The Spanish Catholic Church opens an investigation into thousands of child sexual abuse that occurred in the last 80 years


By MRT on December 20, 2021

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni reported this Sunday that a report on sexual abuse of minors within the Spanish Church has been sent to “the competent authorities” to proceed according to “current canonical regulations”, while Spanish ecclesiastical authorities will open an unprecedented investigation into more than 1,000 cases of pedophile abuse that have occurred since 1943.

This scandal, which seems a reflection of the one that shakes the institution in France, has provoked the reaction of Pope Francis: “The Holy Father has always insisted on his care and closeness to victims of abuse, with words, prayer and with many gestures, “said the head of the Vatican press office in a message sent to the media.

Both the opening of the investigation and the reaction of the pontiff take place after a journalist from the newspaper El País sent the pope a report on the cases of pedophilia registered in Spain during the papal flight to Greece on December 2.

250 priests and 31 religious orders in the spotlight

The scandal about the sexual abuse of children that has shaken the Spanish Catholic Church is part of a journalistic investigation of the aforementioned medium, which places the number of registered victims at 1,237, although it is warned that the figure could rise to several thousand.

The abuses would have taken place for almost 80 years: the first of those documented dates from 1943, while the last took place in 2018. 251 are accused priests and some lay members of the clergy.

The document, which was delivered to the pope and which has also been sent to the president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), Cardinal Juan José Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, ​​contains in 385 pages the result of a research carried out over three years.

Pope Francis sent the document to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the institution that centralizes the investigation of pedophilia; while Omella sent him to the ecclesiastical court of Barcelona to initiate the investigation.

However, the allegations of sexual abuse implicate 31 religious orders scattered throughout the territory, in 31 of the 70 dioceses of the country, which account for 77% of the cases. But these religious orders are not under the authority of bishoprics.

These congregations have also received information on the cases that affect them. Some have refused to carry out any investigation in this regard, others affirm that they will forward the complaints to the Prosecutor’s Office, where they are already prescribed, while the majority have condemned the facts and have stated that they are willing to clarify them.

The number of victims could multiply

With the exception of 13, all the cases collected by El País are unpublishedTherefore, added to those already known, the number of defendants rises to more than 600, many of whom are implicated in the abuse of dozens of victims.

The registration made by this means of communication is the only one existing in a country in which neither the Church nor the authorities offer official data about this issue.

Until now, the official response of the Spanish Episcopal Conference has come from the hand of a release published this Monday. Rate how “a good collaboration” any initiative to help end the scourge of child sexual abuse, but adds that “it would be desirable that the accusations contained in the aforementioned report had greater rigor“, because its content of” disparate character “makes it difficult to carry out an investigation.

In addition, he maintains that “the Church insists on the importance of denouncing abuses and encourages all victims to present their complaints in legal, canonical or social institutions.”


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