The Church and THE COUNTRY | Opinion

Killing the messenger has never been the solution to tackle a problem, much less a very serious one. But that is exactly the strategy chosen by the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) in the investigation carried out by EL PAÍS on sexual abuse committed since the 1940s by people belonging to the Spanish Church. Instead of taking serious, diligent and transparent action on a matter of extreme importance, the EEC has chosen to disqualify, both from the institution itself and through media in whose shareholders it participates, such as the Cope chain, the rigorous work carried out by the professionals of this newspaper. The work has been reflected in the report delivered to Pope Francis who, unlike his subordinates in Spain, has taken concrete steps that the latter should have taken decades ago.

After a day and a half of unjustified silence, the EEC expresses in a clarifying note -whose elaboration responds to the publication, last Sunday by EL PAÍS, of the news that the Vatican supervises the entire process after the dossier delivered to Francisco with 251 new cases of pedophilia in our country— that “it would be desirable that the accusations contained in the aforementioned report had greater rigor, since their content, of a very disparate nature, makes it difficult to draw conclusions that may serve a possible investigation ”. This is a fallacious claim. In the investigation carried out by the journalists of this medium, a restrictive criterion has been applied, that is, it has been chosen to rule out numerous cases in which there could not be a reasonable doubt, but circumstances of any kind that led to the investigation of a case concrete to a dead end. The quality of the information has prevailed over the quantity. But the body that represents the Spanish bishops allows itself with a note full of generalist rhetoric to cast doubt on a work of years whose result constitutes the only reference accounting existing in our country of cases of pedophilia committed by people of the Church, without exclude cases published by other means.

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In fact, this work would never have occurred if the Spanish bishops had reacted as they should to the complaints made by the victims. Some cases belong to the remote past, but neither have they done so with those less distant in time, despite the explicit instructions of the Holy See, to which they owe their obedience. They clearly indicate that whoever receives the complaint has the duty to initiate an investigation. Added to the astonishing inaction is an attempt to discredit. Both contrast with the attitude adopted both by the Vatican itself and by numerous religious orders with a presence in Spain and within which there have also been reports of sexual abuse.

The EEC’s attitude to these revelations leads to the inevitable conclusion that it is not interested in investigating terrible events. In addition to the damage caused to the victims, what happened scandalized Spanish society, including Catholics. The bishops of the United States, France and Germany freely decided years ago to entrust independent organizations with the truthful and accredited investigation that EL PAÍS has undertaken here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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