The parishioners of two parishes of O Barco de Valdeorras (Ourense) have made public a statement in which they request the return of the priest Ángel Sánchez Cao, separated by the diocese of Astorga – to which he belongs – last Tuesday by alleged abuse of minors in the minor seminary of La Bañeza (León) during the eighties. "The ecclesiastical authorities complain about the lack of vocation, but you have to have a lot, not only vocation, but also patience when you see that your 'own house', the Church to which you belong, is the first to point you with the finger of the guilt, "the neighbors reproach Bishop Jose Antonio Menéndez, also president of the commission antipederastia of the Spanish Episcopal Conference In support of the alleged abuser, the residents of Arcos and Veigamuiños (parishes where he exercised the cure) did not attend Mass. New Year and affirm in the note that they will not do it either on the 6th, the day of the Epiphany The parishioners have sent the communiqué to the bishop, where they also announce a collection of signatures against the adopted measures.
The decision of the bishopric comes two years after Emiliano Álvarez, alleged victim of Sánchez Cao, denounced in 2017 in the media and in the diocese the priest for abuses in the late seventies. The diocese opened a canonical process that, to this day, has not concluded. "I still remember waking up at night and seeing him, blond with gold glasses, taking off my pajamas while pointing me with a flashlight", He reported to EL PAÍS the complainant in an interview last September. During the last two years, the alleged abuser continued to officiate mass in the parish and in contact with children. Last May, as reported The Diario de León, celebrated the communions of the children of the locality. In the press release of last Tuesday the bishopric justified the removal of Sánchez Cao for new "founded news" accusing him of abusing another minor during his stay in La Bañeza.
The neighbors of the Ourense parishes emphasize that the Church has not confirmed the veracity of these crimes and that the new accusations are the fruit "of the capital sin of envy", which, they say, "the ecclesiastical world is not spared either". The twenty catechists who teach classes to more than 130 children from the parishes of Sanchez Cao have decided to resign as a sign of "rejection of the decision of the bishop, since he has never witnessed any behavior or complaint similar to the events reported. "
The parishioners describe Sánchez Cao as a dedicated priest who, despite having been "front page of newspapers and media" for two years, has not left aside his work as a cleric. "The priests, in their Christian desire to lead by example, affirm and reaffirm their questioned reputation and become the leaders of the parishes that have the most children receiving catechesis, with the largest number of catechists teaching." The parishioners of said priest also defended his innocence when the first denunciation was made public in 2017. The priest has always denied the crimes of which he is accused. "What has been related so far may well be science fiction, but far from being so, is the reality that a priest from Valladolid is living whom the bishopric has considered guilty without even daring to judge him," the statement concludes.
Another Astorga priest set aside a decade for abuse
Along with the decision to remove Sánchez Cao, the Bishop of Astorga announced the beginning of compliance with the sentence by the priest José Manuel Ramos Gordón for abusing, at least, four minors in the minor seminary of La Bañeza, center where the priest of O Barco de Valdeorras also allegedly abused. Ramos Gordón was separated by Menéndez in 2017 after a canonical trial a year of spiritual exercises. The bishop silenced the media for the condemnation and allowed Tábara, a town where the priest was a parish priest until then, to pay homage to him. The first victim, dissatisfied with the sentence, he made it public in the media and that same year another complaint was added. The Vatican ordered to reopen the case and Ramos Gordón was sentenced again last September, but resorted to failure. Reason why until this week has not begun to serve the sentence.