Gaztelueta, the case (re)opened: what will happen now?

“Fix the responsibility and help heal the wounds.” With these words, Pope Francis instructed the Bishop of Teruel, José Antonio Satue, to instruct the canonical process on the so-called “Gaztelueta case”. The pontiff’s decision, reported by, means the re-opening of a falsely closed procedure within the Church, which ended in civil justice with the conviction for pederasty of Leioa, a teacher at the Opus Dei school in Bizkaia. But the measure has been met with concern by the wider church sector, who fear it is the first step in a revision of other similar processes of the past.

Gaztelueta’s case is a peculiar one, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Bergoglio ordered to investigate in 2014, suddenly closed and did not allow the victim or her lawyers to participate in the process. He claimed the lack of evidence and even demanded to “restore the good name of the falsely accused professor”.

The teacher, José María Martínez Sanz, who was finally convicted by the Provincial Court of Bizkaia for continuous sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 11. The sentence was later upheld by the Supreme Court, but reduced to two years because some practices could not be sufficiently proven. However, neither Rome nor Opus Dei changed their position. Nor did they apologize to the victim, despite repeated requests from the family.

Now, with a letter dated August 12 and signed by Pope Francis, the eternal plea of ​​the victim’s family has become official. Thus the pontiff informed him that he had ordered the case to be reopened, the court and its members to be appointed. In addition to the Bishop of Teruel, the commission will be composed of José Luis Perucha Rojo, Rector of the Seminary of the Diocese of Siguenza-Guadalajara, who will act as notary. As advisors, UPSA Rector Mirian Cortes Dieguez and Jerez Vicar General Federico Mantaras Ruiz-Berdejo.

What will be your mission? “It will start from scratch, although what was done, what was not done and, above all, who did it and how, will be taken into account,” said sources close to the process, which they claim “must be completely overhauled.” The same sources emphasize the Pope’s intention to “clear responsibility” for the mistakes made in the previous phase. In fact, they explain that for the moment the work will be similar to the work of an investigating judge, but if necessary, the convicted pedophile will not only be tried by civil justice, but “the actions of all participants will be considered.” ” . Also from Opus Dei. And also, if necessary, Cardinals Müller or Ladaria, former prefect and prefect, respectively, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

A thesis that shocks A concise statement Published this Thursday by the prelature of Opus Dei, the paper ensures that the process is only aimed at “the former teacher of the Gaztelueta school, convicted in 2018 by the Court of Biscay of sexually abusing a student” and not all those involved, directly or indirectly, in the process.

In said statement, the paper devotes two of its six points to recalling that “in 2020 the Supreme Court reduced the sentence from eleven to two years in prison, citing “insufficient evidence and evaluative discourse” in the process, noting that “in 2015, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith conducted an investigation that ended in the professor’s innocence . However, the note adds that “the professor requested the transfer of the interested media to his lawyer in order to avoid the interference of third parties in the open ecclesiastical and civil processes.”

The teacher, for his part, published another letter in which he expressed his uncertainty about “how such (canonical) proceedings can be initiated against a layman” but showed his “willingness to cooperate with the competent authorities”. “I will not stop repeating my innocence, if you want to listen to me,” insists the member of Obra Martínez Sanz, insisting that he can receive any official communication informing me of the process and its guarantees. In this sense, it would not be strange to see two different versions of the whole process, that product and protecting teachers who have decided to take different paths.

From now on, the investigation will begin at the request of the Pope and within the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Bilbao. An issue that is not accidental, because it is in the diocese where the abuses took place and where the school of work is located. Therefore, they were not the Bishop of Teruel, José Antonio Satue, nor the Episcopal Conference, nor the Holy See. Those who officially communicated the Pope’s decision “to order the instructions of the canonical process”, but José Segura, as the bishop of Bilbao..

It is he who must inform the members of the commission on behalf of Francisco, whose role has not yet been determined, although everything indicates that it will be related to the analysis of the cases and the actions of the protagonists. “This process aims to cleanse the responsibilities and heal the wounds,” concludes the note of the Diocese of Bilbao, which makes clear the two main goals and destroys the intention of the work to leave the entire protagonist to the condemned teacher.

“Refining responsibility and healing wounds” involves two processes. First, determine who or what should be held accountable for actions that are illegal and contrary to canon law. Secondly, to end, of course, the “wounds” of the victim, who has so far only received an apology from the diocese, but not from the school (which considers his former teacher innocent), nor from the abuser (who reiterates his innocence), nor from Opus Dei, whose family belonged to. A letter from Prelate Ocaris to Juan Cuatrecasas confirms.

what will happen then First of all, there is the creation of the commission and the distribution of work, which will be carried out in two ways: on the one hand, the analysis of the documentation and the procedure (how it was received and what were the guarantees); On the other hand, testimonials. It seems clear that both the victim and the perpetrator will be called to testify – before Satue, of course, in his capacity as a notary at Perucha’s company – in a procedure in which, unlike before, the parties will have lawyers. Availability of documentation and support for its users.

When the time comes, the instructors can interrogate both Silverio Nieto, who is responsible for the victim’s testimony, which his family has always denied, as well as those responsible for the Gasteloeta school or the work supervisors in Spain. The development of events could lead to the presence of the previous bishop of Bilbao, Mario Iseta, and the current one, José Segura, and if necessary, although this possibility is more remote, the technicians of the doctrine of the faith.

Taking into account all the information, the court will decide whether to request the Holy See to open a canonical trial, to file a trial, or to consider that a decision can be made through an investigation. What seems clear, and in this way he was able to verify this means of different engagements, is that the Pope’s intention is the same as that seen at the end of José Segura’s statement: “Fix the responsibility and heal the wounds that have occurred.” .

For this, a process of listening, participation and empathy with those who (with the Supreme Court’s final decision in hand) are victims of violence is a necessary condition. And also with whom (according to the final decision of the Supreme Court) has been convicted of violence against minors. The goal is the search for canonical truth. Because legal is already clear.

All information is included

Source: El Diario





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