I Was Dead and Forgiveness Has Resurrected Me
Book Chronicles Path of Reconciliation For Convicted Murderer, Pietro Maso
Rome, (ZENIT.org) Antonio Gaspari | 2952 hits
In the end, on April 17, 1991, he with his face bare and three friends with carnival masks and false hair, waited for his parents, Antonio and Rosa. He beat them with an iron pipe butchering and killed them – with inexplicable ferocity. According to psychiatrist Vittorino Andreoli who prepared the report , it is a case of “narcissistic hypertrophy” with the “father and the mother perceived only as a money-box, from which to take when necessary and to break if the need required it.”
In the book “I Was the Evil,” written by Raffaella Regoli, and published by Mondadori, Pietro Maso says “They have written about me, about us, who killed to have a good life. We wanted to enter into life. And instead, staining myself with the most terrible of crimes, at nineteen I entered the tomb together with Mom and Dad.”
But how can one kill one’s own parents? Maso replies: “To give life and to give death can make you feel eternal. But there is no pleasure. I didn’t feel it. To kill is a privation, an absence, a destructive giddiness. It is like throwing oneself from a palace knowing that you can’t fly.” On April 19, 1991, at the age of nineteen, Maso entered the Campone di Verona prison, having been sentenced to 30 years in jail.
He should have stayed in prison until 2021, but thanks to three years of indult and five years of good conduct (45 days maturing every six months), he was released last April 15.
They were twenty-two years of harsh prison at Verona and then at Milan, spent in fear, anguish, guilt feelings, loneliness -- an enormous crime that overwhelms the mind and heart.
Maso describes the prison: “There are deep and dark corridors, and filthy walls with [urine] and blood, food and spit. (…)There are doors of thick dark wood with iron hinges. When they open, there is a hoarse, deafening, vulgar voice, like the scream vomited from the belly of a monster. But what I shall never be able to forget is the odor: a stench that sticks to you; it soils you inside. It is the stench of human flesh, rotten, of open gangrene.”
While enduring despair, the weight of guilt and the fear of suffering violence from the other detainees, it happened one day that Maso heard on the radio Father Guido Todeschini, director of Telepace, who speaking about him said: “What do we do, do we abandon him, do we bury him alive as he deserves or do we stretch our hand out to him and try to rescue him, taking into account his young age? Of course, at this moment it’s easier to be executioners than to be moved to pardon. But if we leave him there in prison, forgotten, we commit the same crime.”
Father Todeschini did not limit himself to talk about him. He looked for him, wrote him letters and asked to meet him. Maso says: “I, buried alive, hated, reneged, forgotten. I who when the day arrived for conversations entered my cell in complete solitude, now I had someone who was interested in me. I was accepted.
The meeting was the beginning of a new life, with the forgiveness of God brought by a priest. Maso continues: “I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was ten o’clock in the morning. How much I waited for this day. Finally it arrived. (…) After almost ten months, someone was coming for me (…) Father Guido is standing. He turns his back to the table. The door closes; finally, before me is a man about fifty, tall, about 1.70 meters [5 ft. 5 in.], of normal build. He is wearing the black habit with the white collar. When I started to come in he, instead of drawing back, as I was used to seeing happen, came to meet me. He embraced me. This had never happened.”
From that moment, Father Guido went every Saturday to the prison. He said to Maso: “Do you know Pietro how many kilometers I have come to bring you every Saturday the Body of Christ? If we add up the kilometers I have covered from Verona to Milan in all these years, it would be equivalent to three trips around the world.”
Maso says that Father Guido “At times was paternal, at others harsh, severe. I never knew what to expect. But he was always there. He never missed a Saturday. His faith, his tenacity, gave me incredible strength. If he was doing this for me, I should become worthy of his sacrifice,” I thought.
Father Guido went ahead and brought his two sisters, Nadia and Laura, to meet Pietro.
Maso wrote: ”A few steps separated us, but my feet were nailed to the ground, as were my eyes. Father Guido understood and made a sign to me with his head. I didn’t move. Nadia and Laura came to me, they embraced me. Now we were embracing. We were three in one. I was expecting everything: reproach, anger, slaps. And everything could have happened. But I wasn’t ready for this grip of love. Without knowing it, Laura and Nadia put an important stone on my path. This grip loosened everything: the pain, the fear, the hatred, death.”
“Pietro, we love you, you are our brother,” said Laura and Nadia and Pietro responds: “I have my eyes closed. God is giving me the greatest gift of my life. I can’t believe it; it’s really happening to me. I don’t deserve it. Their forgiveness freed me from myself, as if someone had entered into me and had turned me upside down.
On Easter Sunday of 2008, Father Guido broadcasted on Telepace the interview with Laura and Nadia.
In his blog, Luigi Accattoli transcribed Laura’s words.
I am the sister of Pietro Maso who, 17 years ago, killed our parents. We sisters, together with the loss of two parents had also lost a brother, and so we tried to begin a new and difficult path, with very strong inner suffering, because it’s not easy to forgive such a grave thing. We thank Father Guido for his help: he was the first to go to Pietro in prison and to follow him over these years. Thus we too, slowly, slowly reconstructed a beautiful relationship with the brother we had lost, as we had lost the whole family.
We could have abandoned that brother. It would have been easy. Instead, to forgive is something more profound and difficult, but which has also given us inner joy given the small steps we saw our brother taking, his journey, his conversion. We forgave him on hearing Jesus’ words “love one another.”
It’s easy to love when you are loved, but it’s difficult when you hear it said “he killed his parents.” These are very strong words for us, but we know that we must also make our own those words of Jesus who said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” We have forgiven with the help of God and look, this brother who was dead has resurrected and it is he, in turn, who comforts us with his journey. Today, Easter Sunday, it seems lovely to be able to say: ’We were dead and we have resurrected.’ Sometimes we go to the tombs of our parents and we feel we are in paradise there, that they are close and approve of the path that their children are taking.
To forgive does not mean to turn the page and pretend that nothing happened. It means to see the whole thing, also the crime, in the light of faith. It’s not that one forgets. Forgiveness is something profound and one must feel it within to be able to live well. I don’t know how one can live hating.
We went so many times to see him in prison, about every two to three months. He did not asked for it. Of course it was Father Guido who asked for it and in the beginning we were against it because we were afraid he would take advantage of us. Little by little, being with him, we rediscovered ourselves as siblings and we said that perhaps many siblings who live together do not have that feeling. So our fear of his taking advantage ended and today we are certain that he has undertaken a journey without which he would have been lost and, at the end, we also would have been lost
Our husbands have supported us in this choice. Our children slowly, slowly have begun to understand and they know and they call him uncle and live well their relationship with him. The joy we feel in our hearts of having found our bother again has perhaps helped us to give this teaching.
Bishop Flavio Carraro, who was kept informed more than once by Father Guido said to us: ‘Be close to him, forgive him, pray for him.’ We have tried to do so.”
Evil had transformed Pietro into a monster, but the forgiveness of God, of his sisters, of Father Guido worked the miracle. They brought back to life a youth who was dead and damned.