VERONA - ''Vorresti fermare il prete pedofilo che adesso e' ancora li', accanto ai bambini'': e' questa l'urgenza che sentono le vittime degli abusi sessuali commessi all'interno della Chiesa, per la prima volta riunite pubblicamente oggi a Verona nell'incontro 'Noi vittime dei preti pedofili'. A porte chiuse, nel Palazzo delle Gran Guardia, i partecipanti si sono raccontati le proprie vicissitudini.
''La ragione che sta alla base di questo incontro - dicono - e' far vedere che esistiamo, che non possiamo piu' essere ignorati e che non siamo statistiche, ma esseri umani con famiglie, figli, sentimenti''. Sono state una cinquantina le e-mail di ulteriori denunce ricevute - oltre che da Verona anche da Trento, Savona, Vicenza - dal gruppo promotore 'La Colpa', in vista di questa giornata, spiega Mario Lodi Rizzini, fratello di una delle sordomute dell'Istituto San Provolo di Verona. Si tratta dell'istituto dove - secondo 15 testimonianze autobiografiche dettagliate di ricoverati presenti all'incontro di oggi - tra gli anni '50 e meta' degli anni '80 una ventina di sacerdoti avrebbe abusato continuativamente di piccoli che non potevano sentire o parlare, o nessuna delle due cose assieme. ''Quello che mi ha colpito - aggiunge Rizzini - e' che, quando un laico che lavorava al San Provolo ha confermato quei racconti, ha detto che era una cosa 'normale', che avveniva anche in altri istituti''. ''Ma la prima lettera inviata al vescovo di Verona - prosegue - portava in calce 70 firme di ospiti dell'istituto: quella lettera ha fermato il processo di beatificazione di quel vescovo precedente che viene indicato tra gli abusatori. Adesso e' in corso la costituzione di una commissione che vogliamo laica, perche' non ci fidiamo, e che inviera' il proprio resoconto al Vaticano''. Tra gli ex ospiti dell'istituto Provolo era presente alla Gran Guardia un'unica donna, Antonietta Perbellini, 75 anni, la quale accusa una violenza subita durante una confessione, sulla sedia, da parte di ''un prete che si abbasso' i calzoni''.
Pedophilia: victims of priests meeting in Verona, 'Enough is enough'
by Antonella Barina
VERONA - " You want to stop the pedophile priest who is still there, near the children": that is the urgency felt by the victims from sexual abuses within the church who for the first time gathered today in Verona at the meeting. 'We are victims of pedophile priests'. Behind closed doors, in the Palazzo delle Gran Guardia, the participants narrated their own stories.
"The reason at the basis of this meeting - they say - is to show we exist, that we can't be ignored and that we are not statistics, but human beings with families, children, feelings". About 50 emails containing additional denunciations were sent there. Besides from the city of Verona, the emails came from the cities of Trento, Savona, Vicenza and from the promoting group 'La Colpa' , said Mario Lodi Rizzini, brother of one of the deaf mutes of the Istituto San Provolo of Verona. That was the Institution where - according to 15 detailed autobiographical reports by former residents present at today meeting - between 1950 and 1985 about 20 priests allegedly abused children who were deaf and/or mute.
"What struck me - Mr. Rizzini said - is that, when a layman who worked at the San Provolo confirmed those reports, he stated it was "normal' and that it happened in other institutions, too". "But the first letter sent to the Bishop of Verona - he continues - was signed by 70 residents in the Istituto San Provolo: it stopped the process for the beatification of the former Bishop who was listed among the abusers. A Commission of lay people is now being formed - we don't trust the clergy - which will send its report to the Vatican". Among the former residents of the Istituto San Provolo who were present at the meeting there was only a 75-year-old woman, Antonietta Perbellini, who claims of having being the victim of sexual violence during confession, on a chair "by a priest who lowered his trousers".
"Now - the woman says - when the priest comes to bless my home I send him away". According to Salvatore Domolo - a former priest who was abused as a child between 8 and 11 years of age and who withdrew from his ministry in 2005 and renounced baptism last year - " we speak only about priests, but we can't hide there are also nuns: women who were abused in childhood have more difficutly to speak out, there is more pressure upon them, they are weaker."
Among the most determined, the parent of a girl who was victim of sexual violence by the clergy. " For those who are still children the road is uphill - he explains. 'He told them if they spoke something very bad would happen and your parents would die. If you find the force to say something, mommy and daddy would have a hard time to think of their friend priest as a bad man and, if the family believes in what said to them, they speak about it with the priest-abuser or with his superiors. Then the isolation starts: the families are accused of being anxious and overprotective, with economical interests, hatred for the Church. If the judicial proceedings start, the accusers are considered the guilty party". According to former priest Domolo, "the gravest thing is that the abuse sends you away from God, for God remains there in silence."
"When I entered the seminary - he tells - I spoke to my spiritual father of the abuses I was a victim of and I found myself confessing the "sin" I commited. When I asked him what to do of the priest who abused me, he answered: absolutely, let's not speak about it, we trust him to the misericordy of God." " I heard it over and over again! The active complicity of the Church - he continues - must be recognized. The thinking was that silence was enough, or transferring the indian pedophile priest to Italy. The truth is that there weren't only the repeated abuses and the scarce control but also the deliberate activity to hide them."