A former Ampleforth monk has told why other monks who knew something was wrong stayed silent.
A former Ampleforth monk who left the community in despair 20 years ago after being sexually harassed claims priests kept quiet about abuse because of fears of being victimised by a "homosexual mafia" who dominated the order.
The former novice, who asked not to be named, compared the Abbey as it was then to a “Boys Club” – where little was written down, and abbots came and went without being given proper records of what their predecessor had been doing for the past eight years.
He said at some monasteries like Ampleforth at the time “the gays had the upper hand” and protected each other, treating those who spoke out against homosexual activity as outcasts. “While they were not all sexually active if something bad happened they covered it up and because they were often at Oxford together they kept their friendships,” he added.
“The more conservative traditional monks would not stand for it. But in the communities there is a live and let live attitude. “If it becomes public or the community gets to know they act to remove the trouble. But they never do unless forced to.
“I was a really idealistic young man and I was scandalised by what happened to me all those years ago. I had to piece it all together before I realised I was not to blame.”
He was groomed by an older monk, whom he learned abused another young novice. The predatory priest had already propositioned four of the six novices to enter the Abbey that year. There was also suspicion he had been involved with a young monk while in Rome who killed himself:
“In fact, he really did not believe in the Faith at all judging by the things he told us,” added the former novice, who reported the abuse to the Abbot and had the culprit thrown out.
But by then he was disillusioned with the “spiritual” life and left to become an international businessman. He feared what had happened to him, underlined the risk to pupils.
“As for boys at the college , if a man like that gets into a school things can happen. The whole thing is that people know – but they don’t want to know. You can be accused of not being a Christian and not being forgiving if you say anything.
“No one likes to be harassed in the community by other monks so silence is the best way to deal with it. “The Abbot wrote me a lovely letter after I left – but said he did not understand the whole issue and did not know what to do.”
Although he had no proof he believed there was other monk who was sexually active and to prefer the company of pupils to his fellow monks – subsequently committed suicide.
“No one got anywhere with me because I was not interested but I got very upset and there was no one to talk to about my feelings.”
The English Benedictines are famous for attracting gay and often very effeminate gay men into the monastery.
The former Abbot of Ampleforth - Cardinal Basil Hume - was very tolerant of gay monks and of gay priests as Archbishop of Westminster.
I once shared a presbytery with a Benedictine monk who liked to dress down - as in Adam and Eve without the fig leaves.
Whenever I watch programmes about English Benedictine monasteries who also run boy's boarding schools I always get the sense of an all pervading homoeroticism / testosterone.
However the existence of an aggressive, bullying gay cabal in monasteries is a totally different matter.
These places are really the religious life equivalent of MAYNOOTH.
It is a further sign of the homsexualisation of the priesthood and the Church.
That is NOT good.
The Church, Religious Life, Monasteries etc should be places of COMPLETE DIVERSITY.
I do not want to live in a Gay Society or a Gay Church. I want to live in a society and Church of total diversity.
MAYNOOTH GRINDRS ASSOCIATION
16th November 2015
My Lord Bishop,
On behalf of the MGA I wanted to thank you for yesterday's picture published on your esteemed Blog showing the picture of the class of 1966.
As all the members of our Association are of the antique disposition we were very interested to see and judge who was the most handsome hunk that year.
The results are as follows:
FIRST PLACE: Back row - 6th from left.
SECOND PLACE: Back row - 2nd from left.
THIRD PLACE: Back row - third from left.
Thank you for allowing us hunks of TODAY gaze upon and admire the hunks of YESTERYEAR
With warmest regards,