On the first day of his visit, there are plenty of voices in Spain calling for Pope Benedict XVI to go home. A number of groups were in Santiago de Compostela to protest, ranging from anti-child abuse activists to gay rights campaigners, and women’s groups.
It is the Church’s recent tortuous negotiation of sex scandals in several countries and what some claim is the Pope’s refusal to confront the problem that have raised the most anger.
“There is a rigid defence position, arguing that every reported case is attacking the clerical institution, but it actually does not, unless that clerical institution defends pederasty,” said “Iglesia Sin Abusos” co-founder Carlos Sanchez Mato.
He ran bible classes at a Madrid school when he heard allegations that children were being abused there. He and others set up “Iglesia Sin Abusos”, a secular organisation to defend children’s rights and to encourage victims to come forward and press for convictions for criminal priests.