Spain: Bishops Refuse to Be Scapegoats

June 10, 2022
Bishop Luis Arguello

The Spanish bishops announced on April 29, 2022 that they will not participate in the parliamentary commission inquiring into sexual abuse in the Church, even if its authorities “will collaborate with the civil authorities” within the framework required by Spanish law.  The Spanish episcopate has denounced the fact that the investigations only target the ecclesiastical institution and not the whole of society.

The Spanish congress voted at the beginning of March 2022 to create a commission of experts responsible for carrying out the first national investigation into sexual abuse committed in an ecclesial context in the country, encouraged by the newspaper El País which had launched its own investigation in 2018.

A few days before parliament's vote, the Episcopal Conference announced that it would conduct its own investigation, similar to what bishops in the United States, Ireland, and France have done, reports Crux, the American information agency.

“We want to state that to carry out an investigation of abuses only in the Church, when it is clear that out of 15,000 open cases in Spain, only 69 refer to the church, is a surprising decision,” said Bishop Luis Argüello, spokesman of the Spanish bishops’ conference.

Bishop Argüello argued that a different investigation opened by the regional government of Catalonia makes more sense. The Catalan commission intends to examine all the institutions of the region, including the Church.

The Cremades law firm will carry out both the Church and state investigations. Bishop Argüello appealed to all victims to “use any channel they consider necessary to report” abuse, whether it is the justice system, the media, or the Church.

“When all is said and done, he said, what matters is what society as a whole can do together, without the Church ‘assuming the role of a scapegoat, so that an awareness arises in society that ensures the problem of abuse can be addressed in its full magnitude.’”