Lisbon (Portugal) – In Portugal, more than 100 priests who are still active in the church have been accused of sexually abusing 4,815 children. The commission investigating the issue said in a report, adding the findings are the “tip of the iceberg”.
1. Psychiatrist Pedro Strecht, who headed the commission said the 4,815 cases were the “absolute minimum” number of victims of sexual abuse by clergy members in Portugal since 1950. “These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. Most perpetrators (77%) were priests and 57% of the victims were men, Strecht said, adding that they were abused in Catholic schools, churches, priests’ homes and confessionals, among other locations.
#UPDATE Catholic clergy in Portugal have abused nearly 5,000 children since 1950, an independent commission said on Monday after hearing hundreds of victims’ accounts ▶️ https://t.co/qXfcuLDYMZ
📷 Child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht (C) presents the commission’s findings in Lisbon pic.twitter.com/Tfy8CLsW89
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) February 13, 2023
2. A list of these priests is being compiled and sent to the church and the plaintiffs in the case. All of the accused should be removed from their jobs immediately. By this action at least their contact with children can be restricted. The Church has a moral duty to assist the authorities investigating the matter.
Abuse Documentary : The Shame of the Catholic Church | Retro Report | The New York Times
(Source : The New York Times)
3. Jose Ornelas, head of the Bishops’ Conference said “We have not yet received a comprehensive list from the commission.” The Church does not internally investigate its members. (If this is the Church’s stance then will the accused ever get punishment ? It is in fact very clear that this stance is just an attempt to protect its lustful priests ! – Editor)
4. In a statement, US-based support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called on Portuguese church officials to “prominently publish the name, photo, place of residence, and work history of abusive clergy”. “Immediate action is needed, and it includes the dismissal of any bishop, chancellor, vicar general, or other church hierarchs who is complicit in what has happened,” SNAP said. “Without change at the top, nothing will change.”
Child abuse found in Portugal Catholic Church is ‘tip of iceberg’, commission says https://t.co/bS4cwVhHWv pic.twitter.com/mtjaSI20Hh
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 13, 2023
Criticism from the Prime Minister and President of Portugal !
- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the revelations “shocked society as a whole”, adding that Government officials, including the justice minister, would meet with commission members.
- President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who came under fire in October for saying 400 cases of alleged sexual abuse by clergy members did not seem to be “particularly high”, said the Church must be held accountable.