The bishops will not participate directly in the investigation commission led by the Ombudsman, and will let the firm Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo lead relations with the victims and public powers, as announced this afternoon by the spokesman for the Episcopal Conference , Luis Argüello, who nevertheless admitted that the initiative approved yesterday by Congress "It is more respectful of the victims" than that proposed by United We Can.
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What there will not be will be a "direct" participation. "We have to know the real proposal that is made to us. Be part of the commission? A priori, our inclination would be negative", although he did point out that "the Cremades team will present its work". "We believe that it is important that the legal system is respected. But if another explicit collaboration is asked of us, we will value it," stressed Argüello, who dropped that "the Church is not a public administration" to which, by law, the body directed by Ángel Gabilondo can control.
The CEE spokesman also admitted that a meeting with the victims in the next Plenary (assembly) "has not been considered", something that also seems to be left in the hands of the lawyers. "I know that the Cremades team wants to meet all the associations and all the people who want to do it."
What the bishops have done, and it is a novelty compared to the last few months, is to present a series of data, coming from the 202 offices that the Church has between dioceses (60) and religious congregations (142), and that throws the least 506 victims of abuse – "to whom we want to offer recognition and reparation in the future," they pointed out.
The figure is double the number recognized just a year ago (220), and includes a large part of those included in the report The country. In 2021, in addition, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received and investigates 14 new cases, which have not passed through the sieve of the Spanish Church.
“A map” of pederasty
Of these cases, 300 refer to complaints that would be civilly and canonically prescribed, since they date back at least 30 years, while the rest would be subject to judicial or ecclesiastical persecution. 103 of the complaints refer to deceased persons. "There are complaints against clergymen, priests, religious, brothers and laity with orders or work in the Church," said Argüello, pointing out the need to "make a map" of pederasty in Spain. Something that, to date, was considered taboo in the House of the Church.
Regarding a possible opening of the archives, the CEE spokesman indicated that "the Church will collaborate by facilitating the available information, with respect for data protection, the privacy of the victims, but from a spirit of collaboration. We are the most interested in the knowledge of the truth.
Regarding his relationship with the Cremades law firm, Argüello described it as "full collaboration and respect for their independence and work pace." "They have asked us for information and we are communicating it to them." They also seem to unload communication on them: "They have to be the ones to say what they are doing," he stressed.
"Again we want to point out that all initiatives that allow unmasking and helping to end the scourge of abuse in the Church and in society will always have our support," stressed the auxiliary bishop of Valladolid. Said collaboration "wants to be beyond any doubt, within the framework of current legislation."
"The Church remains committed to developing training processes to prevent abuse and remove those people who show that they are unworthy. We want the truth to shine, so that there are no wolves that disguise themselves as lambs and are shepherds, but also so that tens of thousands of people who give their lives in educational, catechetical and missionary activities are not subjected to permanent suspicion, and it cannot be said, because it is unfair, that the Church is an insecure place for children, adolescents and young people" , ended.
Regarding the meeting held yesterday between Félix Bolaños and the president of the EEC, Juan José Omella, Argüello indicated that the Minister of the Presidency informed them of the agreement for the investigation commission, while the Cardinal of Barcelona showed his discomfort with the way in which the meeting with Pedro Sánchez in which the agreement on registrations was announced was managed by the media. "We were bothered" by the way in which the government mediated the meeting, Argüello said. "We offer collaboration, but from both sides," he warned.
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