January 1st, 2018
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
My grand-father was deeply Catholic and committed to the Church, so he demanded that my dad go to Catholic school. My dad hated the school. I once asked him why and he said the nuns were absolute sadists who looked for any excuse cane the students. That was in New York City in the late 1930s and early 1940s. My dad committed himself to science and I grew up in a secular household.
Things were even worse in Britain, where the abuse was of a colossal nature. This article in the Guardian is shocking and depressing to read:
A man who was abused as a child at a Catholic school in London has spoken of a “culture of violence” at the institution, where a former headmaster was jailed just before Christmas for rape and other sexual offences.
“The threat and infliction of violence was constant. You couldn’t escape it – it was completely normalised,” said the survivor, who gave evidence in court against Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence.
The former headmaster of St Benedict’s middle school, who later became abbot of Ealing Abbey in west London, is thought to be the most senior Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes in the UK. He is the fourth person to be convicted of sexual abuse committed at St Benedict’s.
“There wouldn’t be a day when there wasn’t a queue of boys outside [Soper’s] study to be caned,” said “Peter”, who asked not to be identified. During the two years Peter was a pupil at the school, Soper “molested me as often as possible”.
Peter thought no one would believe his word against that of a priest. The abuse “was accepted, it was the norm, it was routine. Everybody had been into Father Laurence’s study. I realised it had happened to lots of boys before me and would happen to lots of boys after me.”
Peter, whose family were staunch Catholics, won a place at the fee-paying St Benedict’s at the age of 11 in 1979. “It was a culture shock, coming from a normal, relaxed primary school.”
One of his earliest experiences was getting into trouble in class. The teacher, a lay member of staff, made the 11-year-old kneel in front of the class and conducted the rest of the lesson standing on Peter’s hands.
He was often sent to Soper’s study for caning. After each beating, Soper sexually molested Peter. “I couldn’t believe a priest could do that. I didn’t really understand what was happening, but I knew it was wrong. But Soper thought he was above reproach.”