In a few weeks, and as a result of the denunciation of a public figure such as the writer Alejandro Palomas (who came to join other voices that had previously reported cases of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, such as the Marist case, uncovered by EL PERIODICO), social demand has accelerated in relation to the attitude not only of certain individuals, but of the institution itself over the last decades. A few days ago the Government presented the proposal for an investigation commission, led by the Ombudsman, to investigate the matter, news that did not sit well within the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), reluctant to this initiative, which he described as “surprise and disappointment”. The Spanish Church, however, has been impelled to react to deal with media pressure and has decided promote an audit led by the law firm Cremades & Calvo Sotelo, with the aim of “transparency, help and reparation to the victims”, as declared by the president of the CEE, the archbishop of Barcelona Juan Jose Omella. The director of the law firm, Javier Cremades, member of Opus Dei, He has also said that he faces this work “without any frontier or limit”. The step taken by the Catholic Church should be assessed positively, although it should be noted that such a decision comes late, without the unanimity of the bishops and with reasonable doubts about the necessary intensity that an initiative like this must have.
One of Pope Francis’ trusted men, the German Jesuit Hans Zollner, Referring to the reaction of the ecclesial institution in general, he already warned that “without the media presence the Church would not have moved”, and recalled that in the investigation commissions “independence means that there is no interference”. Benedict XVI, with chiaroscuro in his time as Archbishop of Munich, he was the first to try to change the course when many cases had already been uncovered, and it was not until the enthronement of Pope Francis that pederasty and sexual abuse became a capital issue. However, despite the impulse of the Vatican, the reaction of the different episcopal conferences has been diverse. While in Anglo-Saxon countries, in Northern Europe or in Oceania, criminal practices have been exposed for years, in others, such as in Spain or Italy, the reaction has either been practically null or late. The recent case in France, with the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church, promoted by the episcopate and religious orders, is an example of how the institution should act. That the French Church has decided to use its assets to compensate victims of pederasty points to a fundamental detail: it is not enough to ask for forgiveness, but also to repair the damage, as well as to make decisions so that it does not happen again in the future.
It would be desirable for the audit commissioned by the EEC to be as solid as the French one, something that remains to be verified, given the reluctance expressed by the episcopal dome, with doubts about the scope of a report scheduled for a year from now that should affect the entire ecclesial community, orders included. In any case, beyond truth, reflection and forgiveness, It is convenient to claim the purpose of amendment and, of course, the intervention in the last instance of the Penal Code.