The Prey: Silence in the Name of God

For the millions of Catholic devotees around the world, the church is a place of peace, sanctity and serenity for worshiping God. But for some children of the parish, behind the tall walls of the church is where all hell breaks loose. The Catholic Church has about 50 million children within its worldwide congregation, yet the Vatican has no child protection policy in place. The only policy is to keep things as deeply buried in secrecy as possible. In exclusive PRESS TV documentary, ‘’The Prey: Silence in the Name of God”, we will explore the darkest secrets inside the Vatican. We will witness the prevailing culture of secrecy and fear that leads Catholic bishops to place the interests of the Vatican Church ahead of the safety of children. we see that even the most vulnerable of children are not spared. Of course justice can never be fully carried out for the victims; the only hope that remains is that no child will ever again be abused within the boundaries of the church.

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 One day in 1980 two priests arrived in Spotorno, two young priests. They started organizing some activities for children. I was among those children who participated in these activities. This is how I begun to go to Spotorno parish church. I grew fond of Father Carlo, who was like a father to me. He offered me a room in the basement of the parish and I could spend my time there. I liked dismantling radios and alarm clocks. It was my own space. Unfortunately in 1982 a third priest arrived in Spotorno. His name was Father Nello Giraudo and we soon realized that there was something wrong with him. I suffered my first abuse right in this room, in the basement of the parish church. One day, Father Nello came down there while I was in my room he set down on the chair where I usually sat to work at my things. He made me sitting on his lap and he abused me for the first time. It happened to me so many times. I couldn’t say how many. 100, 200… I have no idea. I counted almost 50 victims in Spotorno. They were all people my age and they were all abused over ten years period. That’s a huge figure since there are 5,000 inhabitants there. It means that he abused almost all the people my age.

NARRATION: Italy is the symbol of the Catholic Church. Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, is situated right in the heart of Rome. The Holy See is the sovereign of Vatican City and it is an absolute monarchy under the Pope. Italy is the country which is conditioned more than any other by the presence of the Church: political, social and economic choices, as well as everything else in Italy, are deeply influenced by the Church. The pedophilia scandal that involved the Catholic clergy in the entire world didn’t really blow up in Italy.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City In Italy I think one of the major problems is that there has been a reticence to actually deal with the problem. There has been a slowness to recognize that there actually is a problem and there is also a culture of “omertà” for better or worse, that is a culture of silence, a culture of shame.

MONS. DOMENICO SIGALINI – Bishop of Palestrina Diocese, Rome I am convinced that there is a tendency to belittle the Church, since it still has a lot of followers. There is an attempt to scatter the Church as much as possible.

MASSIMILIANO RIOLFO – victim of sexual harrassment at age 12 I was in school when I first met Father Nello. It was 1982. He was brilliant, nice and youthful and he knew how to deal with kids. This is how I remember him. The other memories I have are obviously related to something very different.

NARRATION: Savona, situated in northern Italy, is the city that uncovered the facts concerning sexual abuses by priests more than any other. Dozens of cases have been reported and this situation is worsened by the fact that Savona is located in Liguria, the Italian region that symbolizes the high Catholic Church hierarchy. The most important people which are part of the Episcopal Conference, of Vatican’s Secretariat of State and of the Vatican finances system begun their career here.

MASSIMILIANO RIOLFO – victim of sexual harrassment at age 12 At that age, you cannot discern what is right and what is wrong. A priest that you met in school or in the parish church is a reference person for a kid. Just like a Carabiniere, the priest and the teacher are important figures for Italian people. And Father Nello was no exception.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City Also I think there is a bit of the clerical culture here that still is very much part of the Italian mentality where priests are still..and the Bishops and the Pope.. are in some way untouchable.

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 I don’t know what I thought when he started to touch me. I know that I remained rigid, immobile. I didn’t have the courage to fight against this adult that I saw like a priest: someone that couldn’t hurt me. When he wanted to rape you, you didn’t run away, because an 11-year-old boy didn’t have any possibility to escape. He changed like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was an instinct… I don’t know how to explain it. He was different... it was something uncontrollable. He didn’t even have any self-control in those moments.

MASSIMILIANO RIOLFO – victim of sexual harrassment at age 12 He liked fair-haired boys. He used to organize the viewing of slides and this required the closing of the windows in order to darken the room. He would then take me and two of the other kids and make us sit next to him behind the teacher’s desk. During the viewing of the slides, he pawed us or he made us touch him. I have this vivid memory of the touch of his velvet trousers and the horizontal movement of his legs.

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 The parish organized some activities for kids and Father Giraudo was always involved. They began to organize campings, scout camps. Sexual abuses happened during those activities and I was not the only boy who suffered them. Usually, Father Nello went camping with 3 or 4 kids and brought two tents: in one of them, he would sleep with a person… a victim the other kids would sleep in the other tent. He generally calculated how many people would go with him so that they could not sleep all together in a tent and one of them would be obliged to sleep with him. So, we had to sleep outside the tent or in his tent by turns. This obviously entailed the abuses.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona My experience as a priest, a theologian and a prison chaplain began in 1987. You get to meet people living a life of sexual deviancy. Talking with them I discovered that among the clients of prostitutes and viados there are priests too. I can assure you that there is a high percentage of corruption in the high Roman clergy, even in that clergy that is close to the Pope. This means that very few priests are faithful to celibacy.

NARRATION: The role of the priest is very important, especially as regards Italian small and medium-sized towns. The priest is a guide, a person to whom give custody of your children with nothing to fear. Because of this reason and of the respect that Italian families pay to this figure, it is really hard to be believed when reporting an abuse. In Savona, no child before Massimiliano had the courage to report the behaviour of Father Nello Giraudo.

MASSIMILIANO RIOLFO – victim of sexual harrassment at age 12 I think of him as a very shrewd and clever man. These are the aspects that help a man like him to choose his victims. I think he made a first selection on the basis of the conditions of the children’s families. He knew exactly who had a strong and united family and who hadn’t. He knew who had a family with financial problems. So he made the first selection according to social status. He made a second selection according to the child's character. If a child, like me for example, gently refused to fulfil his requests he insisted twice or three times and then he stopped.

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 We also suffered psychological violence from Father Nello, because we didn’t talk about it even though we knew he was abusing us. Father Nello used to wile us. After the few times I did manage to get away from him he avoided me for entire weeks and tried to make me jealous lavishing his attentions on another child. In this way he managed to mess up with a child’s mind.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona I have never noticed that Father Giraduo had this problem, because my collegue priests have always hid him. He has never confided this kind of problems to me the only thing I remember about him is that he would prefer to get married rather than to be a priest.

MASSIMILIANO RIOLFO – victim of sexual harrassment at age 12 I was listening to my mother talking with a neighbour and I remember that at some point they were saying that in our town there was the rumour that Father Nello had too much close relations with children. At that moment I understood and I screamed: “This is the reason why he does this, this and this!”. My mother was shocked. My mother and my father went to the parish. The only thing my father wanted in that moment was that Father Nello came outside. He wasn’t there. They called him and he confessed everything. My father wanted Father Nello away from our town, he wanted him to leave. I think it was 8 in the evening and the only thing my father could do was to call the Bishop of Savona. They called him and the Bishop promised he would sent Father Nello away. Then my father not only asked him to send Father Nello away but also to prevent him from being in contact with children again. The Bishop promised he would have personally assured that Father Nello left and he did it the next day. Sometime after my father heard that he had been sent away but that he was only 12 km far because they sent him to Spotorno.

NARRATION: Massimiliano was the first one and his testimony is important because it is the indisputable proof that the Bishop of Savona had already been informed of those facts in 1982.

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 Father Nello was sent to Spotorno because he sexually abused a child in the school of Valleggia. And the Bishop himself said: “Keep an eye on him because he’s a paedophile”.

MONS. DOMENICO SIGALINI – Bishop of Palestrina Diocese, Rome This is what they used to do in that period, they just move the guilty priests to different places because they thought they were only experiencing a moment of weakness. The first thing Bishops usually do is to check thoroughly all the information we get. We go through a canonical trial and the priest is immediately removed from where he is. This is also the reason why people say we covered up his story but I had to send him away to protect the victim, he couldn’t stay there.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City One of the tactics the Bishops have used is to move priest around. Again, the underlying reason they gave is for the good of the Church, not to cause scandal, to help rehabilitate people.. I mean, there are different cases. Early on, before bishops had a good handle on things, maybe thirty years ago, it was a normal practice. Just to say, there's any kind of scandals, say a priest had an affair with a member of the community, of the parish, they sent him away and he reappeared somewhere in the far end of the dioceses where no one knew him.

NARRATION: Even though the Bishop had been informed that a priest was committing paedophile acts, it didn’t do anything to prevent future child abuses. Father Nello Giraudo was transferred from Valleggia to Spotorno parish, situated at only 12 km from there. In Spotorno he dealt with camping activities and abused more children. When new abuses began to be reported the Bishop transferred him again, and again not so far away: he went to Feglino, just 10 km from Spotorno. There, he was entrusted with a community of children in need. It was 1992 and more than ten years had passed since the first report.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona I think that it is unacceptable that some priests and some parishes and some parishes welcomed Father Nello Giraudo. There’s something extremely wrong and evil about it. It’s interesting how those priests manage to keep silence. This is shameful. It’s not a wise silence. It’s the silence of liars and cowards. It’s not a wise silence.

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 The real responsible for this is the entire clergy that hurt Father Giraudo too, he’s a victim of the clergy. He has a serious problem and nobody stopped him.

MASSIMILIANO RIOLFO – victim of sexual harrassment at age 12 Father Nello was on his first task assigned to him by the Roman Curia, so if they had stopped him at the beginning he wouldn’t have hurt so many people during several years. They could have stopped him long ago.

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 Father Giraudo has abused children for 30 years he went on undisturbed and with the complicity of his diocese until December 2009, when the public prosecutor of Savona started an investigation about him. In March 2012, he was sentenced with 1 year and 6 months on probation. That’s nothing. This man never did a single day of jail. I think the judge decided to go easy on him because he is a clergy man.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City Now the big problem is how to discipline Bishops who are not following, who have covered up these cases. That's the simplest thing. What do you do with the bishop who covers up the abuse, or who doesn't follow norms that have been set down in last several years now, beginning in 2002. They've not come out with the system, no Bishop has been removed because of these mistakes. Maybe in some way... but not specifically, there's so many out there. They should be removed and yet they've not been

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 In 2000, I decided to report him to Bishops. I talked to the Bishop Lanfranconi, but unfortunately he left after a year. Bishop Domenico Calcagno took his place. After him Bishop Vittorio Lupi arrived. In 2012, after the trial against Father Giraduo ended the public prosecutor gave me the trial records and sadly those documents say that in 1980 the Vatican already knew that Father Nello Giraudo was a paedophile.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona I too read the documents in which Bishop Calcagno asked Cardinal Ratzinger how he should have dealt with the case of Father Giraudo. I saw a record about Father Nello which proves that warnings had been sent since 1980, the year in which he was ordained. In my opinion, this case has not been handled fairly and even the silence of the Holy See was not fair.

MONS. DOMENICO SIGALINI – Bishop of Palestrina Diocese, Rome We call these cases personal crimes, meaning that they involve an individual. Why should I be accused just for being a Bishop? I should be accused only if I cover a crime. I am not accountable for a priest’s foul play. Everyone is responsible for his own actions. Here is what went wrong in the USA: they thought that it was the responsibility of the Church.

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 Ratzinger knew but he was the only one who didn’t even answer to the letters sent by the Bishop of Savona. Domenico Calcagno wrote to Ratzinger for the first time in 2003, reassuring him that nothing had been reported to the police and that the case didn’t leak out on the media. He then asked Ratzinger what he should do with Father Giraudo since he wanted to keep being a priest. Ratzinger didn’t answer.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City In some cases Bishops were very careful not to have any scandal or any problems emerging at the public eye because they were worried about their carriers. And so one way that you get a point it is when you diocese is well. Under Jean Paul II one way people got appointed by how many seminarians and priests they had. So if you were getting more and more vocations the Bishop give them better dioceses. And certainly you didn't want to have on your record that you had a number of priests that were abused people, because that would reflect badly and so they keep this kind of stuff quiet. It's a kind of lie: if you want to be seen in a positive way from Rome which makes lots of these carrier for people, only bring good news to the The Vatican

FRANCESCO ZANARDI – victim of sexual abuses from 11 to 16 Bishop Calcagno left Savona and he was promoted to the Vatican finance office as the highest-rank officer. Right after that, he was appointed Cardinal. Domenico Calcagno has been awarded for the work he carried out in Savona, a tragic work, yet an excellent one for the Church.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona If this is the way how the Church deals with paedophilia it take part in the conspiracy of silence. Those who report such crimes, just as I did are seen as objectors or accused to seek personal revenge. This is terrifying! Just like in the Mafia: those denouncing crimes are left alone. Victims suddenly become torturers. This is not just Mafia, this is Nazism.

NARRATION: The scandal of paedophile priests involves many dioceses and brings to light the fact that the Vatican has been covering up these episodes systematically not only in Italy, but all over the world. A document explaining the policy of the Church came to light only in 2001. This document was called Crimen Sollicitationis and it was sent to all the Bishops in the world by Pope John XXIII in 1962. Its 20 attachments explained them how to deal with priests, victims and witnesses by imposing absolute secrecy, upon penalty of excommunication.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City The 1962 document that came from the Vatican, sought in a way to help Bishops deal with these very very serious crimes, especially against sixth commandment , sexual crimes committed by the clergy.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona The first official document issued by the Holy See was written by Pope John XXIII and dates back to 1962, therefore it is extremely recent. Before 1962, silence reigned. And it kept reigning even after 1962. Actually we should say that the first real documents about the fight against paedophilia were written starting only from 2001.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City From 1962 to 2002, let's chose 2002 which is the year that bishops in the USA drafted their national policy, The Holy See had some problems because one of the tenets of this 2002 document is zero tolerance. These cases were coming into the Vatican in a number of different offices and finally Cardinal Ratzinger says one office should be dealing with this. They start coming into the Vatican and this is when things slowly begun to change.

NARRATION: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the organism of the Vatican that has the duty to assure the purity of the doctrine of the Catholic Church. The C.D.F was headed by the Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from 1981 to 2005, year in which he became Pope Benedict XVI. In 2011 Joseph Ratzinger signed another document stating that the Vatican had to increase its control over crimes such as paedophilia. This document could be interpreted in two different and opposite ways: some were convinced that once again the Vatican wanted to cover-up the actions of paedophilic priests, while others thought that the document was aimed at stopping any other concealment. In any case, this document too states that Bishops are subject to the duty of confidentiality.

MONS. DOMENICO SIGALINI – Bishop of Palestrina Diocese, Rome There have always been misbehaviours within the Catholic community. Priests behaving improperly were suspended. However the Church took no further measures because those cases were meant to be solved privately, resorting to its own laws. Since that case became public, the Church had to face public opinion and act in broad daylight. Pope Ratzinger has addressed this issue in a decisive and significant way towards the Bishops' Conferences. His intervention has been crucial. The way he faced this problem was very appreciable and considerable.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona I am not denying that Pope Ratzinger wrote some very significant documents to address the issue of paedophilia. Ratzinger’s recent behaviour has been exemplar, unlike many other Bishops. This is a fact. However, he has not always been acting in this way.

MONS. DOMENICO SIGALINI – Bishop of Palestrina Diocese, Rome Talking about Ratzinger’s transition from Cardinal to Pope we must take into account how much power he could exert. As a cardinal, he was subject to the Secretariat of State in any case. The Vatican is not the Church, it is a court. And being a court, it features all those elements which typically belong to courts. Those who are disappointed for not having been promoted usually take revenge on others. After all, we all are human beings.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City People look at Joseph Ratzinger and say this is the man who is most culpable because he has all the informational, he is the one that should have done something. In the mentality of this old men in the catholic church there is a very strong love for the institution, these are Intitution-Men, Church Men, they call them Church-Men. That doesn't mean they are bad men, but that means that they have great concern for the Institutional Church. Wherever you go, in whatever country around the world, in the Catholic Church they're all making the same mistake, why is that? It's because they are all connected to the one central branch and Rome even has not given them good instruction or is told them to keep it quiet. But it's a culture within the Catholic hierarchy that needs to change.

ALESSANDRO VANTINI – victim of sexual abuse from 6 to 12 Always! Every day. All day long. Always!

GIUSEPPE CONSIGLIO – victim of sexual abuse from 11 to 13 He abused me and another deaf-mute child.

GIANNI BISOLI – victim of sexual abuse from 9 to 16 A total of 22 priests, 6 Fellow Brothers and a Bishop.

GIUSEPPE CONSIGLIO – victim of sexual abuse from 11 to 13 I trusted him because I was just a little boy.

GIANNI BISOLI – victim of sexual abuse from 9 to 16 Nightmares. And I’ve never fully recovered.

ALESSANDRO VANTINI – victim of sexual abuse from 6 to 12 Dead, I feel like I’m dead. I am still in distress. I am not feeling well.

NARRATION: The most unimaginable crime happened in Verona. Dozens of deaf-mute children of the Antonio Provolo institute suffered sexual abuse for more than 30 years. Now these children are grown men who learnt how to express themselves in this institute but at the same time had horrible experiences. These men have founded an association aimed at obtaining justice.

MARCO LODI RIZZINI – Vice President, Provolo Deaf Association The Provolo Institute has been founded in the second half of the XIX Century with the aim to teach deaf children to speak. At that time, the Institute accommodated 450 children who usually stayed there for many years. They received elementary education and professional training then left the Institute when they reached 17 years of age. Back then there were 31 priests and 26 of them committed sexual abuse. Besides being sexually abused children even had to endure shocking corporal punishment, such as pressing their hands with a flat iron. These events constantly occurred every day.

NARRATION: The Provolo Institute was a symbol of the Church charity. It welcomed the deaf-mute children of poor families and gave them a future, but now we know that terrible abuses took place within its walls. In Italy, details about what really happened have not come to light yet. In the meanwhile the victims asked that the guilty priests to be tried in court, but their demand has not been satisfied.

GIANNI BISOLI – victim of sexual abuse from 9 to 16 My parents brought me to the Institute on a Sunday. I was 9-year-old. There were many deaf children and more than 25 priests during the presentation. They expressed themselves with gestures, therefore I couldn’t understand anything. Time went by and during my 7-year-long stay I saw everything that happened there just like many other children. In the bathroom, in the dormitories… The abuses took place mainly in the bathroom, under the shower. Once, I locked myself inside the bathroom, then I heard someone knocking on the door. It was a priest. He forced me to undress. He put me on his legs. He turned me and horribly raped me. I was shocked. I just obeyed.

ALESSANDRO VANTINI – victim of sexual abuse from 6 to 12 The priest called my name. “I want to give you a candy”, he said. “Let’s go get it in my bedroom”. The deaf children couldn’t hear us. He took me by the hand and led me upstairs. We went in his room. He took his clothes off. He was completely naked. He had to beat me to rape me. I cried, he was hurting me. I was shaking. I was little, just six.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City Often what we know about these perpetrators, the abusers, is that they groom their victims, and we've heard stories of how some of these, in the deaf-mute community, the abusers would chose children who they knew could not communicate well with their parents. So these cases aren't known what they turn to, except to the priest and the people in the institute, the very institute where they were being abused. So there's great feel who they could turn to. It's even more sinister, and more despicable when you think of robbing someone who's already dealing with these other aspects of handicap, if you want to call it that. It's taking a double advantage, it makes it even more sickening, I would say.

NARRATION: The tragedy that happened in the institute for deaf-mute children in Verona came to light after 50 years also because of the strong ties between the Church and the Italian politics and society. After more that half a Century, it is still difficult to talk about it. In fact, the city hall of Verona did not allow us to interview the victims of paedophilic priests in any public place of the city. We had to move 40 km away and arrive to Mantova.

GIUSEPPE CONSIGLIO – victim of sexual abuse from 11 to 13 I was happy because I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t hear. I wasn’t even able to communicate with my mother. There, they taught me little by little how to speak and how to hear by using the hearing aid. When I was 5, I slept in that school and my mom wasn’t there. She lived in Calabria and she didn’t have money to come to Verona. There was a church, but I didn’t even know what a church was. When I saw a priest with his white collar, I didn’t know who he was, then someone explained me. On the first day, I was sitting next to him and looking at him. His legs were opened. He started to touch me with his hands. I couldn’t understand, I was just too young. Day after day, the situation got worse and worse because he touched me everywhere and I had to do what he said. Then, he told me to remain silent and not to talk to anyone. Since then, I didn’t talk to anyone.

MARCO LODI RIZZINI – Vice President, Provolo Deaf Association The Holy See asked the Bishop of Verona to form a committee of inquiry. It was formed. In March 2011, after two years and a half after the end of the work of this committee, a letter from the Curia of Verona informed us that the Holy See acknowledged and admitted that the abuses had taken place. All those crimes had become statute-barred. I remember that the Bishop of Verona declared that for them the only thing that counted was the truth. We asked the priests to renounce the statute of limitation so that we could take them to court. This didn’t happen. They dismissed the invitation.

GIANNI BISOLI – victim of sexual abuse from 9 to 16 Like a record in my head… When I’m asleep, I remember the Institute… the abuses. I still sleep for 4 hours a day. Since I was 15, I don’t sleep.

ALESSANDRO VANTINI – victim of sexual abuse from 6 to 12 When I’m in my bed, the memories of the abuses come back vividly. I feel the same fear. I’m scared. I wake up and I shiver. My body is ruined. I feel like I’m dead.

MARCO LODI RIZZINI – Vice President, Provolo Deaf Association The deaf-mute people want justice, that’s all. The difference between what happened in Italy and in the U.S. is that the government actually did something over there as they did in Ireland. The U.S. government established a one-year window during which anyone could report abuses that would be persecuted in any case, even those barred by statute. This would be impossible in Italy.

NARRATION: Unlike other countries all over the world, Italian governments have always failed to take a stand against sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church. Moreover, the Holy See has never responded to any request submitted by victims or associations.

The Oasis of Elim is located in the countryside right outside Rome. Here, the Holy See created a top-secret clinic to treat priests suffering from mental disorders such as depression, alcoholism, drug addiction and paedophilia.

DEACON ERMES LUPARIA – center of clergy psychological support, Elim Oasis Paedophilia is not diagnosed after a single case. There have to be more than one case that lasts for more than 6 months. If there is only one case, it cannot be diagnosed as paedophilia, it needs to go on for a long time.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City When the Bishops realize, that pedophilia or ephebophilia was not just a failure but an illness,I think the idea was we need to seep professional, medical help. The first step in that direction I think was quite responsible, but even the medical professions, the psychological community, psychiatric community, has come to see in many of these cases people cannot be changed, their behaviour cannot be changed. So how do you limit the damage?

DEACON ERMES LUPARIA – center of clergy psychological support, Elim Oasis There is usually an intensive period that lasts 2 or 3 years. A first step is to raise awareness and consciousness in the paedophile. Sometimes you have to help people to recover from terrible despair. In the end, it is a process that brings the truth to light and gives the hope of changing.

MONS. DOMENICO SIGALINI – Bishop of Palestrina Diocese, Rome In some cases there is a sort of congenital tendency, therefore the problem is really serious and the people who made this kind of mistakes need to be helped to find their piece of mind as human beings and recover form this disease, and it takes a long time. In other cases the cause is not a disease but simple passion, maybe it was just a gesture, but it needs to be detected and punished anyway. We still want to give a future to these people. Their actions must not be tolerated, but they are human beings and they deserve respect and the possibility of forgiveness.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona I believe they can recover. But I think that only after 20 years of psychoanalysis a paedophile would be able to say “I did hurt children”. A paedophile priest said: “I’m grateful to the colleague of mine and the Bishop who stopped me. Only could the jail stop me.” But if you take away a person from his real life, you put him in seclusion among the best saints in the world, you still don’t solve the problem.

MONS. DOMENICO SIGALINI – Bishop of Palestrina Diocese, Rome A man committing such crimes cannot be a priest. However, if it was just an isolated incident and the patient manages to heal… If they feel really sorry, they can actually recover. When we see that a patient is behaving properly he can go back to be a priest, just like anybody else does. It will be a load on their conscience, but let’s not forget about all those people who were unfairly accused. We are learning the lesson. Now we have to start introducing educational modules in seminars, so we will be able to detect such instincts since adolescence. Anyway, letting priests get married won’t solve the problem of paedophilia, this is not the point of their issues.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City Often, the question of celibacy is a big issue. There's mandatory celibacy does it contribute? Is it the major factor in sexual abuse? I'm not sure that the mandatory celibacy, in inhabit self is. There's a whole clerical culture, I think is a cancer in the church, clerical is a misty cancer. It attracts some men who would find this a good environment to help their addiction to satisfy the craving to be around young people.

DEACON ERMES LUPARIA – center of clergy psychological support, Elim Oasis Celibacy and the lack of affective and regular sexual life are not the cause of this problem. Nonetheless, when the restraint of chastity and sexual immaturity meet, they can lead to such issues.

FATHER GIOVANNI LUPINO – Priest of San Dalmazio Church, Savona If a priest does not experience celibacy as a gift then we should expect the development of sexual deviation. Only the strongest men are able to overcome the serious lacks of education programmes in seminars. This is a tragic reality. The Church should thoroughly reconsider these aspects. However, the Church and the Bishops first do not want to think about these issues because they are afraid to leave the greatness of celibacy and to acknowledge the evilness of the rule of celibacy.

NARRATION: Many Italian dioceses will probably have to face an earth-shaking event: approximately 400 victims of paedophilia are going to claim damages caused by sexual abuse committed by priests. This fact would seriously bear on the financial resources of these dieceses involved. Being the first lawsuit of this kind in Italy, it will be a precedent for all those victims who still have not got justice.

ROBERT MICKENS – correspondent of THE TABLET from Vatican City I always wonder when is the Italian case come exploit, when is the lead gun come off? Because it's going to come off one time. The Vatican, the Catholic church is a player, in Italian society. The Church is very powerful, the Church hierarchy and the institution-Church in the Vatican. If they continue to drag their feet like this, once they get into.. When the society opens up, it's going to be a huge collapse, and I don't think they want to do that.

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