The Tarraconense Episcopal Conference, which brings together the 10 Catalan Bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Barcelona and Tarragona, has promised this morning to take a firm step to impose on the clergy the obligation of to report to the Prosecutor's Office the cases of abuses about which it has news.
In a note made public after the end of the meeting held the last two days, the bishops subscribe their "firm commitment to compliance with the current canonical and civil legislation." This involves "informing the Public Prosecutor about the events that could constitute [un] crime against liberty and sexual indemnity for the corresponding legal assessment. "Also" to urge the victims to report the facts before the civil authorities. "Finally, the Conference commits itself to" inform the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of any case of substantiated abuse. "
After decades of silence and cover-up, the Spanish Church has begun in recent months to change its position on sexual abuse of minors before the avalanche of complaints arising. The Spanish Episcopal Conference announced last autumn his intention to update his protocols with the objective that bishops or priests are obliged to notify the prosecutor's office of the denunciations they receive.
The protocol of the Episcopal Conference valid since 2010 it only states that "the ecclesiastical authority invites or advises the victims to denounce the facts themselves before the police, the prosecutor's office or the court".
To date, the Spanish Church has covered cases of pedophilia committed by its members. In some cases, he opened procedures in his ecclesiastical courts, but these were kept secret. In others, he simply adopted measures such as changing the person responsible for priesthood or responsibility.
The Catalan bishops affirm that the cases known in recent months "fill them with shame and pain". "We apologize to the victims and we sympathize with their pain, and also to all the people to whom the knowledge of these facts has scandalized," the note reads.
"We suffer and pray for the victims, who have been marked in their lives," say the bishops, who call on all celebrations of March 6, Ash Wednesday, "pray and fast in a special way the victims of abuse. "
Among the recent cases known in Catalonia are the abuses committed in the Benedictine Monastery of Montserrat by the monk Andreu Soler, who were concealed by at least two abbots of the religious institution.
Also those carried out by the parish priest of Vilobí d'Onyar (Girona) and professor of the Opus Bell-lloc school, mossèn Tomàs. These lasted for three decades despite the fact that already in the 70s municipal offices alerted the Bishopric of Girona of the complaint of a family.
In Tarragona, two parish priests abandoned their priestly work after the abuse of minors committed by them. In the middle of the storm, the archbishop, Jaume Pujol, submitted his resignation before the Vatican, although he claimed that this was because he had turned 75, age in which the canonical laws provide for this step.