Sunday, December 5

Cesáreo Gabaráin: The Church hides who covered up the star priest of mass music accused of pedophilia | Society

The abuse case of the priest Cesáreo Gabaráin, the most famous author of mass music in Spain and Latin America, remains shrouded in opacity. A month and a half after the first information published by EL PAÍS, neither the Marists, nor the diocese of Madrid, nor that of San Sebastián, the institutions involved, clarify what happened and which bishop is responsible for the cover-up. Gabaráin, composer of Fisher of men, Together as brothers and other famous mass songs, he was expelled at the end of 1978 from the Marist College of Chamberí, in Madrid, where he was chaplain, after the complaint of abuse by several students, according to the testimonies of former schoolchildren at the center. However, two months later he was appointed prelate of His Holiness by John Paul II, transferred to another school in Madrid, that of San Fernando, and assigned to a parish in the city, in the Mirasierra neighborhood, where he was vicar until his death in 1991.

This newspaper had so far collected the testimony of eight victims and four witnesses who relate abuses that lasted for 20 years, at least between 1959 and 1978, since Gabaráin had his first assignment as chaplain in the Guipuzcoan school of Antzuola until he was expelled. Chamberí. The Marists add that, following the information in this newspaper, they have received messages from seven victims or relatives of victims, which would bring this number to 15, since none of them is among those that have appeared in the media, according to the findings of this newspaper. And, in total, there are now 17 with two new testimonies from former Chamberí students collected by EL PAÍS. One of them, with the initials JGD, recalls: “I must have been seven or eight years old, so it would be 1966 or 1967. I ran into him in the hallway and he told me to accompany him to his office. There he sat me on his knees, began to hug me and put his hand through the back of my pants and began to touch my ass, I stirred as best I could and left the office without understanding what was happening. From that situation I tried to avoid meeting him in any circumstance ”.

Database of abuses in the Church EL PAÍS

Consult the first database of pedophilia in the Church

EL PAÍS counts for the first time the cases of known abuses, which include sentences, journalistic investigations and public complaints that have uncovered the possible crimes of a Spanish religious.

Another former student, Leonardo Enríquez, who studied at the school from 1965 to 1977, relates that Gabaráin’s “fame” in this matter was known and that most of the students shunned him for this reason. “We had normalized it, like that life was like that, just like the beatings. All of this happened in an environment of educational terrorism. He went into the locker room to see us naked. One day he took me to his office and when we were inside he went to get me, I pushed him and I jumped over the organ, stepping on the keyboard. I escaped. Then he called my house one day to invite my little brother to a trip to Rome, because he knew that my house didn’t have a lot of money and it was a unique opportunity, but my parents said no, “he says. With these new testimonies, the total number of known cases of pedophilia in the Spanish Catholic Church amounts to 358, with 908 victims, according to EL PAÍS accounting, in the absence of official data from the authorities or the ecclesiastical institution, which is they refuse to investigate it. They are ten times more than those registered just three years ago, when this newspaper began to inquire about it.

“Possibly there was a phone call [al obispo], but we cannot verify it “

Spokesmen for the Iberian province of the Marists, which includes Madrid, explain that the only thing they have found out is that “the priest Cesáreo Gabaráin came from San Sebastián.” “We have contacted the bishopric of San Sebastián and the bishopric of Madrid. We do not know which diocese he belonged to, and we have no data or evidence that the Chamberí school communicated with the diocese at that time. Possibly there was a phone call, but we cannot verify it ”. They detail that neither the bishoprics of Madrid nor San Sebastián have given them that information.

Consulted by this newspaper, both dioceses do not reveal it either. The one in San Sebastián maintains that in order to open its files and search for information related to Gabaráin, it needs “a judicial injunction” or that a canonical investigation be opened in this regard. “[Gabaráin] He died many years ago, and since then many priests have been ordained here. Knowing if he was incardinated here is not easy. What we do know is that we have not received any complaint of abuses against him, ”says a spokeswoman for the Gipuzkoan bishopric. On the contrary, the archdiocese of Madrid has had no problems in reviewing its files and affirms that the only reference it has found about the priest is that in 1979 he was appointed vicar of the parish of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, in Mirasierra. This bishopric ensures that it will open its own investigation if any victim of this priest contacts them through the email [email protected]

According to canonical rules, it was the responsibility of the Marists to open an investigation and inform the bishop of the diocese to which Gabaráin belonged, but it is still unknown to which he was attached. He was from Gipuzkoa and was ordained in San Sebastián, but in 1966 he moved to Madrid. In any case, the Marists were also obliged to inform the bishop of the capital, where the events occurred, who at that time was Cardinal Vicente Enrique y Tarancón, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. In addition, he later continued in Madrid in another school and as a parish priest in a church. In San Sebastián, the cover-up of the scandal coincides in the dates with a change of title: until February 1979 the bishop was Jacinto Argaya, and then José María Setién succeeded him, who in any case until then was the auxiliary bishop. All three prelates have passed away.

Pope John Paul II with Cardinal Vicente Enrique y Tarancón, archbishop of Madrid, during an audience with the Vatican in a file photo.
Pope John Paul II with Cardinal Vicente Enrique y Tarancón, archbishop of Madrid, during an audience with the Vatican in a file photo.EFE

The Marists explain that they have not yet been able to find out anything conclusive because most of the teachers and leaders of the time have died. “We continue investigating to clarify the events that occurred. It is proving a slow process because the documentary information is old and they had another systematization process. We are available to the victims to tell them what we know about their case ”. The congregation once again emphasizes: “We apologize to the victims for not having been able to protect them, to take care of them, and for not having adequately managed these situations. We believe in their word and we are at their disposal for whatever they need ”. His contact email is [email protected] When asked if they are considering compensating the victims who request it, they simply reiterate that they make themselves available “for everything they need.” In Catalonia, the Marists agreed last year to compensate 25 victims with 400,000 euros.

The bishopric of Madrid, according to the account of the former student and also victim Francisco Javier García, also had news of Gabaráin’s abuses in 1973 due to a personal complaint from the mother of a child: “One day, while we were waiting for a colleague at the door from school, we made fun of her delay because she was confessing to Cesáreo. We all knew it was one of the swipe sessions and we started talking about it. This boy’s mother was behind us, she turned and asked us what we were laughing about. We all looked at the ground and she understood that something was wrong. He went up to Cesáreo’s office and caught him at work. She was closely related to the bishopric and made her complaint. Nothing was known afterwards either. “

The San Fernando school, where Gabaráin stayed after his departure from the Marists, was managed by the Salesians. However, the congregation, consulted by this newspaper, specifies that just that year he stopped directing the school. A spokesman explains that when Gabaráin was transferred there, in the course of 1979-1980, the Salesians left the institution, which passed to the Provincial Council of Madrid (Madrid provincial government until its disappearance in 1983). The order estimates that the hiring of Gabaráin must have been agreed by the same public school, the Provincial Delegation of Education and the archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Tarancón, as it appears in the current legislative norm of that year on the hiring of teachers of religion.

The silence imposed in Spain reached the Vatican. John Paul II, who related how at the time of his election as Pontiff in 1978 he recalled the verses of Fisher of men, very famous in Poland, appointed Gabaráin prelate of His Holiness on March 21, 1979. The question is whether or not someone had informed him of the complaints against him, as in other cases of pedophile priests who have come to the fore. light and question the attitude of Karol Wojtyla with these crimes. For example, the decades-long cover-up of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel, or what the devastating report on American Cardinal Theodor McCarrick revealed a few months ago.

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

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