April 23, 2021

The archbishop of Tarragona on the abuses in his diocese: "It was a bad moment" of the priests | Society

The archbishop of Tarragona on the abuses in his diocese: "It was a bad moment" of the priests | Society

The trickle of revelations about sexual abuse of minors and cases of pedophilia allegedly committed by priests of the Archdiocese of Tarragona has caused a new cessation. The priest Josep Maria Font has confirmed his resignation and, in a statement, apologizes "to all the people who may have been offended or disappointed." Font officiated at the Lleida municipality of Arbeca and in other small parishes in the province of Lleida, but the abuses that have allegedly transpired committed when he was in the area of ​​Tarragona, where Cambrils was his last destination. It is the circumstance that Font, 65, was born in Constantí, the town where the first episodes of this series of cases of child sexual abuse were uncovered. The archbishop of Tarragona, Jaume Pujol, has valued episodes of pedophilia as a "bad moment" on the part of priests and denies that the acts discovered are "so serious" as to force their secularization. "Everyone can make mistakes," he added.

The resignation of Font derives from a response of containment on the part of the Archbishopric, that has tried to react to stop the wear that is undergoing the institution after the succession of scandals. On Monday the alleged abuses practiced for years by the late Pere Llagostera, now deceased, and in the last hours two other cases of pedophilia in the diocese of Tarragona have been added. However, the resignation has come only when the name of the priest who was behind one of the cases of child abuse that, this Tuesday, confirmed the Archbishop's own has been made public. When reporting the resignation of the priest of Constantí Xavier Morell for alleged abuses and possession of child pornography, the Archbishop reported that another priest of the diocese had also been investigated for his improper behavior with minors. He did not reveal the name and there was no reference to being removed from office. It was only pointed out that, at the time, "disciplinary measures proportionate to the proven facts" had been taken. The events, committed between 2015 and 2016, were libidinous touching on children.

Josep Maria Font was the one behind the abuses. After the "disciplinary measures", that is to say, a temporary departure from the service so that he could reflect in the monastery of Poblet, he was assigned to a new parish. He left Tarragona to go to Lleida. Specifically, he officiated in the parish of Arbeca and, in parallel, in the small municipalities of Maldà, Belianes, Nalec, Omellons and Rocafort de Vallbona.

In a statement where he says he has asked to be relieved of his position, the priest says he deeply regrets "this situation" and launches a request for forgiveness: "I apologize to all the people who may have been offended or disappointed."

Before his temporary separation from direct contact with the parishioners, Josep Maria Font worked as a priest in Cambrils, where he arrived after a long period in Pla de Santa Maria, Figuerola del Camp i Cabra del Camp. He had also officiated at the Pont d'Armentera, Esblada and Querol, and towns in Priorat as Cornudella, Porrera and Morera de Montsant.

Josep Maria Font was born in Constantí, the town, next to Tarragona, where the first of the episodes of child abuse committed by priests of the Diocese of Tarragona was uncovered. In his time as a seminarian, Font was in contact with the priest Pere Llagostera, the clergyman, who died two years ago, who supposedly took advantage of the excursions to the Pyrenees to abuse the altar boys and other children of the town.


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