The canonical norm, collected in a papal order of John Paul II in 2001, obliges the bishops to communicate to the Vatican all cases of which they have knowledge. "Every time that the ordinary or the hierarch receives a less credible news of a more serious crime made the previous investigation, present it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith", appears in the norm. However, since the publication of the new pious Benedictine code in 1917, the crime of pedophilia in ecclesiastical law was already defined (canon 2359, second section) and in which the offender was suspended from his functions. Subsequently, with the writing of the instruction Crime Sollicitationis by Pius XI in 1922 penalties for child abuse are introduced. This law was renewed in 1962 by John XXIII and sent to all the bishops of the world. In it, appears the obligation to report the crime within a month, under penalty of excommunication. Once the complaint was made, the complainant was warned to keep confidentiality under penalty of excommunication.
After the Vatican summit on pedophiliaThe victims continue to demand concrete measures to stop the abuses and to investigate the past, so that the perpetrators and the abusers who have not come to light will be judged. In countries such as France, justice has placed high-ranking Church officials on the sidelines for covering up cases. This month, the French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin He has been sentenced to six months in prison (exempt from compliance) for silencing in 2014 a crime of pedophilia when he was bishop of Lyon. A week ago, he announced that he would present his resignation to Pope Francis.
Case Can Picafort (Mallorca).
In the proven facts of the only canonical sentence published in the media, Teodoro Úbeda, bishop of Mallorca from 1972 to 2003, appears as a connoisseur of a civil complaint of abuses by Pere Barceló to a girl at the end of the nineties. The catechist Mateu Ferrer who witnessed the events and another priest transferred what happened to two heads of the diocese. Ferrer also denounced the facts before civil justice and tried to contact the bishop through the episcopal vicar of the diocese to know "if they would collaborate" in the process. "Do what you want. In any case, we will win, "says Ferrer, who was told by the person in charge when he confessed that he had already denounced the courts. The case was filed. Years later a victim denounced Barceló in the diocese, and in 2013 a canonical process was initiated. The two vicars to whom they communicated the crimes confess in their declarations that they informed Úbeda of several notifications that they had received from the prosecutor's office of minors and individuals, but that you do not know if the bishop did anything. The ecclesiastical judges who instructed the case in 2013 argue: "With the passage of time, these people have been no longer covered up, because of the position they held before society adorned with honesty beyond any doubt. He looked, often to another side, diminishing the facts that appeared ".
Case archdiocese of Oviedo
The most recent case is that of the archbishop of Oviedo, Jesús Sanz. In 2015 a victim came to ask for help about the abuses he had suffered from priest Eustasio Sánchez Fonseca from 1984 to 1996. That same priest was denounced by the victim's family in the nineties for abusing his little sister too, but the Mother says that, out of fear, she lied in the diligences. The case was filed. The victim assures that Sanz argued to V. C. that it was the priest's word against hers. He did not separate it, did not open a canonical process and did not inform the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, according to the archdiocese of Oviedo four months ago. Neither did he, according to the version of those affected, the cardinal, vice president of the EEC and archbishop of Madrid Carlos Osoro in 2002, when he served as archbishop in Oviedo, at the time when the mother of the two alleged victims met him to ask him to remove Sánchez Fonseca. The cardinal of Madrid says he does not remember anything. "After denouncing my case in the justice and media, no one in the Church has called me," says the affected.
Case of La Bañeza (León)
Other episodes were reported to the perpetrators when the events happened, but they were covered up. Javier, his brother and another child asked the director of the La Bañeza seminary, Gregorio Rodríguez (deceased), and then the sixth year tutor, Francisco Javier Redondo (now vicar of Ponferrada) because the priest José Manuel Ramos Gordón abused them. The priest continued in school and the attacks continued until they left the center in 1989. A course of abuse. About fifteen years later, Javier wrote to the Pope and the case was reopened. The investigation specified that the then bishop Antonio Briva was informed of the facts. The current bishop of Astorga and current president of the anti-pandering commission of the EEC, Juan Antonio Menéndez, insinuated in a meeting with former seminarians in 2017 that the bishopric, in his day, he took measures and moved the priest to the parish of Tábara (Zamora) in 1990. Menéndez, who put Ramos Gordón's sentence during the process, silenced the condemnation of public opinion and allowed the priest to officiate three masses and the parishioners of Tábara paid tribute to him. Since then, Javier has asked in the media that the Vatican reopen his case to punish the priests who covered up their case and are still alive.
Case of Manuel Villar (Castellón)
The old bishop of Castellón José Maria Cases (deceased in 2002) he was also informed that the priest Antonio Gil Gargallo de Artana abused Manuel Vilar in 1982, by then with 12 years. Several people from the diocese, including the bishop, interviewed Vilar. The priest was transferred to his hometown. The diocese assures that "it does not have in its file documentation on the case", that the decision of the transfer "corresponds to a canonical penalty" and that "the bishop had to take it and communicate it verbally". The bishopric adds that, "according to the facts, the transfer included a severe verbal admonition from the bishop not to return to Artana."
Case of the Diocese of Salamanca
In the case of Javier Paz and two other victims of priest Isidro López in the eighties and nineties in Salamanca, the bishops of this city Mauro Rubio (from 1964 to 1995) and Braulio Rodríguez (from 1995 to 2002, later archbishop of Valladolid and current archbishop of Toledo) they ignored the denunciations that had come to them during their mandates against this priest. This is stated in the canonical sentence of 2014 to which EL PAÍS had access, by means of a recording of its reading to the victims, since no copy was given to them. The cause was instructed by the current bishop of Salamanca, Carlos López, between 2011 and 2014, but during the canonical process he did not separate the abuser, despite having confessed, and continued to officiate in a parish and in contact with minors. Paz felt mistreated during the three years that the process lasted and in 2014 he made his case public in the media. But there is a fourth bishop who learned about this case, according to Javier Paz. He assures that in 2010 he went to ask for help along with his mother from an old friend of the family, the Bishop of Barbastro, Alfonso Milián. "He just told me that I had to forgive myself, forget and move on," recalls the victim. Milián, contacted by this newspaper, says he does not remember that conversation.
The last three bishops of Salamanca, in addition, concealed the case of abuse of Francisco Carreras, a priest expelled from the diocese of Miami in 1981 for several denunciations of pedophilia. Rubio welcomed him despite the express warning of the US diocese and, in the same way that his successors did in office, he moved him to several parishes. At least five people from the province of Salamanca have claimed that they suffered abuse from Carreras, two in Sequeros and three in Calzada de Valdunciel. Carreras came to officiate as a pastor in 12 localities from his arrival in Miami until 2004 and was also a professor in two public and one religious schools. He currently resides in a sanctuary in the province and no canonical process has been opened. Neither Braulio Rodriguez nor Carlos López have wanted to talk with this newspaper to tell their version of events. Mauro Rubio has passed away. The diocese has not given a single explanation of the Carreras case.
Case of the archdiocese of Barcelona
To the movements of parishes were added the transfers abroad. A clear example was the case of the priest Jordi Senabre, imputed for abusing a 12-year-old boy in 1988 in Polinyà (Barcelona). Before the trial was held, the Cardinal and Archbishop of Barcelona Ricard Maria Carles signed Senabre's transfer to Ecuador as a missionary in 1990, as EL PAÍS has discovered. He was arrested in 1994 in Uruguay for an arrest warrant for Spanish justice, but the extradition did not succeed. At the time of the flight Cardinal Lluís Martínez i Sistach was auxiliary bishop (later bishop of Tortosa and archbishop of Tarragona) and when Carles left office he was replaced as prelate of the county town in 2004. In his position, he continued to conceal the escape of the accused. His whereabouts and the details of his escape were unknown until EL PAÍS located him in a parish in Ecuador. The current archbishop, Juan José Omella, has not opened an investigation against Senabre, nor asked him to return to the diocese, nor has he taken any measures.
Diocese case Ciudad Rodrigo
In other cases prosecuted by a civil court with convictions, the bishops did not open a canonical investigation and kept the priest pedophile in their destinies. This is the case of the current Bishop of León, Julián López, who in 1998, when he was bishop of Ciudad Rodrigo, did not impose a canonical penalty on him and hid, without making it public to the faithful, that he had been sentenced to one year in prison (which fulfilled). According to the story of the family of a second victim, he agreed with them not to denounce in exchange for transferring him to another town. Lopez denies it. The successive bishops, Atilano Rodríguez (current prelate in the diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara) and Raúl Berzosa, in office until 2019, continued to maintain Galán in several parishes and in contact with minors. Nowadays, the priest is part of the judicial vicarage, responsible for judging, among other things, cases of abuse. The diocese has not wanted to clarify which bishop returned to assign him to a parish after the sentence. Atilano Rodríguez also did not want to clarify it and it is sent to the diocese.
Case archdiocese of Madrid
In certain episodes it is difficult to know the level of concealment or involvement of bishops in cases of known abuses. In most cases, the meetings held with the victims or complainants do not appear in any registry, so usually there are two contradictory accounts: the one of those affected and the one of the Church. For example, in the 2000s some catechists of the archdiocese of Madrid denounced a priest from Aluche for abusing a minor. The cleric was sentenced to two years in prison and the archbishopric to pay compensation as subsidiary liability of 30,000 euros. The catechists assured that they went to the civil justice because the bishopric did not do anything when they communicated what happened to him by letter. In addition, as they say, the then archbishop, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, expelled them and exerted pressure so that the case would not come to light.
If you know of any case of sexual abuse that has not seen the light, write us with your complaint to [email protected]