)educational establishments so operations such as schools attached to monastic communities didn't come under scrutiny. However, you can bet that defenses are being deployed rhizonically there as there are in England in the event of the wheels of conspiracies of a cover up gain any further traction.

  6. I asked Cleugh if I could attend one of the two meetings, as someone with personal experience of what went on at the school in the 1970s. He took several days to respond and essentially refused, offering me a meeting afterwards. Meanwhile, Lord Carlile, to whom I had copied the email and attached letter, pretty much jumped down my throat, sparking an exchange of emails in which His Lordship tried to deny receiving some rather damning instructions from the schools' solicitors concerning the so-called Independent Report the school has been touting for over a year and which we have yet to see because of a series of new arrests preventing its publication.

    The total lack of empathy displayed by these men and by others like Bishop Arnold, is very telling, to me at least. For them, we are the source of the trouble, not the paedophiles who abused us. I haven't forgotten Cleugh's grotesque suggestion that we were all part of some sinister anti-Catholic plot. For us, this isn't about revenge or damaging the Church. It's about dragging the Church into the 21st century, stripping the taboo element away from the discussion of abuse of male children by male adults, and thereby making it harder for this sort of thing to continue with the same degree of impunity offered to these men by the Church not just in the past, in a "historical" sense, to borrow their weasel words, but right now, today, as I write this.

    When I first read about Pearce, of whom I have indelible memories, in 2006, I wrote to Cleugh and Shipperlee, who replied, assuring me that everything was different at the school nowadays. Within two years, Pearce was back in court for fresh offences committed on the premises, because Shipperlee and Cleugh had essentially allowed him freedom of access to young boys, after their assurances to me. Nothing "historical" there.

    As for Arnold, he works for Archbishop Nichols, who told us a while back that the Diocese of Westminster had no jurisdiction, in Church terms, over the Benedictines. Let's look at this statement: what Nichols was saying is that the OSB is not subordinate to the Vatican. In other words, if we follow Nichols' logic, Benedictines are not Roman Catholics, which came as news to me.

    Of course Cleugh and the other people aiding and abetting child abuse after the fact don't want anyone present at a meeting of parents who could pose relevant and awkward questions to Carlile and the school and abbey authorities who engaged him.