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PARAPPULLY Jose, New Delhi says,
NEED FOR HEALING CENTRES: WILL THE CONGREGATION RISE TO THE (RADICAL) CHALLENGE? Holding Up to the Light - 24
By Jose Parappully
forum
360° VIEW
New Delhi, Apr. 30. My intervention in the General Assembly of GC 27 for a Statement (supported by other Chapter members as well) expressing regret for abuses by Salesians and commitment to caring for the survivors did not carry through, as mentioned in an earlier SpeakUp.  
However the need for providing support and care for those involved in abuse found some expression in the early drafts of the Final Document of the Chapter. I intervened during the discussion on these, pleading for the Congregation`s support for setting up Healing Centres.

Intervention at GC27- On ``Way Ahead``

In an earlier intervention I referred to the suffering of survivors of abuse.

However, it is not only survivors of abuse that suffer. Offenders also suffer. Research shows that many offenders themselves have been abused.

Minors are not the only ones who have been abused. Adults too are abused. Some Salesians themselves have been abused and often carry unhealed wounds.

There is also anecdotal and research evidence that many who are entering our formation houses (at least in South Asia) have had some childhood abuse experience.

And there is also research evidence that many who have been abused in childhood by an adult develop a vulnerability to abusing others when they themselves become adults.

Hence, if these survivors are not offered opportunity for healing, it is likely that some of them, besides suffering emotionally and spiritually, may go on to abuse others when they become Salesians, making the Congregation vulnerable to many challenges resulting from the abuse, as experience has already shown.

Suffering arises not only from issues related to abuse, whether physical, emotional or sexual. There are also Salesians and other Church personnel who suffer mentally, emotionally and spiritually, for a variety of reasons.

In his report on Religious Discipline, if I understood rightly, Fr. Adriano Bregolin, the then Vicar of the Rector Major, at least in two places mentioned that it is difficult to find places where those who require healing can receive the required care, support and treatment.

Fr. Bregolin is right. I know only of two places in the world where adequate holistic healing is provided that addresses the specific needs of clergy and religious in difficult situations.

One is St. Luke`s Institute at Springfield, Maryland, USA. The other is Southdown Institute in Ontario, Canada. A third, Encompass in Australia has been closed, for mostly financial reasons I understand.

All these places are hugely expensive, although they offer quality care. It is not possible for many, especially from the developing countries, to afford such care.

In this context, it would be very helpful and beneficial if our Congregation takes initiative to set up holistic healing centre/centres to provide quality care.

This would be a great service, and also a radical sign of our concern for those who suffer, victims and offenders, not only Salesians, but also others.

If the congregational leadership is open to setting up such a healing centre, then viable possibilities are emerging in the South Asia region. It is possible for us to provide quality care of highest standards in very affordable ways.

I earnestly request that the Congregational leadership consider favourably this proposal.

Thank you.

Jose Parappully,
Delegate, INN

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