June 21, 2021

The Spanish Church creates the first body to serve victims of abuse | Society

The Spanish Church creates the first body to serve victims of abuse | Society


The Spanish Church has created the first body to attend to the victims of abuse by priests. The Bishop of Astorga and president of the antipederasty commission of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), Juan Antonio Menéndez, has established an episcopal delegation to care for the children and accompany the abused in his diocese. The organ, headed by the psychologist María José Díez Alonso, will be composed of specialists in civil, canon law, priests and advisers, as it appears in the letters that the bishopric sent last Friday to several victims. The official presentation of said delegation will be tomorrow Wednesday.

The news of the creation of this first official organ of a diocese to assist those affected by abuse is known on the eve of the summit called for Thursday at the Vatican in which, for four days, the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of the whole world will meet with Pope Francis to deal with the problem of pedophilia in their midst. Other dioceses consulted by this newspaper, such as the archdiocese of Madrid and Cartagena, have explained that they do not plan, at the moment, to create a similar delegation, but that they see a similar action likely after the meeting with the Pope.

The president of the antipederastia commission is known for having drafted the protocol of action against the most rigid abuses of the 70 dioceses of Spain. This rule requires those responsible to know cases to communicate them to the competent authorities. Menéndez jumped to the media for silencing public opinion condemning for the pedophilia of the priest José Manuel Ramos Gordón-a year of separation from the office of parish priest for abusing three minors at the end of the eighties- and for allow the parish where he worked to pay homage while he was serving the sentence. The EEC appointed him last October as president of a reserved commission to update the protocols that the ecclesial leadership had published in 2010 – and that does not oblige bishops to communicate the cases to the Office of the Prosecutor – after EL PAÍS began publishing its investigation into the silence of the Church in the face of abuses in its breast. The Pope requested a month ago to the presidents of the conferences to meet with the victims of abuses in their countries before the summit. Most of the victims who have appeared in this newspaper counting their episodes assure that no person in charge of the ecclesial leadership has called them.

Letter that the bishopric has sent to the victims.
Letter that the bishopric has sent to the victims.

"Help is late, gentlemen"

Javier, one of the victims of Ramos Gordón who has received the letter, says he feels sorry after receiving "the offering of help", which qualifies as late. "Let them not come now to offer what they were asked when they were most needed. The reason why they are contacted now is only known by them. Regrets? Late. Solidarity? I doubt it. Fear? Possibly, "he opined. Javier suffered abuses during the course 1988 and 1989 in the minor seminary of La Bañeza (León). Together with two other abused children, they asked for help from the director of the center and his tutor, who did nothing. The abuses continued. In 2014 he wrote to the Pope, who lifted the prescription and ordered an investigation. After going to the media to tell her case, two other victims have denounced Ramos Gordón for abuse at the Juan XXXIII school in Puebla de Sanabria (Zamora). In 2018, the bishop of Astorga sentenced the pederast priest to 10 years of separation in a monastery outside the diocese. "Help is late, gentlemen. The victims now do not want pardons or more ornate words. We want justice and reparation, "said Javier.

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