Friday, June 9

The Church of Bizkaia apologizes at mass to the victims of sexual abuse and encourages them to continue denouncing

The cathedral of Santiago de Bilbao has hosted a “prayer act” this Friday afternoon presided over by the bishop, Joseba Segura, in which he has asked God for “forgiveness” and the victims of sexual abuse, in that order, according to has exposed at the beginning. The Eucharist follows years in which this diocese, unlike other much more belligerent ones, has wanted to get closer to the people attacked with steps such as the creation of an investigative commission -although the judicial authorities have not considered their collaboration satisfactory in all cases- or the transfer of an ecclesiastical space for an exhibition with portraits of victims from all over Europe, ‘Shame’. Possible restorative encounters are also being analyzed. The Church of Bizkaia understands that it has “disappointed” the “trust” of many people and that the known cases have “destroyed the innocence” of abused minors. It is time to act with “responsibility” in the face of “so many broken lives”.

Gaztelueta, above Justice: the teacher convicted of abuse is “innocent” and the victim lies


“We recognize that among us there have been abusers,” said Monsignor Segura, who has used Basque from Biscay at times and whose homily has been broadcast on YouTube. They are also part of our history. They reflect the opposite of what we wanted to be. Some have abused their position. They have been ours. Christ tells us that only the truth will set us free. This request is necessary because some victims have requested it. But we do not close any book. With the victims at the center of everything, we will continue to learn more and more from them every day in order to build our future from the truth. We strive to find the truth. Only assuming all our history, the good and the bad, will we be able, when the victims allow us, to say that we have learned that it will never be possible for any detestable abuse to happen again within the Christian community. May God help us to achieve it.”

The bishop has also indicated from the altar that “the channels of communication remain open” to collect possible complaints. “Be sure that you are going to be heard. We will treat each case with scrupulous respect. We are going to listen to you with our hearts and not just with our ears ”, the prelate promised, at all times well aware that the victims who are Catholic consider the gestures of his Church relevant in addition to the operation of the Rule of Law. Before, at the entrance, he has admitted to the media that there will be others who consider it “insufficient”. However, he later called on “the whole of society” to mobilize because sexual abuse has occurred “in various social settings” and not only in the Catholic Church. He has spoken of families, sports clubs, child pornography or the “big business of human trafficking.”

Forgiveness has been symbolized with an olive tree and a plaque that will be permanently placed in the cathedral’s chapel of La Piedad. On the benches of the temple, full of parishioners and where pieces of classical music have been performed, some victims and relatives have gathered, who have also lit candles in memory of the abused. The first was arrested by Ana María Cuevas, mother of the young man who suffered a sexual assault at the Opus Dei school in Leioa, Gaztelueta. The victim’s father, Juan Cuatrecasas, has indicated to the media that this is a “positive gesture” although there are victims “tired of hearing the word sorry” because what they want is “recognition and reparation.” Likewise, the priest Josu López Villalba, himself a victim, has officiated the ceremony together with the bishop. Some testimonies from Vizcayans who have suffered abuse have also been read. The first five can be synthesized in the phrase “I felt guilty.” The sixth, on the other hand, was radically different: “They are the culprits, not us.”