April 10, 2021

Victims break the silence of the Church | Society

Victims break the silence of the Church | Society

More than a hundred people, alleged victims of sexual abuse in parishes and religious schools at different times -from the decade of the forties until the last years-, have transferred in writing to EL PAÍS their drama, hidden until now. Some of those alleged victims have left a recorded testimony of their complaint for this report. "Impotence, anger, anguish and my pain are still alive," says one of the victims. "I was extremely vulnerable and the teacher spent that summer reaching out to me and to a few other suspended students, I shared the memories with my family and friends …" says another. "The rage lasts 53 years later, I suffered the abuse of a priest, and I know I was not the only one."

This newspaper has tried in all cases published in this information to contrast the facts denounced by the alleged victims. He has contacted the ecclesiastical authorities of each place where the abuses allegedly took place. And he has looked for possible witnesses. In cases where it has been impossible to contrast the facts by silence of the church or due to other circumstances, EL PAÍS has opted to report the complaint through the alleged victim, but without giving names of the accused or the specific places where the events took place. The newspaper offers five such stories as an example of a problem hidden by the ecclesiastical leadership.

The Spanish Church silenced for decades the cases of pederasty that knew or instructed in its ecclesiastical courts. The National Center for Judicial Documentation (Cendoj) In the last 30 years, only 33 cases have been tried in civil courts that affect 80 minors who are victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Obtain similar information from the Episcopal Conference or of the 70 existing dioceses, or religious congregations, has proved impossible. Dioceses refuse to offer data, even statistics, about cases of sexual abuse in the Church judged through their ecclesiastical courts. Only 17 dioceses answered, with evasive or negative; the rest, 53, chose silence.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which receives an average of 500 cases of pedophilia every year in Rome from dioceses around the world, refuses to provide details of how many of these matters come from the Spanish Church. The Episcopal Conference announced two weeks ago, following the publication of the news in EL PAÍS about its opacity in cases of abuse, the creation of a special commission to update the current protocols in the different dioceses to fight against pedophilia. Only three of these protocols oblige the bishop to communicate the denunciations he receives to the prosecutor's office.

Unlike the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, neither the Spanish Episcopal Conference nor its 70 dioceses make public statistics on pedophilia matters processed throughout the year.

If you know of any case of sexual abuse that has not seen the light, write us with your complaint to [email protected]

The victims break the silence of the Church


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