March 1, 2021

The Catalan ombudsman will investigate the allegations of abuse in Montserrat | Society

The Catalan ombudsman will investigate the allegations of abuse in Montserrat | Society



The Catalan ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, has announced this morning the opening of an investigation into the denunciations of sexual abuses committed to minors in the Monastery of Montserrat and other ecclesiastical establishments.

In a statement, the Sindicatura de Greuges -name in Catalan of this body- has indicated that the Catholic Church, "because it provides care services […] it has to assume a firm commitment in the fight against child sexual abuse. "Ribó" will urge the ecclesiastical authorities to carry out actions of prevention, detection, training of professionals and denunciation "of cases of abuse.

The Sindicatura has informed that it will request information from the Generalitat of Catalonia, the Tarraconense Episcopal Conference and the Abbey of Montserrat about the cases that have recently come to light. Those responsible for the religious institution and announced a few days ago the creation of a commission to investigate reported cases, amounting to five to date. The spokeswoman of the Catalan Government, Elsa Artadi, has said this morning on the case that the Generalitat will be "pending" the progress of the work of the commission.

The trickle of complaints has occurred in the last days after EL PAÍS revealed on the 19th that the last two abbots of the monastery of Montserrat, Sebastià Bardolet and the current one, Josep Maria Soler, knew since 1999 the existence of at least one complaint of abuse of a minor committed in the early 70s by the monk Andreu Soler and they did not take any action.

A year later, the accused – who was the founder of the monastery's scout group – was transferred to another center of the Benedictine order, El Miracle, in Lleida, but according to the abbey, the abbey did not denounce the abuse of the The police did not open any canonical procedure, according to the rules of the Church. Nor did he notify the Vatican in spite of the fact that the Holy See forced it to communicate to Rome in 2001 the allegations of abuse.

In the last week, four other victims have taken the step of reporting similar cases in various media.

A spokesman for the Abbey of Montserrat explained that the religious institution "makes itself available" to the Sindicatura and that "it will collaborate at any time on what it needs". The monastery has not reported for now the number of complaints received by the commission after its creation and the impact caused by the information of the last days. "Now is the time for the commission to work with all the rigor and tranquility necessary to clarify what happened and combat this scourge", concluded this spokesman.

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