Spanish Catholic dioceses will collect complaints of abuse after conversations with the Pope

MADRID, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Spain’s Catholic Church will create local commissions to deal with complaints from victims of abuse after holding talks with Pope Francis on Friday over allegations spanning more than eight decades detailed in a local newspaper.

El Pais in December published the results of a three-year investigation that it said uncovered possible abuse by 251 priests and some lay people from religious institutions against at least 1,237 victims between 1943 and 2018.

He said his correspondent delivered a 385-page dossier to the pope on Dec. 2 as the papal entourage and journalists flew from Rome to Cyprus.

Cardinal Juan José Omella, president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, discussed with him the issues of sexual abuse in the Vatican and said that each diocese would create a commission to receive the accusations and then investigate.

“We have established a commission in each diocese to collect complaints to accompany people who feel hurt and prevent these things from happening again,” Omella said at a press conference after their meeting.

Sexual abuse scandals in the global Catholic Church first made headlines in 2002, when the Boston Globe published a series of articles exposing child abuse by clerics and a pervasive culture of cover-up. within the Church.

In June, the Pope called the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis a global “catastrophe.” Since his election in 2013, he has taken a series of measures aimed at ending the sexual abuse of minors by clerics.

The Spanish Church has rejected suggestions to create an independent investigative body as has been done in France and recently announced in Portugal.

Omella said that it was better for the victims to be attended to by the local dioceses and that the commissions will “clarify and bring everything to completion as mandated by the protocols of the Holy See and the civil courts.”

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)

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