Why are silent people perceived as innocent

Dear abused brothers from the Provolo Institute

Shaken by the abuse of deaf children in the Catholic Antonio Provolo Institute in Verona, Stefan Arnold writes them a letter.

Dear Brothers

I'm sitting in a room of silence in an institution that cares for sick people. Thoughtful and concerned, I am writing this letter to you. I have heard that men and women of the Church have quietly abused you. An employee had seen the report on the systematic abuse in the Provolo Institute in Verona on television. She gave two or three examples. After the first, I wanted to tell her: «Stop it. My soul can't stand this. "

You screamed umpteen times. Your soul begged umpteen times for help. They have silenced you umpteen times.

Even your brother Francis in Rome does not hear you.

All of this affects me very much. I am filled with deep sorrow. As the head of the Catholic pastoral care for the disabled, I ask myself: What kind of church do I work in? How can I work in a church that has abused you so much and never heard your crying?

Jesus has repeatedly placed you and together with you all people with disabilities in the center.

The women and men of the Church have not placed you in the middle. They put you in front of them. They placed you in such a way that they could abuse you. I can never and never will understand.

In the Church we keep talking about the marginalized people. If we listen to Jesus and take his word seriously, there are no people on the edge. He always puts them in the middle. You are always in the middle and never - but never - the church.

I would like to find your addresses and invite you to Zurich. I would like to say to you: «We are trying to see you. We try to hear you. "

My wish would be that you could say: In the church we met people who noticed us and our need and stood up for us.

At the same time I address all people with disabilities, the many of you who communicate with facial expressions and bodies: If you have experienced violence from women and men of the Church, get in touch! Report to the independent and neutral experts. They listen and know what to do to hold the perpetrators accountable. You, the deaf brethren, are sure to be like the tip of the iceberg.

The official church repeatedly emphasizes zero tolerance. You did not experience tolerance. You had to hold out. They have trampled your soul. And when they were done, they expected you to be tolerant by keeping you silent. How brain-burned, bestial and hideous!

In the church women and men have been and are invited to prevention events. Rightly.

At the same time, it is time for the Church to finally evaluate sexuality positively. A positively rated sexuality has a positive effect on our relationships with other people.

Dear Deaf Brothers, I wish that all who have experienced the same will be heard.

And who knows ... maybe we'll see you in Zurich.

I am deeply saddened to send you warm greetings from Zurich

Stefan Arnold