Last Monday, the Spanish Socialist Party proposed a plan to investigate child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. The prime minister has instructed the ombudsman to compile interviews with victims, clergy, experts, historians and members of the judiciary to conduct a thorough investigation into the growing number of cases of pedophilia in the Church. There have been more than 1,200 cases of sexual abuse in Spanish churches alone, according to a report by El País newspaper, and this survey might prove that the numbers are even bigger than that.
The Catholic Church denied many of these allegations and tried to prevent the investigation from becoming a reality by setting up internal commissions to hear these cases of abuse, but the Prime Minister concluded that an external investigation was necessary. necessary after growing pressure from members. of the Spanish Socialist Party.
The proposal is in conjunction with an earlier announcement by the Spanish parliament that it is also proposing to open a parliamentary inquiry into the matter. The final decision on the creation of the committee will be voted on later this month.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed support for victims who reported their abuse. Last Sunday he tweeted: “Victims cannot be silenced. It’s time to heal our hurt and prevent it from happening again. Committed not to let abuses committed in the Church go unpunished.
Sanchez’s support for the victims was met with hostility from the Catholic Church and resistance from the government group representing the bishops of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has continually opposed an external government investigation and encouraged any victim to contact the committees set up in different dioceses. There are diocesan committees within the clergy in many countries in Europe, but it is clear that the Catholic Church’s own investigation of these cases is not sufficient and has been plagued with inconsistencies. Similar government inquiries have taken place across Europe. Italy, Portugal, France, Germany and Spain are all launching large-scale investigations into clergy and more and more victims have reported their abuse in recent months. According to a report by the bishops of the Council of France, approximately 216,000 victims were sexually abused by members of the Catholic clergy from 1950 to 2020, of which approximately 80% were boys.
Spain is one of the latest countries to launch an external investigation – the Catholic Church has had great influence in Spain for many centuries. Although the current pope has done more to recognize the seriousness of this problem than any other pope in history, more needs to be done to uncover the abusers within the Church. The Spanish government must launch its own investigation to avoid any cover-up or misinformation that would protect the attackers.
If the investigation is approved and finally begins, it will be a defining moment in Spanish history. Hopefully, the commission can use this newly proposed investigation to bring justice to victims of sexual abuse and end this horrible epidemic.