The Spanish prosecutor will collect information on child abuse in the Catholic Church | world news

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s attorney general has ordered regional offices to investigate all ongoing judicial inquiries into the sexual abuse of minors by the Catholic Church, while parliament has taken a first step towards possible opening of his own investigation.

The prosecutor has given each region 10 days to compile the information, a prosecutor’s source told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Spanish Episcopal Conference did not respond to a request for comment.

The move comes after the Spanish Catholic Church said last month it would create diocesan-level commissions to hear complaints from victims of abuse, following a meeting of its top leaders with the Pope in Rome.

The Spanish Church has a special page on its website on how to deal with cases of abuse where it says that when a complaint is filed with the Church, all evidence collected will be sent directly to the Vatican. It also encourages victims to come forward and submit the file to the prosecutor’s office.

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The newspaper El Pais published in December the results of a three-year investigation that allegedly revealed potential abuses by 251 priests and some lay people in religious institutions against at least 1,237 victims between 1943 and 2018.

Last week, Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez met Juan Jose Omella, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, and this week will meet with an alleged victim of abuse.

The government said in a statement that the prosecutor, who acts independently, was acting “within his autonomy and competence”.

“These actions do not replace the measures the government is considering to clarify the facts and avoid new cases,” he said in a statement.

Separately, Spain’s parliament has approved a vote on a motion by some smaller left-wing parties to set up its own inquiry into the matter, although such a commission will take time to materialize and would likely run into opposition. opposition from right-wing parties.

Sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church worldwide first made headlines in 2002, when the American daily Boston Globe wrote a series of articles exposing the abuse of minors by religious and cultural widespread concealment within the Church.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of cases have emerged around the world.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; additional reporting by Belén Carreño, editing by Aislinn Laing and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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