The president of the Episcopal Conference, Juan José Omella denied the “truth and reliability” of the results of the Ombudsman’s survey on sexual abuse in the Church and demanded a “thorough and impartial” review of the data to correct “any bias that may be maliciously extrapolated” .
In the opening speech of the Plenary Assembly of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), Omella acknowledged that the report of the Ombudsman “fills the sorrow of the bishops”, but also the “pain and discomfort” of public defamation due to “a deliberate and false extrapolation” from the survey that shows that 1.13% of Spaniards suffered sexual abuse by religion and 0.6% by a priest or religious.
“This situation is unacceptable and requires a full and impartial review of the data, to correct any bias that may have been maliciously extrapolated. We have reviewed the information in the aforementioned survey provided by the Ombudsman in his report and, frankly, It is impossible for us to rely on the authenticity and reliability of such results.”Omella is stressed.
“We feel obliged to express the pain and discomfort we have suffered in the face of public slander due to a deliberate and false extrapolation, made by some media, based on data from a survey carried out by the company that GAD3 and published in the Ombudsman’s Report,” said Omella.
“Forgive all people”
The president and the general secretary of the Episcopal Conference once again asking for “forgiveness for all people”, especially the victims and their familieswho suffered sexual abuse and recalled that, “for some time now,” they have been “tightening and reviewing” all of their safety and training protocols.
“In no way do we intend to look for excuses or justifications to avoid any responsibility that may correspond to us as an institution. Frankly and without twists, we declare that we fully understand and appreciate the damage done. As on other occasions, we want to clearly express the shame and regret caused by this fact that betrays the message of the Gospel”, he declared, once again asking for “forgiveness to all the people who suffered because of these execrable actions”, during his speech.
In this sense, he added that “there are not enough words” to express how sorry they are “for their pain, as well as for the betrayal committed by some members” of their communities.
“We showed ourselves completely willing to listen, support, heal and offer the help they need to heal the wounds. We observe with great hope the path taken by the Church to prevent new sexual abuses from occurring in the future. And, if something happens, we know how to respond quickly and effectively,” he said.