After years of continuous denials, in some cases outright, and a few days before traveling to Rome for an unpredictable meeting with Pope Francis, the Episcopal Conference announced the approval of a “comprehensive reparation plan” for the victims of clerical pedophilia. in which, for the first time, survivors will be financially compensated, without necessarily requiring a final court ruling.
“The Church will always repair. The Church is responsible for compensation if there is a judicial ruling, and if there is not one, we will also do so,” clarified the Secretary General of the EEC, César García Magán, in a press conference in which the aforementioned document was not delivered. plan, nor the text entitled Sent to welcome, heal and rebuild. Message from the Plenary Assembly to the People of God, and in which the bishops make “an explicit, clear, direct request for forgiveness to the victims,” as well as “the announcement of a comprehensive reparation plan for the victims,” as they announced. .
In the document, the bishops commit to “be transparent in this process and be accountable to the victims, the Church and God.” We want to express clearly the pain, shame and sadness that this reality that betrays the message of the Gospel causes in us. In no way do we intend to look for excuses or justifications to avoid any responsibility that may correspond to us as the Church,” says the message, which recognizes that “the suffering has been caused not only by the abuses but also by the way in which, at times, they have been treated. “, although he clarifies that” focusing solely on the Church is blurring the problem. The recommendations and measures that must be taken should not only be directed at us, but at all of society.”
The text, approved unanimously, is admitted as a ‘report’ to be presented this Tuesday to Pope Francis. “It is a word that we want to send to the faithful and to society,” indicated the auxiliary bishop of Toledo, who added that the text “is focused on the issue of the victims,” and includes “an explicit, clear, direct request for forgiveness.” to the victims”, as well as “the announcement of a comprehensive reparation plan for the victims”.
“The text is very focused on the victims, to express our forgiveness, our desire to help,” García Magán added. “There is also a word of hope and comfort to the rest of God’s people, because the victim is at the center. “These crimes have been an attack against the victims, and also against the people of God.”
What the bishops will not do is wait for the Cremades audit, which the latest episcopal decisions try to deactivate before the intended publication of the final report, planned – if there is no counter-order, because the EEC, at this time, has not yet decided what do with it – by December 15. It does seem clear that Cremades will not be in the new body that will rule on compensation for victims, and which has not yet begun to operate, since “it will be developed by the competent bodies of the EEC.”
In this sense, Magán explained that last Friday “Javier Cremades sent by email, not the audit, but a draft subject to changes, with a report of about 800 pages, which does not correspond to the initially approved index.” Subsequently, he sent three annexes, with tables of complaints, prevention tables of the dioceses and religious congregations. What the episcopal spokesperson did do was remind the firm that they cannot publish the audit without the permission “of the property, who is in charge of it” and that, according to elDiario.es, it has already paid more than 1.2 million of euros.
Thus, “a work plan has been approved, which has been presented by the Coordination Service of the Child Protection Offices,” based on “care for victims, prevention and comprehensive reparation, with all perspectives, including economic”.
Regarding deadlines, the EEC spokesperson insisted that “it will be done as soon as possible, but we have to meet some statutory requirements” that he did not finish explaining. What does seem clear is that, for the first time, the bishops admit that compensation will be paid, regardless of whether there are firm court rulings. “The Church will always repair. The Church is responsible for compensation if there is a judicial ruling, and if there is not one, we will also do it,” he stressed.
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