Category Archives: Hindsight

40. I Would Drink to That.

I have spent the last few days worrying about my brothers, my children, my wife J. The reason is the blog, not only is it an idea, it is up and running. When I first cast my eyes on the page I was excited, nervous, scared (that word again). I spoke to the Sunday Mercury and gave them the details of the blog and the background to the story.  The reporter was very interested in doing a piece. Over the few days I phoned the Mercury and spoke at length about the blog, my abuse, (I must stop saying that word), the after effects, the cause that we are fighting. I also contacted The Coventry Telegraph and they kindly did a story.

But before I continue, I have to mention J.  Over the past few months J has sometimes looked at me, showing disapproval at what I am trying to accomplish and the means to its end, i.e. the blog. We have known each other for 31 or 32 years, and in that time I did tell her that I was abused by a trainee priest.  I did not go into any details, those remained locked inside my head, never ever to see the light of day. That was my intention, but events outside of my control, my history catching up with me; put an end to that plan.

As I have the blog fully written and the deadline for publication looming, I decided to give the full story to J.  I had made a copy to give to her, but I felt time was ticking away, so I plucked up courage, and gave J the folder with the story in. J took it to her work.  So whilst one of her clients was asleep, having an afternoon nap, she could read it. After 32 years, what would she make of my story? I still cannot sit and explain what happened, but I have it all written down. I think I was 11 again, for the afternoon, I switched off.

Finally J arrived home. I opened the gate as the ducks were out.  She opened the car door and I think she said “hello stranger”. I was just waiting for a row to start, I did not want one, but the air was just like it is prior to a thunderstorm. Not a lot was said, I did not want to get into a fight, or have a row, and yes I was scared. As I had sent the Mercury the story, they wanted a photo.  So I had to ask J to take one.  She took about 6 photos, and we had quite a laugh about it. I sent them off, and awaited the weekend paper.

Sunday morning came. I went on the Internet, found the web page and looked at the story.  Finally it was out. Today, it is official, the monkey is dead, he is off my back, and no arguments, great.

A few days later, still nothing said, I spoke to J.  I asked her to write down exactly how she sees me, and how she feels, now that my past is out. The following are quotes from J’s notes:

“You were very open in telling me about Robinson in the early stages of our relationship, but we both knew he was always on the back burner.  I never once asked you what happened, I hoped one day you would open up and tell me.  I didn’t want the sordid details, just for you to let me in.  It never did happen. I found out a few days ago when you asked me to read your blog. I cried.  I cried for you and all the other victims. I cried because you were a small, innocent boy with no one to turn to for help. I’m crying now as I put pen to paper. You never could turn to me for comfort or support, tell me how you felt, you just got angry. Geoff that makes me feel so inadequate.

I have tried, believe me, to put myself in your shoes, but I can’t.  No one can, unless they have suffered like you and all the others. During this journey you have been on over the last couple of years you have met some very kind understanding people, people who have helped you come to terms with what happened to you.

I love our home.  I used to get a warm feeling every time I came through the gates.  But over the last two years on dark and wet nights coming home from work, seeing an open fire in the lounge, I just wanted to keep driving, anywhere, but home.  I love you Geoff, I always have, and I always will, but some days I don’t like you.

Remember once Princess Diana said there were three in her marriage, that’s how the last two years have sometimes felt for me.  Robinson never seemed far away, around the next corner, waiting to start another argument.”

Finally, the truth is out.  I can’t take it back, more importantly, I don’t want to.  The blog has been going out now for several months.  I keep looking for any news, any contacts.  Yes I have to be patient, not one of my greatest gifts, ask J. I constantly try and put myself in the position of being a victim and having come across this blog, would I get in contact?  I think I would, but, I have to say that, it’s not easy; I only hope some good will come of my efforts to help others.

Do you realise what I just wrote?  “I constantly put myself in the position of a victim”.  I think this says a great deal.  It appears I don’t consider myself one any more.

If I did drink, I would drink to that.

Cheers.

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39. So On We Go

Leading up to the trial, the news papers and TV were full of the Pope’s visit to UK.  For weeks and weeks they kept on about the visit.  I joined a campaign to ban the Pope’s visit.  But no, Tony Blair got his way, he got his visit from the Pope.  Let’s face it; he needs, what is it? absolution for his war crimes.  Through the news channels there was no news in the world, only this visit, of the Pope.  I watched him in Scotland, in London and, on the last day, I watched him in Oscott College, Sutton Coldfield.  Yes the very same college that Robinson went to.  The very same college that Robinson took his victims to, to be abused or should I say raped.

On the last day, (Sunday) he was in the college to perform the beatification of Cardinal Newman.  There sat on the Pope’s left hand Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, the very man that allowed my abuser, freedom in USA.  Not only that, but paid him £200 per week for nine years, whilst he was on the run from the Police (whilst Nichols was Bishop of Birmingham).  But don’t forget, Robinson had his wages as a priest from the California church.  I watched in total disgust; the very head of a church, the Pope, who reigns over an evil empire of abuse, not only here in Europe, but in the Third World.  What is happening here now is nothing to what is happening inSouth America.  Shame on the lot of them.  I watched various interviews on TV with Vincent Nichols and I was getting angrier by the day.  He has no compassion, no understanding of the suffering that we all go through.  I sincerely would like to meet him, face to face, to ask why he did nothing to help me or the other victims.  But it will never happen, so on we go.

I left these thoughts out of my first writings for the simple reason that I wanted to try and keep my abuse, my story, away from a purely Catholic Church bashing exercise.  I have an immense amount of sympathy for all the priests who do an excellent job looking after the needs of the parishioners.  But I also am totally against the church as it is here today.  A church that has shown, over many generations, to have lacked the basic Christianity that it preaches.  A church that is only interested in keeping its cash, keeping its independence and its business interests together, and secret.


38. Credit Where Credit Is Due

Having completed my story, I find that I am now looking back at the last two years.  I have seen despair, anger, frustration, more anger.  I have always had a fear of The Catholic Church, of priests, of the very Organisation that encouraged my and my fellow victims’ abuse.  I say encouraged, as that is the way it appears to me.  Any outfit that allows its ordained members to behave in such an evil manner is, in my humble opinion, evil.  There again I say ordained.  Robinson was in year 4 of a 6 year course when I had the misfortune of making his acquaintance.  The very fact that at the trial it was read out in court, that it took him 13 years to be ordained tells me many things.  I was, in fact, abused by a trainee, not yet a priest.  Yet he was expelled from his seminary in London for making sexual advances to the nuns.  It is apparent that the church let him back in a number of times.

I remember sitting in my cottage, back in 1995, watching “The Late Late Show” with Gaye Byrne, on RTE 1 television.  On this particular Friday night one of the guests was Cardinal Cahil Daly.  During the interview Gaye Byrne asked Daly, “were you aware of the child abuse going on with regard to Fr Brendan Smyth?”  He without hesitation replied, “yes.”  I was shocked.  The audience was taken aback and they made a gasping sound.  Gaye asked the same question again, this time instructing the Cardinal, “to think hard about the answer.”  He replied immediately, “yes.”  That night the Catholic Church, lost all credibility and still does to this day.

I have witnessed the Ryan, Murphy and now Cloyne Reports and I am still shocked not only by the church’s guilt, but by the way they treat the victims.  Their Christianity has no beginning.  Surely this has to change?  Last week I wrote a letter to The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, pledging my support for his efforts.  He is a very brave man to be taking the brunt of the public anger at what has gone on.  Yes a truly brave man.  Credit where credit is due.  This is the only man who seems to give anyone “hope for the future of the church in Ireland.”  I can see it, and I’m an atheist.