The abbot of Montserrat, Josep Maria Soler, In this morning's homily, he asked forgiveness of the victims of sexual abuse committed by a monk of the Benedictine congregation, Brother Andreu Soler, that have been reported in recent weeks. "These events have moved everyone and in a very special way to our community," said Soler.
"We humbly apologize to the victims, we sympathize with their pain and offer them our full support." The sexual abuse of minors by consecrated persons to God hurts us deeply because they hurt the most vulnerable part of the victims and betray the trust they had deposited in them, "the abbot has followed.
The statement has taken place shortly aftervictims of alleged sexual abuse by priests have carried out this morning in front of the monastery the first act of protest by the cataract of cases that are surfacing in recent months in Spain. The gathering was led by Miguel Hurtado, the first complainant of the aggressions suffered by Brother Andreu, who for four decades led his group of scouts of the Benedictine abbey.
"The abbot must resign immediately for covering up for 18 years the abuses of Brother Andreu," said Hurtado, who on January 19 uncovered the case through the pages of EL PAÍS. Since then, four other people have publicly denounced having suffered abuse from the same monk.
"I do not know them, they are from other ages, but this further corroborates that we are dealing with a real predator who for decades abused the children who passed through the monastery without their leaders doing anything," added Hurtado. He recalled that "at least in 1978 there were the first complaints of a family against Soler, which is why the concealing abbots are three".
The act was also attended by Juan Cuatrecasas, president of the Stolen Children – the first Spanish association to support victims of pedophilia in the Church – and father ofn minor who suffered abuses in the Biscayan school of Opus Dei Gaztelueta, and Peter Saunders, victim of abuses that was member of the anti-Vatican commission of the Vatican.
"It is time for the law, the Church and the authorities to start adapting to the victims, and not the other way round," Cuatrecasas has defended. "This includes the end of the prescription of these crimes, but also many other aspects of the daily life of the victims, many will need support for many years, perhaps throughout their lives, and all institutions should do their part. having many resistances to face the problem in all its magnitude ", he added.
Cuatrecasas has given a recent example of his son: "We paid the university tuition for this course, but it could not even begin because it has had a strong emotional downturn .. Universities, public services … all of them must add in support to the victims "
All the participants have been very critical of the role played to date by the Church, including the Pope. "What you should do is not just meet with your bishops, many of whom are accessories, you should meet experts in the field and also with the victims," Saunders said.
The management that Montserrat is making of the complaints, for which an internal commission has opened, has also been the target of criticism. "The commission was created two weeks ago, has not yet met and we do not even know if they are going to call us," lamented Hurtado, who considers that "it makes no sense to be a commission in which independent experts or victims do not participate. "
For all victims it is necessary that "the Church accepts the problem in its entire dimension and begins to act accordingly." "You should open up to listen to the victims, offer them comfort and ask for forgiveness, and adopt all the necessary measures to repair the damage inflicted with total transparency," the participants agreed.
The act this morning has had little assistance, just a dozen people. Despite this, the promoters consider that it is only the beginning of a long struggle until the Church and the authorities assume their responsibilities, "according to Cuatrecasas The victims also remember that in the United States when the great scandals of abuse They exploded, the victims had been celebrating thousands of small acts of protest like yesterday.