Monday, April 15

The Government avoids setting deadlines for the investigation into abuses in the Church: “It will take years”



Spain is heading to stop being an exception in the European environment in its way of facing the sexual abuse of minors in the bosom of Catholic Church. If the non-law proposal registered this Monday by the PSOE in Congress goes ahead, and Everything indicates that it will be approved, an independent commission, led by the Ombudsman and made up of experts, members of the Administration, victims and, in principle, the clergy themselves, will be in charge of clarifying these facts. But your report will not be produced quickly, due to the complexity of the matter.

The Government avoids setting deadlines. The closest precedent is France, where an independent body concluded last October that since 1950 some 216,000 minors had been abused by nearly 3,000 religious. The commission worked for two and a half years before issuing its conclusions.

The Spanish Catholic Church, which until now has not dealt with these crimes, does not clarify to the Executive if it will participate in the body

They are not short deadlines, due to international experience. we are talking about years. It is not an easy investigation. It is complicated, with a lot of documentation. The important thing is to do it rigorously. The most important thing is that the victims feel protected”, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, said this Monday in the Ser. That is to say, the investigation may not be completed when the next general election is held, which are expected by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024. If there is a change in the Government, your job could be at risk.

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The PP has not said whether it will support the PSOE proposal, which will be voted on in the coming weeks. The Conservatives opposed last week the creation of a parliamentary commission on abuses, which United We Can, ERC and EH Bildu demanded. The Socialists supported the admission of this initiative, but shortly after they indicated that they did not consider it the most appropriate way, because it could become, being represented only by political representatives, in “a circus”.

Pedro Sánchez’s scheme is that of an organization led by the Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, who was a friar in his youth. In the past, the institution carried out reports on the victims of gender violence (1998) or those of ETA (2016). “This model protects more the privacy of the victims. It guarantees that they are listened to in a friendly and confidential environment”, Bolaños defended.

at the moment, andThe PNV shows that it will support the PSOE initiative. “A priori, we don’t see it badly. It is very similar to the one we proposed in the first place, but we have to analyze it more carefully,” sources from the Basque nationalists, who this Monday have registered a proposal similar to the one, told this newspaper. of the Socialists, with the difference that they do not cite the Ombudsman and defend that the investigation concludes in a year. We can be in favor. “It seems good to us”, said his parliamentary spokesman, Jaume Asens. Bildu also gives the go-ahead. “All initiatives are welcome and compatible”, consider the Aberza residents. At ERC, meanwhile, they ask for time to assess the initiative. “We will study it. Our approach is that of a parliamentary investigation commission”, Republican sources explain. And Ciudadanos, finally, already made it clear last week that it was in favor of an independent commission. The initiative will not have problems moving forward.

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The attitude of the bishops

But it remains unclear what role the Catholic Church will play here. Despite the fact that Pope Francis has asked to face the phenomenon of abuse more firmly than his predecessors, the Spanish bishops have so far not taken any decisive steps in this area. Bolaños recently asked the president of the Episcopal Conference (CEE), Juan José Omella, to get involved in the commission. “Their response was that they will have to think about it,” explained the minister.

Here lies the great difference with the French case. While in the neighboring country it was the Church that promoted the investigation commission, in Spain the bishops are on the defensive.

During the presentation of the non-law proposal that calls for the creation of the body to clarify the abuses, the former first vice president, Carmen Calvo, who during her years in the Sánchez government was in charge of relations with the Vatican, has dedicated several criticisms to the EEC. “The Catholic Church also has to do its job,” he said.. “We would have liked very much that the Church had come out of this matter,” he added.

According to Calvo, the commission will be made up of lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians, sociologists, representatives of the victims and the Church itself, the institution responsible for these crimes. As long as the bishops want to participate. As a first reaction, the Archbishop of Toledo, Cerro Chaves, has indicated this Monday that the Church “has to seek the truth”, but that the abuse of minors “occurs throughout society”.

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