Church in Spain: hundreds of thousands of abuse victims?

Ombudsman Ángel Gabilondo has presented the Spanish parliament with the results of an investigation which indicate that hundreds of thousands of minors may have been abused in Spain’s Catholic Church since the 1960s. In a survey of 8,000 people, 0.6 percent said they had been victims of sexual abuse in church institutions. Based on that figure, the total number of victims in Spain would be around 440,000. What should be done now?

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Focus on the core of the problem

For Gazeta Wyborcza the exact number of victims is of secondary importance:

“No matter what the documentable statistics and testimonies say, whether there were 300,000 or 400,000 victims, it is clear that the phenomenon of paedophilia in the Spanish Church was widespread, that it was concealed and covered up for decades, and that the Catholic Church is still trying to downplay it today. The Spanish Catholic Church has been far more reluctant to expose paedophilia in its ranks than other European countries such as Germany, France or Portugal, where the issue was investigated by independent social commissions with which the Catholic institutions cooperated in good faith.”

Maciej Stasiński
El País (ES) /

The truth must have consequences

El País stresses the responsibility of both the state and the Church:

“The figures are staggering. ... The ombudsman is right to hold the state, which is responsible for the education system where most of the cases occurred, accountable. ... Likewise, the Church has a duty to provide funds for the care and compensation of the victims. The establishment of a state reparations fund is not enough. It cannot absolve the religious institution of its responsibility. ... The truth revealed by the ombudsman’s report must be translated into public policies that put an end once and for all to one of the darkest and most traumatic episodes in the recent history of our country.” (ES) /

Seek sincere reparations hopes for a schism of the Church in Spain:

“The representatives of the Church must ask forgiveness for having been a house of horror for so many children and teenagers in our country. ... Perhaps the enormity of what happened is so great that they prefer to say nothing and pray in silence. ... Hopefully there will be a split within the Church brought about by those who live their faith without commitment to human rights. ... Only if the Church launches its own revolution, its own Se Acabó [Enough!], can real and sincere reparations be made to each of the victims.”

Violeta Assiego