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The Portuguese Catholic Church under Scrutiny for Sexual Abuse

  • May 2022

In January 2022, an independent commission was created to investigate sexual abuse against children and adolescents that has occurred since 1950 in the Portuguese Catholic Church (darvozaosilencio.org).

The Commission was created at the invitation of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP). It is constituted by a group of five people from different professional areas: Pedro Strecht – Doctor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Ana Nunes de Almeida - Sociologist; Daniel Sampaio - Psychiatrist; Álvaro Laborinho Lúcio - Counsellor judge and writer; Filipa Tavares - Social Worker.

The commission has studied cases dating back to 1950, so some questions have been raised in the public debate about the cooperation of the Catholic Church in this process, namely because it is up to the bishops of each diocese to decide whether or not to provide access to the archives. It is recalled that in 2019 some bishops initially refused to create commissions for the protection of minors in their dioceses (bishops of Porto, Lamego and Santarém). This situation was later overcome.

Three months after the start of its activity, the independent commission had already gathered 326 valid witnesses, 16 of whom were referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office since the facts were not time-barred. In December 2022, a full report on this reality will be presented.

D 25 May 2022    AHelena Vilaça AMaria João Oliveira

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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