Sex scandal rocks Portugal Catholic church

Published February 14th, 2023 - 11:35 GMT
The top of a basilica is pictured in Lisbon
The top of a basilica is pictured in Lisbon on February 13, 2023. Catholic clergy in Portugal have abused nearly 5,000 children since 1950, an independent commission said on February 13, 2023, announcing its findings after hearing hundreds of victim accounts. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

ALBAWABA - A sex scandal sent jitters across the Catholic Church in Portugal as an independent commission revealed Monday that nearly 5,000 minors were sexually abused, mostly by priests, since 1950.  

News of the sexual abuse drew commentary and postings and is likely to have far-reaching ramifications on the Catholic Church in Europe and elsewhere.

The commission revealed its shocking findings through a published document after hearing from 500 people who were directly interviewed and calculated that at least 4,815 victims were subject to sexual abuse, commission head Pedro Strecht told a press conference in Lisbon.

The conference was attended by several senior Church officials.

He said 77 percent of the perpetrators were allegedly priests and that most of the victims were men.

He pointed out that the abuse allegedly took place in Catholic schools, priests' homes and confessionals, among other locations.

The Portuguese inquiry was ordered after a multitude of clergy sex abuse cases that came to light in the world and several inquiries launched in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The six-member Portuguese commission opened the probe in January 2022 following a report in France showed that around 3,000 priests and religious officials sexually abused 216,000 children.

Pope Francis, who is visiting Portugal in August, is likely to meet some of the men who were allegedly abused and who were named in the report. 

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