Pained Pope helps get Spanish priests arrested

Pope Francis directly helped uncover three priests and a lay person in Spain suspected of child abuse.

Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said that Pope Francis has taken a special interest in uncovering these men.

It “was precisely the pope who has been most belligerent in bringing this case to light”, he said.

Gerard O’Connell in America reports that in August a young man wrote to the Pope saying he was 24 years old, a ‘supernumerary of Opus Dei’, and been abused while serving as an altar boy at the parish of San Juan Maria de Viannei.

The young man was astounded when Pope Francis called him on 10 August and asked his pardon for “this very great sin, and this very great crime,” and promised to intervene.

With Pope Francis’ encouragement the young man approached the archdiocese, the archbishop carried out an investigation and suspended the three priests.

The Archbishop reportedly did little else.

Pope Francis, in October, again called the young man in and was not pleased at how little had been done. He then encouraged the complainant to approach the civil authorities.

The boy claims the abuse took place over a five-year period when he was between the ages of 13 and 17.

He claims others were also abused.

Police have arrested three priests in Granada and “The Local”, (Spain’s news in English) claims another nine are being investigated about their involvement.

All the priests are members of a conservative spiritualist group called Los Romanones, led by Fr Roman (61), after whom the group took its name.

O’Connell reports Fr Roman is one of those arrested.

Asked on the way home from Strasbourg, how he reacted to the news of the Granada incident, Pope Francis said it pained him deeply.

“I read about it, I called the person and I said to them: you go to the bishop tomorrow. I wrote to the bishop asking him to get to work, hold an inquiry and get things moving. How did I react to the news? With great pain, great, great pain. But the truth is the truth and we must not hide it.”

The group appears to have considerable money and houses which they use not only for catechetical purposes and encouraging vocations, but also for sexual activities, reports O’Connell.

On Sunday, Archbishop Francisco Javier Martinez (pictured) asked for forgiveness for the scandals and prostrated himself in front of the cathedral’s high altar.

Many in Spain think the archbishop cannot remain as head of the diocese and more-so since a report over night claims a second man filed a complaint of sexual abuse against the Los Romanoes group.


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