Spanish bishops launch comprehensive reparations project for abuse victims

The project, presented by the Coordination and Advisory Service of the Diocesan Offices for the Protection of Minors, has been unanimously approved and must now begin its development and definition.

Maria José Atienza-November 24, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes

The Secretary General and spokesman of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Msgr. Francisco César García Magán has been in charge of communicating to the media the results of the work of the 123rd Plenary Assembly of the Spanish Bishops, which took place in Madrid from November 20 to 24. 

The management and development of the various investigations into sexual abuse committed in the Church has focused part of the reflections and work of the Spanish bishops during these days.

In this field, both a letter to the People of God in Spain, on this topic, approved unanimously, and the approval of a work process to structure and develop a plan for the integral reparation of victims of abuse, are framed in this field.

Letter to the people of God for the abuses 

The Plenary Assembly has given the green light to a letter to all the faithful which deals specifically with the problem of sexual abuse committed within the Church.

The missive, which is addressed especially to the victims, is centered above all on the request for forgiveness to the victims, as the secretary general of the Spanish bishops wanted to emphasize, and also "a word of hope to the rest of the people of God". 

In addition, this letter announces the comprehensive reparation plan for the victims that will be developed by the Spanish Episcopal Conference. 

Repair plan

The spokesman for the Spanish bishops pointed out that what has been approved at this Plenary is the work plan, although he was able to advance three lines of action that include the iter The work presented by the Coordination and Counseling Service of the Diocesan Offices for the Protection of Minors: attention to victims and prevention and integral reparation, from all perspectives, psychological, social and economic.

In this sense, he pointed out that "we cannot talk about specific dates, since we have to meet certain statutory requirements", although he wants to get it up and running as soon as possible.

The bishops' spokesman has been asked several times about the possibility of establishing an economic fund to face the compensation to the victims. Magán pointed out that, in this type of cases, the economic compensation to each victim "has to be paid by the victimizer or, if he has died, by the institution involved. In principle, not the Episcopal Conference". 

Other Plenary Assembly topics

In addition to the abuses, the bishops have approved different projects in these days such as the "Project in favor of the dignity of the person". This initiative aims to address various problems affecting life, the dignity of the person, the family and society. Among the issues to be addressed, the bishops highlight the growing consumption of pornography among young people through the Internet, the trivialization of sexuality, the use of prostitution and sexual exploitation, mental health, or addictions.

The Compliance system for the Spanish Episcopal Conference has also been approved, a manual of regulatory compliance and best practices adapted to the nature and identity of the EEC. 

In addition, as stated in the summary of these days, the constitution of the Table of Interfaith Dialogue in Spain between the Catholic Church and the different Christian denominations is also being studied.

On the other hand, the bishops have approved the list of three candidates to be presented to the Dicastery for Evangelization for the appointment of the director The national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, since the first five-year term of the current director will come to an end next December, José María Calderón.

The Assembly dealt with various follow-up matters. It also received information on the current status of Apse (TRECE and COPE) and the PMO.

Congresses and meetings

In the coming months, various meetings are planned, promoted by different areas of the EEC, which the bishops have also spoken about in these days.

Among them, the Congress "The Church in Education" to be held in Madrid on Saturday, February 24, 2024, the National Meeting on the First Announcement, to be held from February 16 to 18 in Madrid or the National Congress on Vocations planned for the first half of 2025 with "the aim of raising awareness throughout the Church and society about life as a vocation".

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