The PSOE has registered this Monday the initiative with which it intends that Congress give the go-ahead to its approach that the Ombudsman be the one to pilot the investigation of pederasty in the Church. The proposal proposes that the institution led by Ángel Gabilondo be supported by an “independent advisory commission” in its work, which will be made up of “experts, representatives of public administrations, associations in defense of those affected, as well as the Catholic Church”, according to the letter.
The State Attorney General takes charge of the investigation of abuses in the Church
“We need it because an important part of the documentation will have to come from the Catholic Church itself,” said former vice president Carmen Calvo, who has taken the non-law proposal to the registry together with the parliamentary spokesman, Héctor Gómez. “We would have very much liked the Spanish Catholic Church to proprio motu I would have gotten out of this thing. The scenario in which the Episcopal Conference itself is helping with what we intend with this initiative seems good to us”. The now socialist deputy, who as vice president was in charge of relations with the bishops, has assured that this matter has been addressed with the Church on several occasions.
The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, who is the one who now has contacts with the Episcopal Conference, has also assured that he asked him last week to participate in this investigation. “I asked him with the good faith of those who believe that it is not only good for society as a whole, it is good for the Catholic Church because this is not against the church, on the contrary, we want him to be able to collaborate in uncovering people. who have committed crimes, we are talking about crimes, criminals, pedophiles, that is what we are talking about”, he stated in an interview on Cadena SER. The response of the bishops, according to Bolaños, was that “the competent bodies of the Episcopal Conference would have to meet, analyze it and think about it.”
The proposal will not have an immediate response from the Church, at least taking into account the agenda of the bishops, who this week are immersed in spiritual retreats and do not have an executive meeting scheduled for approximately 10 days. The bishops threatened to boycott the investigative commission in Congress proposed by United We Can, ERC and EH Bildu. “We appeal to understanding and voluntary participation,” Gómez replied to the question of whether there is any way to force the bishops to participate. However, he has been convinced that their collaboration “is definitely going to be consummated”. “What used to be an anonymous loophole has been lifted by the very firm decision of Pope Francis,” added Calvo, who considers that “this is a determining element for Spain, which has the agreements with the Holy See.”
The EEC spokesman, Luis Argüello, launched a cryptic message on social networks. In his Twitter profile, the auxiliary bishop of Valladolid lamented that “when the story is more important than the facts, public opinion more than the truth, emotion more than reason and the strategy of confrontation more than the common good, trust is breaking down and dialogue and coexistence are difficult”. “Now more than ever, witnesses,” closes Argüello, with whom the minister of the presidency has spoken on several occasions in recent days.
The socialist spokesman has assured that he has transferred the proposal to his counterpart from United We Can, Pablo Echenique, and that it has been well received. The PSOE will reject the investigation commission proposed by its partners. “We understand that this is the format, this is the initiative, this is the body,” replied Gómez. The Socialists maintain that the formula that the Ombudsman is the one who pilots the investigations provides “protection” to the victims and guarantees the “privacy” of those who wish to remain anonymous. “We try to open the space to all the profiles that can shed light on the abuse of children and adolescents within the Church. We want to do it in the best of ways,” said the socialist spokesman at a press conference in The congress.
The PNV has also registered this Monday its proposal that a commission of experts be the one to carry out the investigation. In their case, they mandate the Government to form a group “to investigate, write a report and present it to Congress within a maximum period of one year.” The socialists do not establish a specific period for the investigation. Gómez has said that the “goal” is for the report to be ready before the end of the legislature at the end of 2023 and Bolaños has acknowledged that they are talking about “years”.
The socialists maintain that their formula is the most appropriate given that “the Ombudsman is the High Commissioner of the Cortes Generales, in charge of defending the fundamental rights and public freedoms of citizens.” “In the performance of his functions, the Ombudsman prepares reports and monographic studies on different issues”, includes the initiative in its explanatory statement in which it recalls that in the past these reports “have served to improve the protection of various social groups through action by the public authorities. “Thus, for example, it is worth mentioning the ones he carried out on women victims of gender violence (report of 1998, which was a pioneer in denouncing gender violence in our country), the victims of ETA terrorism (report of 2016 ); vulnerable consumers in terms of electricity (2017 report), or on the population residing in emptied Spain (report on the demographic situation in Spain, effects and consequences of 2019), among many other examples,” the text states.
The PSOE has also defended that Gabilondo be the one to lead the investigation after several media have accused him of having known, and not having acted, against the abuses during his time as a religious corazonista, between 1966 and 1979. It is about the dates in which a good part of the reported abuses are concentrated and that now it is intended to investigate. Gabilondo was also a professor of Language, Literature and Philosophy at the Sagrado Corazón schools in Vitoria and Madrid. Both centers are highlighted in the reports on abuses handled by Pope Francis and the Episcopal Conference.
“It seems to me that the good work and always tolerant and respectful attitudes of Mr. Gabilondo make him precisely a valuable piece for us to get where we want to go,” said Calvo, who highlighted that he is a professor of ethics and that ” Juatmente because before it has been what it has been in his personal life, he knows these things with greater detail than someone who is very oblivious to his profession”. The former vice president, who has asked for general respect for the “work carried out” by the Ombudsman, has recalled that the groups are represented in the institution -in reference to the PP, which he proposed to the deputy- so that they can raise other “perspectives”.