Leiria-Fátima cardinal calls for abuse cases to be passed to police

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 13-05-2019 10:34:00 · 0 Comments
Leiria-Fátima cardinal calls for abuse cases to be passed to police

The cardinal of Portugal’s Leiria-Fátima diocese, António Marto, has called for allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to be communicated to the legal authorities, which he said are best placed to investigate.

During a news conference on the May pilgrimage to the shrine at Fátima, Portugal’s most important pilgrimage site, Marto welcomed the position taken by Pope Francis on sexual abuse, that it is mandatory to create a structure to register abuse allegations, while also protecting those who report it.

In April, church officials in Lisbon said in a radio interview that they would set up a commission to receive and screen such abuse allegations.

Asked by Lusa whether the church should be doing this screening or communicate allegations directly to the authorities, Marto said that, in his view, it "must communicate to the judicial authorities as soon as possible."

Police and prosecutors, he argued, "have more human resources, more effective and more efficient instruments to ascertain the truth", adding that this was his personal opinion on the subject.

Marto recalled that Pope Francis has only made it mandatory within the church to report such allegations, noting that, while in Portugal it is not mandatory to pass on such complaints to the legal authorities, in France it is, and that a failure to do so has even led to the trial and sentencing of a cardinal there.

In February, the spokesman of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP), Manuel Barbosa, said that there were “very few” cases reported to ecclesiastical tribunals and in “more than half” of them investigations were discontinued for lack of evidence.


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