Victims of pedophilia in Portugal await actions from the pope

Charlotte City |

Lisbon (BLAZETRENDS).- Victims of pedophilia in the Portuguese Catholic Church consider it insufficient for the Pope to meet privately in Portugal with a group of those affected while his official agenda does not mention the abuses and they trust that Francisco “breaks” the program of the World Youth Day in Lisbon and speak out in public about these crimes.

It is defended by António Grosso, one of the promoters of the Silenced Heart group, the first official association in Portugal for victims of pedophilia in the Church.

“The program does not make any mention of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, a subject that is frequently discussed by Pope Francis himself, which is the order of the day in this country,” Grosso alleges in an interview with BLAZETRENDS, who would like to that “himself, breaking the minutes of the official program, talk about sexual abuse in the Church in Portugal.”

The pontiff’s official agenda provides for events in Lisbon and Fatima from August 2 to 6 in the framework of World Youth Day (WYD), without mentioning the victims of pedophilia, although the organization ensures that Francis will meet in private with a group of victims without divulging further details.

The Tagus Park in Lisbon (Portugal), where the final ceremonies of World Youth Day will be held
The Tagus Park in Lisbon (Portugal), where the final ceremonies of World Youth Day will be held. BLAZETRENDS / Carlota City

Grosso, abused from 10 to 12 years in two Catholic institutions, explained that initially Silenced Heart was not contacted for the meeting but, after the insistence of the association itself, a spokesperson for the group will be present.

A study carried out by experts at the request of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP) revealed in February that there are at least 4,800 victims of pedophilia in the country since 1950 and that there are still active priests.

They expect self-criticism and validation

Those affected miss a “self-criticism” of the Church for how it has dealt with abusers and victims and for the “validation” of the suffering caused.

“We want to hear what we have already heard from Pope Francis that it is necessary to continue fighting crimes and sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and that the matter does not die in these five-day days in Portugal in which the matter does not form part of the official program”, continues Grosso.

He also defends that this issue should be raised at WYD because “youth have to be alerted” when “many” people are sexually abused in their childhood and adolescence.

Silenced Heart, which does not disclose how many members it has, decided to register as an association after the “defensive” response to the February report by the CEP, which left the suspension of the priests indicated in the document at the discretion of each diocese, among other measures of “absolutely minor results”, they criticize.

It’s not a plot

Filipa, who is also part of this initiative and who does not want to be identified, points out that the Portuguese Church lacked “empathy, recognition and action”.

“It is impossible that this was a conspiracy,” he adds, given the doubts expressed by the CEP about the veracity of the complaints, which have allowed designated priests to maintain their functions due to “lack” of evidence.

General view of the works of the main stages in Parque Tejo, which will host the final acts of the World Youth Day in Lisbon
General view of the works of the main stages in Parque Tejo, which will host the final acts of the World Youth Day in Lisbon. BLAZETRENDS / Carlota City

“There are many people who do not accept that this is a reality, that it is true that priests, lay people, and religious abused and abused minors and not only minors and, since it was such a strange reality and in which people did not want to believe, They ended up thinking it was a conspiracy,” he alleges.

In addition, it asks that the Portuguese Church assume the compensation for the victims who claim it as a way of asking for forgiveness, and not only when there is a judicial decision, leaving a vacuum with the prescribed cases.

“How are you going to do? Is it an apology to everyone? No, because it may not be sincere and recognized, it may just be to settle the matter. The fact that it is a reparation, an indemnity, is an act of the Church that says ‘I believe in you. What you say is true. You are a victim of the Church,’” she concludes.

The Portuguese Episcopal Conference announced in March that it was going to inaugurate a memorial in honor of the victims of abuse during WYD, but recently clarified that the project has been postponed.

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