Spain’s Catholic Church Shame
Title: Why is Spain’s Catholic Church refusing an independent investigation into sex abuse claims?
They insist the number of cases is on a par with neighbour France, where a recent investigation found 218,000 victims since 1950.
But as the Episcopal Conference’s gathering of bishops closed in Madrid on Friday (November 19), the church denied the claims.
Spokesman Luis Argüello reiterated the institution would not be “proactive” in undertaking an external investigation into allegations of sexual abuse.
“We are not prepared to carry out statistical and sociological investigations,” he said.
“There are only a few cases,” he added, quoting the figure 0.8% of priests guilty of such crimes since 1950. “Why is the focus only on the Catholic Church?”
The denial comes as France, Ireland, Germany and Belgium have carried out independent investigations after the US blazed the trail in 2002; Portugal has also just appointed a national commission to do likewise.
“Spain is in a paradoxical position because it’s sandwiched between France and Portugal which have taken action,” says Gema Varona, a lecturer in criminal policy at the Basque Country University, which presented an independent study on sexual abuse within the Spanish Catholic Church this June along with the University of Barcelona and the Oberta Catalonia University.