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Spain moves closer to investigation into child sex abuse within Catholic Church

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By Euronews
Crosses and an image of Pope John Paul II hang inside a Church, on the outskirts of Madrid.
Crosses and an image of Pope John Paul II hang inside a Church, on the outskirts of Madrid.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza, File

Spain has moved a step closer to investigating allegations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

On Tuesday, the Spanish parliament agreed to examine a proposal for an inquiry, after years without a large-scale probe.

The Spanish Catholic Church has so far refused to set up an independent commission, despite acknowledging more than 200 existing abuse claims over the past twenty years.

A separate 2018 report by El País has listed 1,246 victims of sexual violence by the Church since the 1930s.

The request for an investigation was made by Podemos -- a coalition partner -- as well as smaller left-wing pro-independence parties.

Meanwhile, Spain's Attorney General's Office has asked the country's 17 senior prosecutors to refer all complaints about sexual abuse in the Church within the next ten days.

The move to centralise all open cases is another unprecedented step towards an official investigation.

Unlike other countries -- such as France, Germany, and Ireland -- Spain has failed to officially examine claims of paedophilia against members of the Catholic Church.

The parliament proposal for an inquiry will soon be voted on -- with a date yet to be set.

"We are going to do it, and we are going to do it well," government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez told a press conference on Tuesday, adding that the executive was looking for "the best possible solution".

Additional sources • AFP