The Catholic Church in Spain is to establish local commissions to consider complaints from victims of sexual abuse, it was decided after a meeting with Pope Francis. The president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, said that the individual dioceses would be responsible for receiving and examining complaints.
The daily “El Pais” published the results of a three-year investigation in December. At least 1,237 people from 251 priests and some lay people associated with the Catholic Church are to be injured. The crimes were to take place in the years 1943-2018.
On December 2 – during the Pope’s trip from Rome to Cyprus – the correspondent of the daily released a 385-page report to Francis. Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, talked about the arrangements with journalists in the Vatican.
A representative of the Spanish Church said that each diocese would set up a commission to accept accusations and conduct investigations. “They will collect complaints, support people who feel they have been hurt, and prevent things from happening again,” said Omella.
The first information about the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church around the world appeared in 2002, when the American daily “Boston Globe” wrote a series of articles revealing the abuse of minors by clergy and the widespread procedure of hiding pedophile priests.
In June 2021, the Pope said the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church was a worldwide “catastrophe.” Since his election as Pope in 2013, Francis has taken a number of steps to eliminate clerical sexual abuse of minors.
The Church in Spain rejected suggestions to create an independent investigative body similar to that in France or Portugal.
Omella stated that it would be better for the victims’ cases to be dealt with by the local dioceses and the commissions to be able to “explain and carry out all the necessary steps required by the Holy See and civil courts.”
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