President Marcelo's personal opinion highlighted by CNN Portugal

Public Ministry opens 10 inquiries following allegations of child sex abuse in Portugal’s Catholic Church

With new outrage focusing on blind eye turned by Lisbon’s Cardinal Patriarch

The Public Ministry has already opened 10 inquiries into allegations of child sex abuse within Portugal’s Catholic Church. 

The inquiries follow witness statements taken by the independent commission set up to investigate such abuses in the light of renewed pressure powered by Pope Francis himself. 

Coincidentally, this week has also seen a new ‘controversy’ blow up, in that the Vatican is understood to have known about an alleged pedophile priest in Lisbon who remained nonetheless in the service of the Church for another 30 years

Even Lisbon’s Cardinal Patriarch, D. Manuel Clemente is described as having heard of the priest’s alleged activity, from the man who claims to be a victim (now in his 40s), but chose not to act on the information

Meantime, the priest continued not only in his functions as a priest, but as a leader of a private association that cared for families, teenagers and children.

To add to the unsettling taste of this story President Marcelo has said that he doesn’t consider that Church leaders involved in this episode can be criticised for having “wanted to hide the practice of a crime”.

Not so commentators in the media. “If the Catholic Church was a democratic institution, there would be only two ways forwards for the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon”, writes Paulo João Santos in Correio da Manhã today. “He would resign, or be sacked. No Catholic can fail to feel ashamed with the episode of the priest suspected of pedophilia who D. Manuel Clemente protected, not denouncing him to the authorities as was his obligation.

“The argument that rules established by Pope Francis came after the conversation that he had with the victim, and as such do not apply in this case, is an offence”.

Paulo João Santos’ commentary alludes to “some bishops in the Church” actually believing it is the Commission that is at fault in this story, not the Lisbon Patriarch, as details of this alleged abuseshould never have been made public”.

“Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do”, the leader writer concludes.

Observador also has carried this story, tweeting: “The Patriarch of Lisbon received a complaint of abuses and met with the victim. But he kept the priest in functions and did not communicate the case to the police.”

According to the online’s text: “The action of the Patriarch of Lisbon contradicts both the current internal rules of the Catholic Church for this type of situation, which determine the communication of all cases to civil authorities, as well as the repeated appeals made either by the independent commission, led by psychiatrist Pedro Strecht, or by the Judicial Police, so that all cases, even those that have already prescribed at the judicial level, are communicated to authorities, since the probability of repetition of this type of crimes over time is considerably high”.

The very long text sees Observador conclude that “the details of this story raise serious doubts as to the performance of the Patriarch of Lisbon at different moments”.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com