(Netflix has a documentary on abuse in the Church in Spain.)
When the Holy Father flew to Cyprus two weeks ago,* a reporter from the Spanish newspaper El Pais approached him. The newspaper had spent three years collecting the testimony of survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Spain. The reporter handed the pope 385 pages of material.
(*The pope removed Michel Aupetit as Archbishop of Paris while on the same flight.)
This morning El Pais published this fact, as well as this news: supposedly the Vatican Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, along with the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, will now investigate all the cases that El Pais collected.
Ok… <Ahem> We will see what actually happens.
Just last month, the Spanish Bishops’ Conference rejected a proposed investigation into sexual abuse in the Spanish Church. The bishops’ spokesman insisted, “There are only a few cases.”
(El Pais has uncovered 1,237, certainly just the tip of the iceberg.)
Also, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Spaniard, recently hid behind a diplomatic technicality in order to avoid a French subpoena. Cardinal Ladaria had advised the then-archbishop of Lyons, France, to “avoid all possible scandal” in dealing with the serial pedophile priest Bernard Preynat. The Lyons archbishop then faced criminal charges for cover-up and had to resign.
One of Preynat’s victims, Francois Devaux, recently said of Pope Francis: “He is losing all legitimacy because of his terrible lack of judgment. This gentleman should reread the Gospel.”
So El Pais‘ idea that these same gentlemen will successfully “investigate” anything leaves you wondering. Perhaps, however, the publication of all this information will lead ultimately to the creation in Spain of something akin to the CIASE in France.
On the day that our Lady gave birth to our Lord in Bethlehem, the world swirled with plagues, cruelty, and spiritual confusion. But she held in her heart this longing: that God’s truth, His eternal love, would unite the human race in the unbreakable bond of holy communion.
We need to go spiritually to the exact same place. Our Church, as a world-wide institution governed by compromised men, will continue to appear to the eyes of most people for what it certainly is, considered from one point-of-view: a long-term criminal conspiracy.
But She has a center of gravity much more profound than the machinations of the mitered men. She has Her place immediately next to the manger. She will always have that place, and that’s where we belong.