Independent commission estimates that there are more than 400,000 victims of abuse within the Catholic Church in Spain; SNAP urges governmental action

For Immediate Release: October 27, 2023

In March 2022, Spain's parliament overwhelmingly approved the creation of an independent commission to investigate accusations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. At a news conference called today to present the findings of that report, the country's national ombudsman estimated that more than 400,000 children have been sexually assaulted in the Catholic Church in Spain since 1940, more than 200,000 by clergy. The commission was also critical of the Church, calling its response to cases of child abuse involving the clergy “insufficient,” and recommended the creation of a state fund to pay reparations to survivors. 

Once again, an independent investigation has examined the response of the Catholic Church to accusations of child sex abuse and found that response woefully inadequate. We believe that this again illustrates that the Catholic abuse scandal, the result of unconscionable decisions made by those in positions of leadership, cannot be resolved within the Church. The Spanish government must step in and not only manage any reparations but also begin regulating the Catholic Church. In fact, every nation in the world should start to assess how it can supervise a religion that has failed to monitor itself, and that apparently values their clergy, its secrets, and its assets over the lives of innocent children. We applaud the brave victims who came forward to share their tragic experiences with the commission. They join a huge network of survivors who are trying to protect others from similar atrocities.

Every week more Catholic priests are arrested or outed as perpetrators. And it seems like every week, we learn that clergy accused of child sexual abuse are allowed to remain in ministry. As investigation after investigation piles up, we see more and more the failure of Church leadership - cardinals, bishops, high-level chancery members -- to protect defenseless boys and girls. The rot appears to go all the way to the top in every diocese and religious order in the world. 
It is long past time for "God's house" to be washed clean.


CONTACT: Marc Artzrouni, SNAP Europe, ([email protected], +33 - 6 95 73 65 92), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director (267-261-0578 [email protected]), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President  (814-341-8386, [email protected])

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