Spain’s Catholic Church Sunday opened an investigation into the alleged sex abuse of over a thousand children by members of their clergy dating back 80 years.
The investigation will be carried out by the Spanish Bishops Conference, headed by Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, and will look into 251 priests across 31 religious orders and 31 dioceses. The number of victims is thought to be around 1,237 but is still rising, according to a three-year investigation performed by the El Pais newspaper.
The Vatican’s spokesperson Matteo Bruni spoke to the press about the investigation, stating that the Pope received documentation of the alleged abuses and immediately passed it onto the competent bodies to proceed according to current Church law. The present Church law is that Spanish bishops must inform civil authorities about suspected cases of sexual abuse. The Pope then also sent the documentation to the Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith, the institution that centralizes the investigation of pedophilia, where Cardinal Omega received it and began the investigation.
However, many activists have said the Church was not as quick as spokesperson Bruni claimed to be, arguing they have been calling for an independent probe into alleged sexual abuse in Spain’s Catholic Church ever since the investigation in France. The Spanish Catholic Church, however, denies these claims.
The oldest case of alleged abuse currently reported is 1942, and the most recent is 2018.