Yahoo.com, Madrid (AFP) — Spain’s Catholic Church, which has long been accused of silencing cases of priests sexually abusing children, is starting to take a hard line against offenders, spurred by Pope Francis. A judge in the southern city of Granada on Tuesday charged 10 priests and two Catholic lay workers with sexually abusing altar boys in their care, or being complicit in such acts, from 2004 to 2007. It is the biggest and most serious paedophilia case involving members of the Catholic Church known so far in Spain.
The case was brought to light by a former altar boy, now 25 and a member of the Catholic institution Opus Dei, who wrote to the pontiff to say he had been molested. Pope Francis called the unidentified man to offer the Church’s apology and in November the pontiff said he had ordered a church investigation into the case, saying it had caused him “great pain”. The young man who wrote to the pope “never imagined the issue would take on the significance that it did,” his lawyer, Jorge Aguilera Gonzalez, told AFP. “If it wasn’t for the pope’s intervention, it would still have been an important issue, but just one of many.”
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