The terrible story of the disabled beaten while making a video of what was happening in Olbia shows a sick society, no longer able to recognize its weakest and frail limbs as parts of its body. It compels us to search our hearts because as Father Oreste used to say, “when we leave our most suffering limbs behind – such as a disabled person, for instance – we can no longer define ourselves a people, but rather a bunch of people, where everyone is pursuing their own interests”.
Catching again the invitation made by bishops in 1981, we have to start all over again from the last, from those who experience most difficulties. This can be achieved only through genuine integration since nursery schools, through which to guarantee access to studies also to the disabled, including university and the job market. Whoever has disabilities, be they physical or mental, should not be considered different. It is important to develop a collective idea of ourselves as a community.
We also need to overcome the model based only on institutions. Ever since Father Oreste began his activities alongside the last, Community “Pope John XXIII” has been arguing that the ideal place to make people, especially the less fortunate, live and grow is the family. Our houses are modeled on this pattern, offering a father and a mother to those who, for various reasons, can no longer live with their birth parents.
Children and young people with disabilities should be able to live in their families, and the state and social structures have to do everything in their power to guarantee their right to education and personal fulfillment. Rehabilitative treatment facilities guarantee diagnosis and treatment support in certain phases of the disease. But they cannot replace the family. Moreover, the disabled themselves have the right to create one. In our community journey, there have been people with severe disabilities who got married and have had the opportunity to have an emotional and sex life like everyone else.