The bishops of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) met yesterday in an extraordinary Plenary Assembly that took more hours than expected to analyze the report of the Ombudsman about sexual abuse committed within the Church. The request was also evaluated by the office Burns & Calvo Sotelo to once again extend the deadline for delivery of the study on abuses commissioned from the law firm in February 2022 by the Conference itself. The assembly, headed by Juan José Omellapresident of the Episcopal Conference and archbishop of Barcelonalasted throughout the afternoon and will be announced today at 09:00 in the morning at a press conference.
At the end of the assembly, the Spanish bishops assessed in a statement as “valuable” the recommendations proposed by the Ombudsman, and explained that they will design an itinerary to apply them. However, they criticize that the “extrapolation” of the survey data (which indicates that 0.6% of the Spanish adult population has suffered abuse in childhood by priests or religious) “does not correspond to the truth.” » and they ask not to put the «focus» only on the Church..
This “extrapolation” refers to the projection (around 445,000 people, taking into account the current population figure) of the survey carried out by GAD3 to 8,013 Spaniards on behalf of the Ombudsman, and which is included in the report. 777 pages that Angel GabilondoOmbudsman since he left the Madrid Assembly in 2021, delivered to the Congress of Deputies last Friday.
«The abuses committed in the Church hurt. Also surprising is the extrapolation made from the data obtained in a survey attached to the report. They do not correspond to the truth nor do they represent the group of priests and religious who work loyally and with dedication of their lives in the service of the Kingdom,” explains the Conference statement. The bishops have decided to entrust the EEC Minor Protection Service with “the itinerary for the application of the recommendations of the Ombudsman” and that it will already be implemented in the next Plenary Assembly in November.
Prior to this informative note, the only religious authority that yesterday issued an assessment of the Ombudsman’s report was the Archbishopric of Seville, which through a statement reaffirmed the “zero tolerance” towards sexual abuse in the Church and recalled that the Episcopal Conference is waiting to receive the study from Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo in order to address more concrete measures. They also promised to investigate “with rigor and depth and make each case available to Justice” and added that “it is necessary to help generate trust by giving information about the response to this painful reality.”