The activists say the policy
has not been carried out in the
Local group Church Without
Abuses (“Iglesia sin Abusos”)
and the global organisations
Ending Clergy Abuse and BishopAccountability.org joined
forces in Buenos Aires on
Thursday to urge Francis to return to his homeland of Argentina – which he hasn’t visited
since becoming pope in 2013 –
to ensure the Catholic Church
punishes these crimes and does
not protect perpetrators.
“If the Pope cannot end abuses and cover-ups in Argentina, he will not be able to do it
anywhere else. This is where
he has more power, influence,
it is symbolically the most important country in the fight
against abuse in the world,”
Peter Isely, the co-founder of
Ending Clergy Abuse and abuse victim, told The Associated
Press news agency.
Isley and representatives of
other activist groups gathered
near the Monsignor Mariano
Espinosa Home for Priests (El
Hogar Sacerdotal Monseñor
Mariano Espinosa) in Caballito, displaying signs calling for
zero tolerance for sex abuses.
A local priest accused of committing abuse had previously
been housed there.
Pope Francis is on record as
describing abuse as a “monstrosity” and previously vowed
to tackle the problem “with the
utmost seriousness.” Isley said
he was not doing enough.
“In February, the Pope declared a war against abuses to
be open, calling the abusive
priests ‘bloodthirsty wolves.’
But what is happening in his
own country?” Isley added, saying the pontiff “has not been
on the side of the victims.”
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the online resource
that while in other countries
thousands of cases of abuse
have been detected, in Argentina almost no criminal investigations or litigation have
been seen. There is no official
registry collating judicial complaints about abuses committed by members of the clergy in
“In his 14 years as archbishop
of Buenos Aires he only sent two
allegations to the Vatican regarding sexual abuse in his diocese,” said Barrett Doyle.
“We ask the Church to stop
covering up [the crimes], and to
turn them [the perpetrators]
over to justice,” said the co-founder of Church Without Abuses,
Julieta Añasco, 47, who abused
in her childhood by a priest.
The Associated Press compiled a list of 66 priests, nuns and
other religious workers who,
between 2001 and 2017, were
accused of abusing dozens of
people, most of them children.
The figure was obtained from
victims’ testimonies, judicial
and ecclesiastical documents,
and local media reports corroborated with the BishopAccountability.org database. In several
cases there were no canonical or
The AP tried to reach the
head of the Argentine Synod,
Óscar Ojea, but he was not available because he was preparing
to travel to the Vatican.
Ojea said in documents released when he returned from a
conference on the protection of
minors held in February in Rome that the meeting “sensitized
us into making being on the
side of the victims our top priority” and to “discard all forms