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Spain. “El Pais”: priest Cesareo Gabarain, personal prelate of John Paul, allegedly sexually harassed students of a school in Madrid

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Cesareo Gabarain, a priest who composed famous religious songs, allegedly committed sexual harassment in the 1970s. The Spanish daily “El Pais” quotes former students of a Marist school in Madrid who make accusations against the personal Monsignor John Paul II. Gabarain died in 1991.

“The Lord once stood on the shore” – this is how one of the most popular songs in the world begins, composed in 1974 by the Basque priest Cesareo Gabarain, the author of about 500 religious works, including the famous “Barka”.


A newspaper in Madrid said, citing four students of a Marist school in Madrid, that Gabarain, “an icon of the Spanish Catholic Church”, had a “hidden face” that had been revealed by men in an interview with journalists. – He was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, on the one hand a charismatic, popular priest, a friend of famous athletes and the Pope, and on the other – a pedophile. Something unimaginable to all who admire him, said “El Pais” 57-year-old Eduardo Mendoza.

Mendoza: I still remember his terrified face

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Cesareo Gabarain was popular with the youth. His students mentioned that he let them drive his Mercedes and also smoke cigarettes in his office. – He had charisma, he was nice, he played the flute with his nose, like a rat catcher [postać z baśni braci Grimm – red.], which attracted kids – said a former student of Pedro Tena school. The priest, known for his modernity, was one of the first in school to hear confessions face to face, outside the confessional, while sitting on a bench. – He touched you, rubbed you, put your face to his, you felt his breath – former students recalled in an interview with journalists.

The incidents of sexual harassment were supposed to have happened in December 1978, during classes in Los Molinos, the Maristas headquarters in the mountains near Madrid. – We all slept in separate rooms. After one in the morning one of my colleagues came very scared to tell me that Cesareo had entered his bed, put his hand on him. He used it. I still remember his terrified face, Mendoza recalls in an interview with El Pais.

The diary wrote that one of the boys molested by a priest in Los Molinos was the late Cesar Aguilera. His brother Manuel recounted, “Cesar went back to his room to take a shower, and Cesareo’s father went in and began to accost him.

Manuel Aguilera told his sister and later his parents about the incident. They contacted the school’s principal, Aquileo Manciles Banuelos. To their surprise, he did not deny that the clergyman was behaving inappropriately. However, Banuelos tried to convince the father of the molested boy that “the priest is sorry that he had a bad time and was thinking of committing suicide”. It appeared to be a cover-up, so Manuel’s father warned that he would inform the press. Gabarain was expelled from the Marist center in late 1978. Later he was transferred to the San Fernando center in Madrid, which was managed by the Salesians.

Two months later he became a prelate

“The cover-up of Gabarain’s case was quick and firm, however,” reported El Pais, quoting Mendoza, who said that after two months the clergyman was made the personal prelate of Pope John Paul II. “In several interviews, John Paul II confessed that when he was elected Pope in October 1978, verses from the song” Barka “resounded in his head. complaints about this priest, “wrote the Spanish daily.

It was the duty of the Marists to initiate an investigation and inform the appropriate bishops, “El Pais” reported. Maryista now assures that they did not know about the case. However, they have launched an investigation to analyze past actions and are looking for former students who could tell about what happened then.

The Archdiocese of Madrid replied to the daily that “there are no records in its archives of any episode of pedophilia related to Gabarain.” She also informed that she did not know whether the sailors had informed the church authorities about the reasons for the priest’s expulsion from the school. “However, the diocese announces its willingness to initiate an investigation and accept any complaints, as well as to provide assistance to the victims” – reported “El Pais”.

Gabarain died in 1991 at the age of 54.

Main photo source: Twitter / EL PAÍS

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