A scandal hidden for many years within the Church of Barcelona emerges: a pedophile priest with an condo for orgies with altar boys | Society | EUROtoday

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EL PAÍS launched an investigation into pedophilia within the Spanish Church in 2018 and has an information base up to date with all recognized instances. If you understand of any case that has not seen the sunshine, you possibly can write to us at: abusos@elpais.es. If it’s a case in Latin America, the deal with is: abusosamerica@elpais.es.


The archbishopric of Barcelona has admitted a critical scandal of pedophilia hidden for many years within the church of San Félix Africano, a case revealed by EL PAÍS after an accusation of abuse towards the parish priest, José Mariné Jorba, within the seventies. One of his former altar boys, Aurelio Álvarez, reported him in 2023 to the archbishopric, which has now knowledgeable him that the open canonical investigation has revealed a horror state of affairs that describes a pedophile community organized across the youngsters of the parish, situated within the Ciutadella-Vila Olímpica neighborhood: the priest had an condo the place he took the altar boys to sexually assault them, a home managed by one other youthful priest the place different adults handed by, who even got here with a password. This has been confirmed by a key witness, the parochial vicar, Pere Muñoz, who had remained silent till now after witnessing their abuse for years – Mariné, who beforehand handed by way of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, was parish priest on this place till 1990. The archbishopric has allowed Álvarez to learn his assertion, as he has instructed this newspaper.

In this manner Aurelio Álvarez has found that the reality was much more terrifying than he imagined. He additionally claims that he has managed to contact 4 different altar boys and a lady of the time, from a gaggle that Mariné ready spiritually to be nuns and who had been referred to as blessed, who additionally affirm all the pieces: “The atmosphere was very sectarian and toxic. It has been very difficult and very hard. It has left us all devastated. I would call this place the church of terror.” This newspaper has additionally confirmed some particulars with different witnesses. The archdiocese of Barcelona, ​​consulted on Friday morning, responded that it couldn’t reply this newspaper's questions till Monday.

The vicar was situated in Cartagena, the place he lived already retired and at a sophisticated age. By giving an announcement he not solely confirmed Álvarez's accusation, but additionally expanded the dimension of the scandal. This sufferer affirms that, in response to the data she has collected, “both altar boys and saints were abused in the apartment by Mariné, three other priests and a seminarian.” Álvarez confirms that Father Muñoz by no means attacked him or the opposite altar boys, “but he was complicit with his silence.” Mariné, ultra-conservative and who continued to rejoice the Latin mass together with his again turned, was a extremely revered particular person within the neighborhood.

Álvarez explains that Mariné “used faith to normalize abuse and, at the same time, created a competitive environment among the altar boys, fostering jealousy, envy and disputes; he had favorites among them, who became attractors of more victims.” “In my case, he abused me separately, separated from the rest, due to my rebellious character. According to what the other altar boys tell me, he told them that I did not participate in the 'spiritual retreats', as he called them, because I resisted the actions and tests, and I could ruin everything. I was left alone when they left and when I asked them where they had been they didn't answer. Only Mariné told me a couple of times: 'In a very nice place where you will never be there for misbehaving,'” he says.

An altar boy within the group was Miguel Ángel Barco, who later grew to become a priest and was concerned in a infamous incident in Zaragoza in 2014, as parish priest of Épila, when he was accused of harassing a 27-year-old deacon with whom he lived. He denied the accusations, however the archbishop of Zaragoza, Manuel Ureña, paid the deacon 60,000 euros, though he assured that he didn’t consider the accusations. The matter ended up costing the archbishop his job and his departure from the diocese. Barco was later expelled from the priesthood by the Vatican in 2018. Contacted by this newspaper, he has denied that he suffered or witnessed abuse by Mariné, defends the priest's innocence, and assures that he has the testimony of two different altar boys of the time who give their opinion as he.

Aurelio Álvarez, victim of sexual abuse in the San Félix Africano parish, in Barcelona, ​​poses in front of the church.
Aurelio Álvarez, sufferer of sexual abuse within the San Félix Africano parish, in Barcelona, ​​poses in entrance of the church.Albert Garcia

The archdiocese of Barcelona, ​​which, though it has financed remedy for the sufferer, additionally refused to compensate her on the grounds that the accused was already lifeless and, regardless of realizing the reality, for a yr it didn’t inform the sufferer of their investigations or that the abuses had been confirmed. All beneath the command of Cardinal Juan José Omella, who was then president of the Episcopal Conference (CEE), a place he left in March. Last October, this newspaper already revealed a number of testimonies from victims who had been very important of the remedy acquired on this archbishopric. On the opposite hand, the Spanish Church continues to query the testimonies of the victims and solely two out of ten are believed, as emerges from its controversial classification of instances as confirmed or unproven, unprecedented in the remainder of the Catholic nations the place the scandal has been investigated. .

The archbishopric already had the vicar's assertion within the spring of 2023, however didn’t say something to the sufferer. In response to her questions, anxious to know if her accusations had been confirmed, she responded with an e-mail in April 2024: “Good morning, to inform you that a Decree was issued in your file that was sent to the Ecclesiastical Court of Cartagena, which is who should fulfill it as it is the diocese where Father Muñoz resides. For our part, we are constantly monitoring for full compliance with it, so we hope to have more news soon.”

After Álvarez's insistence, lastly final month, a yr later, the archbishopric gave him data, however solely after the vicar died, and thru an enigmatic e-mail: “We have been informed of the death yesterday of Mn. . Pere Muñoz Iranzo. As stated in the Decree issued by our Ecclesiastical Court, the silence of Mn. Pere Muñoz Iranzo, in light of the events that occurred, was imposed the criminal remedy of reprimand, accompanied by penance, consisting of asking for forgiveness in writing from you, Mr. Álvarez, as well as from the rest of the injured victims. (…) Unfortunately, the illness and death of Mn. Pere Muñoz Iranzo has prevented this forgiveness from being formalized in writing, but he did express it orally at his last residence. Therefore, allow us, in his name, to convey to you the request for forgiveness that Mn. “Pere Muñoz Iranzo verbalized before dying.” This is how Aurelio Álvarez came upon, bureaucratically, not solely that his accusations had been confirmed, however that there have been extra victims. Translated, the archdiocese of Barcelona had “credited the silence” of the vicar concerning the abuse, and imposed a sentence of penance and that he ask the sufferer for forgiveness in writing. But in a yr he didn’t give it time, it was solely verbal, and ultimately it was the diocese that transmitted it.

But Álvarez nonetheless didn’t know what he was asking forgiveness for and what he had stored silent about; the archdiocese didn’t clarify it to him. The most wonderful factor remained to be found. But it was solely as a result of, once more, he insisted on it. He demanded to know the content material of the vicar's assertion and the archbishopric lastly summoned him to point out him the textual content final month. They didn’t give him a replica, as a result of in canonical processes the sufferer has virtually no proper to something, not even a replica of the sentence. It was then that he discovered that there was truly a whole pedophile plot organized by the priest and the terrifying particulars. He left the archbishopric with a sense of liberation, that they lastly believed him, after so a few years of struggling, though it took them a yr to inform him, reluctantly.

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