Sexual abuse tarnishes the image of the church in Portugal

The contents in the “archives” were created and posted by the previous owners of this website. We are not responsible for any misleading or incorrect content that is posted here.

LISBON (AP) — Cases of sexual abuse by priests have cast a shadow over Portugal’s Catholic Church and clouded even top officials, while authorities struggle to explain why a bishop who received the Nobel Peace Prize was protected at the center of the allegations.

Over the weekend, church leaders apologized for decades of alleged abuses and cover-ups – the number of cases is estimated at around 400 – and the Archbishop of Lisbon implored believers not to lose faith in the church.

“Trust that we, on our part, will do our best to uphold the law and the gospel,” Archbishop Manuel Clemente said after Sunday Mass.

The spotlight fell on Portuguese church authorities and the Vatican last week when the Holy See’s Anti-Sexual Abuse Department confirmed a version in the Dutch press that they were secretly imposing sanctions in 2020 on Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, the revered independence leader of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony in East Asia. Belo, who lives in Portugal, received the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize.

Complaints against the Church in Portugal have continued to mount in recent days, just as the institution prepares for next year’s World Youth Day in Lisbon. Pope Francis is expected to attend the event, an important date on the Catholic calendar.

Portugal’s attorney general confirmed Monday to The Associated Press that the president of the country’s bishops’ conference, Bishop José Ornelas, is under investigation over allegations that he has covered up abuse by priests in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony.

Ornelas, who directs the famous shrine to the Virgin of Fatima, has denied any wrongdoing and has promised to cooperate in the investigation, but the affair has increased pressure on Portuguese church authorities.

Ornelas traveled to Italy over the weekend for a private meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The Holy See has not released any details of this meeting.

The trip comes two months after Lisbon’s Archbishop Clemente visited the Pope amid a spate of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and cover-ups by Portuguese Catholic leaders.

The scandals come amid revelations by a secular commission that has been investigating historic cases of church sex abuse in Portugal. Since January, the panel has uncovered around 400 suspected cases. So far, the Portuguese Church had stated that it was only aware of a few cases.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *