Vatican opens large-scale investigation into child abuse in Spanish church

by Lorraine Williamson
report of child abuse to Vatican - stock photo

MADRID – The Spanish church is subject to a major investigation into child abuse. El País recently handed over a report of 251 new child abuse cases to the Vatican. The total number of victims amounts to at least 1,237 minors.

The Vatican has looked at the relevant report on child sexual abuse by the church in Spain and sent it to the “competent authorities”. Consequently, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni made the announcement to the Spanish news agency EFE on Sunday. 

Report handed over to umbrella agency 

Although the spokesman did not reveal the content of the incidents and the organisation that will look into the matter, El País wrote on Sunday that the report has been handed over to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a dicastery within the Roman Curia to which all matters relating to having been entrusted with the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

All details of child abuse Spanish church collected by El País 

The Vatican decided to respond to the event after a journalist from the Spanish newspaper El País sent the holy institution and the president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Omella, on December 2 a report on alleged incidents of abuse of minors. 

For three years, El País collected victim e-mails and other information about child abuse by 251 clerics and members of religious institutions in Spain. All of this information was compiled into a 385-page report that was subsequently submitted to the Vatican and the Spanish Episcopal Conference and is now under review by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

Presumably thousands of child abuse victims in Spanish church 

Furthermore, the oldest case of child abuse described in the report dates from 1943 and the most recent from 2018. The report mentions 602 cases of child abuse involving at least 1,237 underage victims since the 1930s. Although these are concrete cases of abuse, experts from independent committees expect that there could be several thousand more. 

Most cases of child abuse between the 60s and 80s 

El País published a map highlighting the provinces in which the child abuse reports in the Spanish church were made. Moreover, most reports come from Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Navarra, León, Biscay, Valencia and Pontevedra. Furthermore, most reports of child abuse come from the Marist faith community. Also, most child abuse cases, according to El País, occurred between the 1960s and the 1980s. 

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