Portugal receives over 100 complains of sexual abuses in only five days. An independent report in Germany on the cover-up of sexual abuse in Munich has also been published.
The sexual abuses of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world have been a matter of political and social debate in recent years.
This week in Spain, the leftist party and government partner, Unidas Podemos and the Catalan and Basque nationalist parties ERC and EH Bildu, have registered a petition in the Congress to create a commission of enquiry into the abuse of at least 250 minors contained in an investigation report that the newspaper El País delivered to the Vatican last December.
The commission of enquiry seeks “to know the whole truth, repair the victims, purge responsibilities and ensure that this never happens again”, the president of the parliamentary group of Unidas Podemos, Jaume Asens, told the media.
The proposal must be approved by a majority, and it would be the first time in Spain that a national institution takes measures to clarify this issue, as well as “whether there has also been some kind of political responsibility in the concealment of these events”.
Asens pointed out that he expected the rest of the parties “to show coherence by supporting the initiative”, because “these are abominable acts that not only question the victims, but also question the rest of us as a society”.
The promoters of the initiative stressed that “the ecclesiastical leadership is hiding and obstructing the investigations [...] Unlike France or Germany, it has turned a deaf ear, it has looked the other way”.
The initiative was presented two days after the meeting between the Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of the Episcopal Conference (CEE), the cardinal and archbishop of Barcelona, Juan José Omella, without any information from either side as to whether the issue was discussed.
A few days earlier, after his visit to Rome, Omella rejected the creation of an independent commission because “there is no need to multiply entities. In each diocese there are courts and victim services", he said, and “the bishops want to confront the drama of abuse face to face with each victim, without centralising it in Madrid”.
In Portugal, the independent commission set up by the Portuguese Episcopal Conference in October to investigate cases of sexual abuse of minors over the past 70 years, was presented this month.
In the first five days alone, it received 102 complaints and the number is growing. The commission reserves the first half of 2022 for the collection of complaints and documentary analysis, and will publish a first report at the end of this year.
Meanwhile in Germany, last week a report drawn up by the Westpfahl-Spilker-Wastl law firm at the request of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, on the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Munich archdiocese, which also includes Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, was published.
“As the current archbishop of Munich, I am ashamed and apologise on behalf of the archdiocese for the suffering inflicted by the Church", said Marx. Benedict XVI, through his secretary Monsignor Georg Gänswein, expressed "his shock and shame at the abuse of minors by clerics, and his personal closeness and prayer for all victims”.
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