CAUTION: This is not for the faint of heart. A stunning video documentary of the atrocities committed at the Catholic Provolo Institute for the Deaf in Argentina has just been released. It contains interview with deaf students, who, because of the advances in hearing aid technology, are now able to speak of the terrible ordeals they endured from a number of priests at the school. It then shifts to a nursing home facility in Verona, Italy, where one of the Institute's retired priests, Don Piccoli, resides. There follows a gripping sick-bed conversation between the former students and the elderly priest.
This is the stuff of nightmares. The gaunt priest with hands clasped and rosary around his neck, proceeds to confirm the claims presented by the accusers and, unbelievably laughs and leers and jokes about the details, dismissing them as trivialities.
A further breakdown with captured stills from the video is available at Hilary White's blog, What'sUpWithFrancisChurch, for those who don't have the stomach to watch. I could only watch about 3 minutes before I wanted to punch something.
Hilary also provides much-needed commentary on the longstanding phenomenon of "dirty old men" in the Catholic priesthood.
I’ve been covering these men a long time. Very little of any of this has been a surprise. After 20-odd years you get an ear for the kind of things they say and start to be able to anticipate the kinds of things they’ll do. You get a feel – like a psychological profiler – for the mindset, and this is it. This is the kind of dirty minded old men they all are. Some of them have more polished manners and can be trusted to be put in front of cameras. These ones usually become bishops.
And you can’t call it the fault of Vatican II. This is an old fashioned, unreconstructed Italian pervert-priest of the old school. The kind we used to just call “a dirty old man”. This is the kind of guy who went into the priesthood out of convenience in a Catholic culture – among the laity – that just shrugs and accepts it as par for the course. How old is he? He didn’t go to seminary in the ’70s. He wasn’t in a Pink Palace in a US diocese.
This isn’t VaticanTwoism. This has nothing to do with our polemical arguments.
This is just straight up moral decay of a corrupt Church, a system that provides opportunities and life-long cover to men who just like to “unload” into any nearby handy bit of flesh that happens to pass within arm’s reach
It has to come down. The whole thing – rotten to the core – has to come down. And I don’t just mean the Church.
Very sobering revelations here, and there may be worse to come.
UPDATE: Black-hearted Pope took the Angelus yesterday as the occasion to expound on the parable of Jesus' healing the deaf man. I'm not the only reading his comments who thinks they have a double-meaning, and that instead of calling people to action over the suffering of others, he is actually mocking the handicapped victims at the Provolo Institute.
Speaking during the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope reflected on the episode that tells of Jesus’ miraculous healing of a deaf and dumb man.
Pointing out that Jesus always “acts with discretion” as he “does not want to impress people, he is not looking for popularity or success, he just wants to do good to people” the Pope said that “with this attitude, He teaches us that good must be done without clamor and without ostentation”.
But above all, he explained, Jesus – who is fully integrated and part of man’s earthly humanity - makes it clear that the miracle happens thanks to his union with the Father.
“For this reason, he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” And immediately the man was healed: his ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed. Healing was for him an "opening" to others and to the world”.
This story, Pope Francis said, highlights the need for a double healing: healing from illness and physical suffering, and healing from fear that pushes us to marginalize the sick, the suffering, the disabled.
And urging believers not to “remain deaf and dumb in the face of the suffering of people marked by disease, anguish and difficulty”, the Pope said in today’s world too often the sick and the suffering are seen as a problem, “while they should be an opportunity to show the concern and solidarity of society towards the weakest”.