Child abuse in the Spanish Catholic Church: ‘In Spain, no one does anything’

El País English

February 1, 2021

By Iñigo Domínguez and Julio Núñes

After the Jesuits admitted to cases of pedophilia, other religious orders have followed suit, for a total of 126 priests and more than 500 victims, according to EL PAÍS’ count

More cases of child abuse by the Spanish Catholic Church are slowly coming to light. After the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, recognized 81 victims since 1927 and announced plans for compensation, other religious congregations have begun to follow the order’s example. EL PAÍS spoke to 10 of the main Catholic orders in Spain, of which seven said they had carried out or were in the process of investigating past cases of abuse, and were equally open to compensating victims.

These investigations, however, are not in-depth internal inquiries, but rather a review of existing archives. Importantly too, the findings have not been made public and are still far from reflecting the extent of the abuse by the Catholic Church, compared to the advances made in other countries such as Germany, where an external audit found that 3,677 minors had been abused by members of the Church.

Of the 10 orders consulted, three – the Marist Brothers, De La Salle Brothers and the Order of Saint Augustine – continue to refuse to investigate allegations of abuse. The remaining seven admitted to 61 cases of pedophile priests, 42 of which were unknown until now. If this number is added to the findings from the Jesuits’ inquiry – 65 cases, 54 of them unknown until now, according to EL PAÍS’ estimates – the Catholic orders have admitted to 126 cases of pedophile priests. Of this figure, 96 had been buried until now. The figures elevate the number of victims of the Spanish Catholic Church to more than 500, according to a count from EL PAÍS, based on criminal sentences, media reports and the newspaper’s own investigations.

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