Spain: New report on Minor’s Abuse Crimes by Members of the Catholic Church

A report from a committee of Spanish deputies on sexual abuse crimes against minors committed by members of the Spanish Catholic Church in recent decades has been published.

Editorial (10/28/2023 13:00, Gaudium Press) As a result of a 15-month investigation, a report on sexual abuses committed against minors by members of the Catholic Church was released last Friday, October 27.

Unlike other countries like France, Italy, and Portugal, where ecclesiastical authorities commissioned a similar report, the Spanish document was created at the request of a committee of deputies established in 2022.

Ángel Gabilondo, the Ombudsman, was responsible for presenting the report in the Spanish Congress. The document, which comprises over 770 pages, is the culmination of a listening and investigation process that lasted about 15 months. In total, 478 people who were sexually abused by members of the Catholic Church in Spain when they were minors were heard.

In his presentation speech, the Ombudsman explained that the report is a response to the victims and the suffering and loneliness to which they were relegated for years, emphasizing that the abuses had a devastating impact on each of them.

A critical discourse against the Church and proposals for improvements

He did not refrain from harshly criticizing the stance of Church members who covered up the cases: “It is not true that everyone knew. However, it is true that it is not true that no one knew,” Gabilondo said regarding the existence of pedophilia cases.

The Ombudsman also criticized the Church hierarchy’s strategy of transferring the accused from one parish to another or even from one country to another to suppress the consequences of the cases.

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Regarding those who turned to ecclesiastical authorities seeking justice, Ángel Gabilondo explained that few were properly listened to and assisted.

In addition to shedding light on the issue of pedophilia, the report suggests a new compensation model, proposing a state fund for the victims’ reparation. The document calls on the Catholic Church to offer and fund psychological support for the victims and their families, as well as requesting greater cooperation from the dioceses in the investigation process of such crimes. (FM)

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