“Spurred by pope, Spanish Catholic Church confronts sexual abuse” & articles re the ten priests charged

Share Button

.Yahoo! News

30 January 2015

By Anna Cuenca

Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez (3rdR) prostrates himself on the floor with other clergy at the city's cathedral in a gesture of apology to victims of abuse, November 23, 2014
.

Madrid (AFP) – Spain’s Catholic Church, which has long been accused of silencing cases of priests sexually abusing children, is starting to take a hard line against offenders, spurred by Pope Francis.

A judge in the southern city of Granada on Tuesday charged 10 priests and two Catholic lay workers with sexually abusing altar boys in their care, or being complicit in such acts, from 2004 to 2007.

It is the biggest and most serious paedophilia case involving members of the Catholic Church known so far in Spain.

The case was brought to light by a former altar boy, now 25 and a member of the Catholic institution Opus Dei, who wrote to the pontiff to say he had been molested.

Pope Francis called the unidentified man to offer the Church’s apology and in November the pontiff said he had ordered a church investigation into the case, saying it had caused him “great pain”.

The young man who wrote to the pope “never imagined the issue would take on the significance that it did,” his lawyer, Jorge Aguilera Gonzalez, told AFP.

“If it wasn’t for the pope’s intervention, it would still have been an important issue, but just one of many.”

Pope Francis has taken a tough stance on clerical child abuse since taking over in 2013 from Benedict XVI, calling it “the shame of the Church”.

The Catholic Church had huge influence in Spain during Francisco Franco’s 1939-75 dictatorship and for decades victims kept quiet about abuse “due to social pressure, the power of the Church”, said Jose Manuel Vidal, head of religious news website Religion Digital.

That explains why, unlike in Germany, Ireland, Mexico or the United States, until now no major cases of paedophilia involving priests have come to light in Spain even though abuse took place.

Nine percent of all sexual abuse suffered by boys between 1950 and 1970 was carried out by priests, according to a 1994 study by University of Salamanca psychology of sexuality professor Felix Lopez for the Ministry of Social Affairs.

The abuse often took place in boarding schools, as depicted in Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s 2004 film “Bad Education”.

– Social change –

Spain has become an increasingly secular society since the country returned to democracy after Franco’s death in 1975.

Of Spain’s 33 million who declare they are Catholics, 61 percent say they are non-practising, according to a November survey by the state Sociological Research Centre (CIS).

“Now some bishops have changed, they have turned towards Pope Francis’s new era,” said Vidal.

“Others are lagging behind what the pope is asking for, which is total transparency and that paedophilia be considered by bishops themselves not just as a sin, as it has been up until now, but also as a crime,” he added.

While priests accused of abuse have often remained in their posts, the Archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martinez, removed several priests linked to the case from their duties as soon as the scandal broke.

Still some voices, even within the church, called for Martinez himself to step down.

“Given that every day the opinion grows that he acted to cover up the alleged paedophiles, we think he should be removed,” Catholic group Comunidades Cristianas Populares de Andalucia said in a statement.

The archdiocese of Granada denied any cover-up and the priests accused over the alleged sexual abuse say they are innocent, according to their lawyer.

After the scandal broke in Granada, other victims of abuse have come forward with complaints and bishops have responded with a tough stance.

At the end of November, a 45-year-old man alleged he was abused in 1982 at a seminary in Tarragona in northeastern Spain when he was 11 years old.

After living with the secret his entire life, the man said he was encouraged to come forward by the paedophile case in Granada.

The Archbishop of Tarragona immediately launched an investigation, informed the Vatican and encouraged all victims to file criminal complaints.

The following month the diocese of Tui-Vigo in northwestern Spain abolished a religious order after its founder was accused of sexual abuse and detained by police.

“Things are changing,” said Juan Pedro Oliver, the president of children’s rights association Prodeni.

“But it is because of the attitude of the pope. I think if it was up to the Spanish Church hierarchy this would not be the case.”

 

____________________________________

Granada, Spain Judge Charges 10 Priests With Child Sex Abuse After Former Alter Boy Writes Letter to Pope Francis

Latin Post

First Posted: Jan 30, 2015 04:35 PM EST

By Roberto Ontiveros (staff@latinpost.com)

 

Ten Roman Catholic priests and two Catholic lay workers have been formally charged with child sex abuse by a judge in the southern Spanish city of Granada.

The 12 suspects are accused of sexually abusing four teenage boys between 2004 and 2007.

After one of the allegedly abused children, a former altar boy in the Diocese of Granada, Francisco Javier Martinez, wrote Pope Francis a letter about what he claims to have suffered, the pontiff telephoned him to council him and offer condolences.

According to the BBC, the allegation is this young man (who is now 24) and another friend were invited by a priest to spend time at his parochial house and another property. In the parochial house, the most serious sex crimes were alleged to have taken place.

Pope Francis has pledged a zero tolerance for child sex abuse. After he ordered a Church investigation, several arrests were made in November.

All of the alleged suspects, however, are currently free on bail.

After the pope made his call to the Martinez, the Archbishop of Granada, along with his fellow priests, prostrated themselves before the altar of Granada’s cathedral in order to seek pardon for the sexual abuses that had taken place within the Catholic Church.

The many victims of sexual abuse at the hands of catholic priests are furious and demand justice for what they see as the Vatican’s policy of declining to punish their senior officials who have been accused of covering up sex scandals.

Pope Francis has begged for forgiveness from the victims of sexual abuse by priests. According to the BBC, he has condemned the Church’s “complicity” in endeavoring to mask the “grave crimes” committed by catholic clerics.

___________________________________________

Ten Catholic priests are charged with sexually abusing four altar boys in Spain after one of the alleged victims wrote to the Pope

The Daily Mail Online (UK)

  • Ten Roman Catholic priests in Spain have been charged with sex abuse
  • Two Catholic lay workers in the city of Granada have also been charged
  • They are suspected of abusing four teenage boys between 2004 – 2007
  • Pope Francis called one of the alleged victims to offer his apologies

Ten Roman Catholic priests in Spain have been charged with sexually abusing altar boys after the Pope was contacted by an alleged victim.

The priests, as well as two Catholic lay workers, are suspected of abusing four teenage boys between 2004 and 2007- with the most serious offences taking place in a house used by the clerics.

The alleged abuse came to light after one of the victims, now 24, wrote to the Pope to say he had been molested when he was an altar boy.

Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez and priests prostrate themselves in front of the altar to seek pardon for sexual abuse in the Church at the cathedral in Granada, southern Spain

Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez and priests prostrate themselves in front of the altar to seek pardon for sexual abuse in the Church at the cathedral in Granada, southern Spain

Pope Francis has personally telephoned the man to offer his apologies, Spanish news site Religion Digital reported. The head of the Catholic Church then ordered an investigation.

Several arrests were made in November but the suspects are now free on bail. If convicted they could each be facing more than 20 years of jail time.

The Archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martinez, and fellow priests prostrated themselves in front of the altar of Granada’s cathedral to seek pardon for sexual abuse in the Church at the time of the arrests.

The Archbishop also removed several priests linked to the case from their duties.

A man, believed to be one of twelve Roman Catholic priests and Catholic lay persons charged with sexual abuse, sits in a police car after leaving a police station in Granada, southern Spain, November 24

A man, believed to be one of twelve Roman Catholic priests and Catholic lay persons charged with sexual abuse, sits in a police car after leaving a police station in Granada, southern Spain, November 24

Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez (pictured) speaks during a mass at the cathedral in Granada, southern Spain after the priests were arrested last November as part of the child sexual abuse case

Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez (pictured) speaks during a mass at the cathedral in Granada, southern Spain after the priests were arrested last November as part of the child sexual abuse case

The victim who appealed for help to the Pope claimed the abuse started when he was 14 and continued up to the age of 17.

It is alleged that the boy and a friend, who had served as altar boys in the Diocese of Granada, were invited by a priest to spend time at his parochial house and another property in a suburb of Granada, where the most serious assaults were committed.

Abuse survivors have criticised the Church which they claim has failed to punish senior officials accused of covering up scandals in several countries over many years.

Pope Francis has promised a policy of zero tolerance for sexual abuse of children by clerics and last year asked for forgiveness for the Church from victims.

The Vatican said last year it had defrocked about 850 priests between 2004 and 2013 who had been accused of sexually abusing minors.

The Archbishop and priests prostrated themselves after Pope Francis received a letter from an alleged victim of child abuse and instigated an investigation

The Archbishop and priests prostrated themselves after Pope Francis received a letter from an alleged victim of child abuse and instigated an investigation

_______________________________________________

Ten priests charged with child abuse in Spain

Tuesday 27 January 2015 23.33

The Vatican said last year it had defrocked about 850 priests between 2004 and 2013
The Vatican said last year it had defrocked about 850 priests between 2004 and 2013

Ten Spanish priests have been charged with child sexual abuse in a case which court documents show was brought after Pope Francis telephoned the victim to offer the church’s apology.

The victim, now 24, wrote to the pope to say he had been molested when he was an altar boy.

In November, Spanish news site Religion Digital reported that the pope called the man last August to apologise, and Francis himself later confirmed this.

Francis also said in November that he had ordered an internal church investigation.

Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez removed several priests linked to the case from their duties.

The Granada court said the victim claims the abuse began when he was 14 and lasted until he turned 17.

He said the perpetrators used a house they rented in a suburb of the city.

Earlier reports say the victim has maintained links with the Catholic Church, working as a teacher in a school run by the conservative Opus Dei organisation.

He has told civil authorities he believes other children were abused by the same group and that the ring’s members also had sexual relations between themselves.

In April, Pope Francis promised a policy of zero tolerance for sexual abuse of children by clerics after church scandals erupted in several countries over the past 20 years.

However, groups representing victims say he has still not done enough.

The Vatican said last year it had defrocked about 850 priests between 2004 and 2013 after church courts found they had sexually abused minors.

_____________________________________________________

Spain arrests three priests, one teacher after alleged victim gets phone call from Pope Francis 

Those arrested were charged with sexually abusing a minor. The young man who said he was abused had written letter to the Vatican.

New York Daily News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 6:48 PM

BY

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez speaks during Sunday Mass, asking for forgiveness for sexual abuse allegations against the church. STRINGER/SPAIN/REUTERS Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez speaks during Sunday Mass, asking for forgiveness for sexual abuse allegations against the church.

His prayers, along with his letter to the Pope, were answered.

A young man in Spain wrote to the Holy See, saying he had been sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests as a young boy in Granada.

On Monday, three priests and a teacher were arrested for allegedly abusing the minor, after the Archbishop of Granada and other priests prostrated themselves during Sunday Mass, asking “forgiveness for the sins of (the) Church, for all of the scandals that have, or might have, occurred among us,” according to the Granada Archdiocese website, CNN reported.

The arrests of three priests in one day is the biggest case of its kind in Spain, the cable network said.

Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez, second from right, prostrates himself at the altar seeking forgiveness after a young man talked with the Pope about being molested. STRINGER/SPAIN/REUTERS Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martinez, second from right, prostrates himself at the altar seeking forgiveness after a young man talked with the Pope about being molested.

The unnamed victim had written to the Pope in August, saying he had been molested as an underage boy in Granada, reported the Spanish online journal Religion Digital, according to CNN. Pope Francis asked the man, now 24, for forgiveness, on behalf of the church.

A total of 12 people, 10 of them priests, are under investigation, the journal said.

________________________________________

Three priests and layman charged in Spanish sexual abuse case

Reiters

MADRID Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:03am EST

(Reuters) – Spanish magistrates have charged four people, including three Catholic priests, with sex offences following a child abuse investigation instigated by Pope Francis.

The priests, along with a lay person, were arrested on Monday as part of an investigation in Granada, southern Spain, and have been released from custody. One of them had to pay bail of 10,000 euros (12,479 US dollars), the Supreme Court of the Andalusia region said on Thursday.

The case came to light when a man wrote to Pope Francis saying he had been molested when he was an altar boy. A second person has since come forward with similar allegations, according to the Supreme Court.

After a series of scandals in recent years, with abuse by Catholic clerics exposed in many European, American and Asian dioceses, Francis has promised a hard line on such cases.

The pope said this week he had personally ordered an investigation into the allegations in Granada.

“The truth is the truth and we should not hide it,” he said.

The Archdiocese of Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain, separately said on Thursday it had launched its own probe into allegations by a former deacon that he had been abused by a priest.

El Mundo newspaper reported on Thursday that the Vatican had been informed of the scandal and had pressed the Archbishop, Manuel Urena, to step aside for sanctioning a payment to the ex-deacon, who had recently asked to leave the church.

The archdiocese said in a statement Urena had asked to leave for health reasons and that an internal investigation of the “supposed facts” had been started. It added that the priest at the center of the allegations was pursuing legal action.

The Zaragoza diocese said it had made a one-off payment of 60,000 euros in November to the former deacon but did not specify what this was for.

(Additional reporting by Isla Binnie in Rome; editing by Elisabeth O’Leary and Andrew Roche)

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *