CV NEWS FEED // The Spanish Bishops’ Conference publicly apologized to victims of clerical sex abuse on Tuesday but criticized a recent survey that suggested the Church dismissed or ignored clerical sex abuse cases in Spain.
AP News reported that Spain’s human rights ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, recently conducted an investigation into the Church’s response to the clerical sex abuse crisis in the country. After collecting 8,000 responses to phone and online polls, he compiled a report with 487 cases of alleged clerical sex abuse.
According to AP News, 0.6% of participants said they were abused as children by priests, while 0.58% said that they were abused by Catholic laity, including teachers at Catholic schools. If Spain’s adult population is around 39 million, Gabilondo’s numbers could mean that 440,000 minors were abused by Catholic priests or laity in past decades.
Though the sex abuse crisis in the Church has made headlines in several countries, the issue only received public attention in Spain following a media investigation in 2021. Ombudsman Gabilondo criticized the Church in his report for not fully cooperating with the investigation, but the Spanish Bishops’ Conference (CEE) said they were not given enough information to comply.
According to Reuters, the CEE said at a press conference Tuesday that it is sorry “for the damage caused by some Church members with the sex abuses” and asked sex abuse victims for forgiveness.
Gabilondo’s report, however, claimed that the Church has not done enough to repair the damage caused by clerical sex abuse and called for the creation of a state fund to assist victims.
Reuters reported that Francisco Garcia, secretary general of the CEE, said the Catholic Church in Spain would be willing to contribute to the state fund if it were established. Garcia added that the fund would have to involve other educational and sports associations as well, because the sexual abuse was not strictly confined to the Church.