eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • November 2014 : Sexual abuse in Granada

Currently, Spain is witnessing a strong and vivid controversy about pedophilia within the Catholic Church. In 2014, a 24-year old teacher from a Catholic school in the North of Spain, victim of sexual abuses committed over more than 4 years by priests while he was studying in a Catholic school in Granada (Andalusia), sent a letter to the Pope explaining his case. The Pope contacted him directly by telephone in August and asked him to apologize the whole Church of Christ for the pain he suffered. He also told him that the Vatican had taken action to fight the situation and contacted the diocese to ask for collaboration with the investigation. The Pope also encouraged him to bring the case to the regular judicial system.

Now the case is under police and court investigation. 12 people, among which laypersons and priests, are been investigated. 10 priests have been removed from their duties. 4 people have been arrested so far and the Archdiocese is collaborating by providing the names of potential witnesses. Since the case has become public, the Archdiocese of Granada is investigating four more files, which have also been sent to the Vatican.

The case is very recent but is increasingly present in the media. The public debate about pedophilia within the Catholic Church is not as widespread in Spain as it can be in other countries. However, other issues had already put the Catholic Church under the spotlights in the last years : the collaboration of nuns with the stealing of babies during the Franco regime, or the pressures on the Government concerning the law on abortion. This new question thus contributes in putting the Catholic Church and its hierarchy at the center of the attention.

  • March 2014 : The discovery of the Spanish medieval past

The medieval Jewish past of some Spanish villages and cities is increasingly the focus of public and political attention. Local governments have discovered the economic potential of their Jewish ‘heritage’, and are thus increasingly promoting it for touristic purposes. Two initiatives stand out in the touristification of the Jewish past in Spain : the Red de Juderías de EspañaCaminos de Sefarad and the Xarxa de Calls de Catalunya (officially approved by the Catalan Government in 2013). These two networks bring together most of the Spanish and Catalan cities that have a medieval Jewish neighborhood, in order to promote them as touristic destinations.

This tourism to Jewish sites, such as old cemeteries, the juderías or calls (Jewish neighborhoods), is addressed not only to local and national tourists, but increasingly to international tourists, particularly those coming from Israel. In the last years, some regional and local governments in Spain have signed agreements to foster the tourism from that country. Moreover, new travel agencies, shops, and restaurants that offer services concerning the Jewish heritage have been created recently, particularly in Barcelona.

D 14 novembre 2014    AJulia Martínez-Ariño

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