The meeting was requested shortly after Félix Bolaños agreed to the Ministry of the Presidency in July 2021, since one of his tasks is the relationship with religious confessions. When Isabel Celaá landed as the new ambassador to the Holy See, she reiterated the request. The confirmation came a month, a month and a half ago. Thus, Bolaños held a 50-minute private audience with Pope Francis on Monday, in which, among other issues, they did address the sexual abuse of minors committed within the Church, but not the new abortion law. that the government has promoted.
“It has been a very inspiring conversation”, was the feeling that Bolaños has left after almost an hour of meeting in which he highlighted that Pope Francis “was completely aware of the reality of Spain”. One of those issues is the investigative commission headed by the Ombudsman to investigate abuses in the Spanish Church, and which was approved by Congress.
“We have exchanged some opinion in relation to how important it is to protect the victims. The essential thing is that all the measures that are adopted by all the organisms are to protect these people who were victims of a crime in their day”, has Bolaños pointed out in his assessment of the meeting with the Pope.
Precisely, Ángel Gabilondo, the Ombudsman, has requested to appear in parliament, at his own request, to give an account of the work carried out on the assignment to prepare a report on sexual abuse in the sphere of the Catholic Church. An investigation in which the Episcopal Conference has refused to participate and towards which it has shown its discomfort with the Government because they consider that investigating “only the abuses in the Church” and not the whole of society is a “surprising decision”. They are willing to open their canonical files, although they consider that “their information has been overvalued.”
This position does not finish liking the Government. Bolaños, after visiting the Pope, has reiterated that this is and will be the Government’s line of work. “It is important that the Catholic Church collaborate in this commission because it is for the benefit of the Church itself: that the facts be clarified, provide the means so that it does not happen again in the future and give love and protection to the victims.”
On March 11, the spokesman for the Episcopal Conference (CEE), Luis Argüello, stated that 506 complaints of sexual abuse of minors had been received in the Church since the offices for the prevention of child abuse began two years ago. For his part, the Pope has requested an annual report on the state of abuse in the Church from the Commission for the Protection of Minors.
The new abortion law promoted by the Council of Ministers at the proposal of the Ministry of Equality has not been discussed, at least that is what Bolaños has stated. “We haven’t talked about that rule.” The Spanish bishops have already shown their rejection of the norm: “It seems to us bad news that today the government has approved an abortion bill where the right to abortion continues to be affirmed, the right of the strong over the weak, when it comes to eliminate a new and different life that exists in the womb of the mother”.
What Bolaños has done is an exercise in establishing a comparison between the Holy See and the Government of Spain in that “we are inspired by the same values of dialogue, solidarity, helping those who have the most difficulties. Those values that the Pope has transferred me are those who inspire the work of the Government”.
The Minister of the Presidency has presented the pontiff with an illuminated copy of an excerpt from the Cantigas de Santa María, which are songs dedicated to the Virgin and performed on the desk of King Alfonso X, who is credited with promoting the School of Translators of Toledo, expression of the coexistence of the three monotheistic religions. The reproduction has been carried out by students of the National Heritage Artistic Bookbinding Workshop School, created for the job placement of unemployed young people.
He has also presented him with products from the Spanish countryside: saffron from Villafranca de los Caballeros (La Mancha Designation of Origin), two bottles of olive oil from two cooperatives in Jaén and bananas grown on the island of La Palma, as a gesture of recognition before the Holy Father for the exemplary behavior and solidarity of the people of La Palma during the eruption of the volcano.
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