Catholic Church in fresh scandal involving money-spinning baby-trafficking in Spain

Catholic Church in fresh scandal involving money-spinning baby-trafficking in Spain October 18, 2011

FRESH revelations about the Catholic Church’s involvement in a host of human rights abuses in Spain under Franco’s dictatorship and even later  have surfaced in the last week, causing outrage in a country fast distancing itself from its Catholic past.
The latest scandal centres on baby-trafficking by Church, government officials and clinics over several decades. As many as 300,000 babies may have been the victims of a practise that saw infants taken from “morally or economically deficit” parents and sold to couples deemed more acceptable.
The scandal was the subject three days ago of a BBC report by Katya Adler, who gained access to a right-wing Catholic doctor, Eduardo Vella, said to have been complicit in the money-spinning business. Dr Vella stands accused of telling women that their babies had died when they hadn’t, and handing over the infants to other couples for cash. The elderly doctor genially welcomed Adler to his home in Madrid, thinking that she was a patient, but when she revealed she was a BBC correspondent, he turned hostile. Adler reported:

Dr Vella grabbed a metal crucifix standing on his desk. He moved towards me, branding it in my face. ‘Do you know what this is?’ he said, brandishing it in my face. ‘I have always acted in his name, always for the good of the children and to protect the mothers. Enough!’

Enrique Vila is a Spanish lawyer representing people who believe they or their children were stolen. Photograph: Paul White/AP
According to this report, no one really knows for sure how many of these cases exist. Enrique Vila, a Barcelona lawyer who specializes in adoptions, estimates there might be as many as 300,000, about 15 percent of the total adoptions that took place in Spain between 1960 and 1989. At the moment, more than 900 cases are being investigated by regional prosecutors across the country. That amount is increasing every month.
The Spanish Confederation of Religious Orders, a prominent Catholic organization, has declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation. But a spokesperson added that the cases are “very unpleasant” and hope that the full weight of the law is applied to the perpetrators “whether they were members of a religious order or not.”
Despite the staggering numbers and the fact that these cases are spread across Spain, prosecutors say they don’t believe it was a “baby mafia,” but a macabre business involving public and private hospitals, doctors, nurses, midwives and even nuns who wanted to make money.
Typically, doctors and nuns would tell mothers their babies had been born dead, or that they had died shortly after birth. Then they would sell the newborns to adoptive parents and forge all official documents. After being told their newborns died, mothers would usually request to see their children, but doctors and midwives would deter them.
The Guardian reported that a Madrid clinic that closed in the 1980s after being investigated for its role in illegal adoptions, the Clinica San Ramón, is at the centre of the allegations. Journalists found a baby’s corpse in a fridge, leading to rumours that bodies were kept to show parents who doubted their own child had died. A former clinic employee recently confirmed that babies were illegally given up for adoption.
Hat tip: Angela K, Darren & Bob


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  • The Woggler

    And here’s another example of the power of religion.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-14406818

  • Ivan

    What is it with the RC Church and children? When they’re not raping them and covering it up they’re stealing them and selling them.

  • DC

    There’s also a documentary about this on BBC2 at 9pm tonight.
    I understand that graves (of the supposed dead babies) were exhumed and found to contain animal bones or empty coffins! Sick!
    The BBC have put a more detailed account on it’s website in the last hour:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15335899

  • AgentCormac

    And yet the church will survive almost as if none of this happened. Yet again it will be swept under the carpet and conveniently forgotten. It is quite unbelievable how ‘the faithful’ will turn a blind eye to the incredible evil its supposed morally superior adherents will perpetrate.

  • Daz

    If any organisation other than a church was found to have acted the way the RCC has, between this and the countless cover-ups of child abuse, it would have had its assets frozen and would be under investigation by the UN and countless national police forces to see just how much, and what else, it had done. Why on Earth are we still waiting for these things to come to light via private citizens, and then only investigating the specific crime? Fucking sick.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    This vile organisation is involved in just about every crime going…..and yet there are still those who think it is the font of all morality. What will it take to open their eyes and get them to see this disgusting criminal gang for what they really are?

  • Ivan

    @AgentCormack
    “It is quite unbelievable how ‘the faithful’ will turn a blind eye to the incredible evil its supposed morally superior adherents will perpetrate.”
    Yup. See here:
    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=607609

  • DC

    Graham,
    This story made me wonder how I would have felt back in my Catholic days (I assure you I am now fully recovered). I can hear myself saying that the nuns and doctors were only doing what they thought best. That they were actually saving the souls of the babies from the heathens, giving them to catholics therefore SAVING the children! Any chance of saving a soul from eternal damnation is a good thing.
    My family are all still fundie catholics. I brought up the ‘breeding for Jesus’ story with my sister. That in India, the Catholic Church will give financial award on giving birth to the fifth child. Her response ‘how wonderful that the church is helping the large poor families’.. When I pointed out that the motivation was to encourage procreation and not help, she simply refuses to believe it.

  • DC

    Ivan,
    I am ashamed (not really) to say I once trolled a Catholic Chat room being a mother that had just thrown her 14 year old son onto the street after he had come out as being gay.
    I got private messages telling me that disowning my son was the only thing I could do. There were also supportive messages, but they had to agree with my decision after I quoted the relevant bible passages. I even got a message from an elderly priest who was willing to fly from Cork in Ireland all the way to Brighton to meet with my son and advise him on spiritual matters. What a nice chap.

  • barriejohn

    Bishops in breathtaking blackmarket baby bonus betrayal

  • barriejohn

    This World: BBC2 at 9.00pm
    Spain’s Stolen Babies
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016d7hz

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    @Ivan;
    The comments on that link are unbelievable, these people really are blind and deaf to the horrors of their church. There is absolutely nothing that will sway their belief in the mess that is their church.

  • remigius

    I hope they didn’t sell any of the stolen babies to same-sex couples. That would be immoral.

  • AgentCormac

    Ivan
    Nauseous, isn’t it? I got shut out of that forum (or one very like it) for trying to post comments that merely stated the facts. They weren’t interested and the site kept mysteriously vanishing off my screen whenever I tried to leave another comment. Feckin’ fascists.

  • Har Davids

    They’re just scared shit-less, God knows best and him being absent at the time we’ll make do with the local representatives, with its HQ in Rome. And if you turn your back on this organisation, what then? You may have to start using your brains!!

  • Don

    Ivan, those comments show that some will stop their ears to anything which disturbs their certainty. Fortunately we see all over Europe that their numbers are dwindling. The very real power the church had is slipping through their fingers.

  • barriejohn

    More “disbelief”:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44910514
    Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has requested prayers for “the victims of misconduct as well as for Msgr. Brady.”

  • Don

    I know there is a technical term for this, but I can’t recall what it is.
    When you have invested so much in a belief that a cognitive block stops you from seeing that you were mistaken, however obvious it may be to outsiders. Rather like the 419 scam.
    Anyone know the term?

  • JohnMWhite

    Cognitive dissonance, I think, Don.
    Words fail me with this story. I wonder how long it will be before Ratzinger comes out with an ill-advised deflection that he pretends is some sign of contrition with a hope to stop people talking about it.

  • JohnMWhite

    Speaking of cognitive dissonance – from that Catholic forum:
    “Also, what about human trafficking? It’s the fastest growing illegal trade here, and is a bigger problem than drug trading. Why is this never covered?”
    This said by someone who is also complaining about the news being full of politically incorrect rubbish, like, presumably, the theft and selling of children. What’s another term for that, now…?
    Honestly, it’s like their brains aren’t even switched on. So many of these hateful, shrill, angry little cowards appear to have no real sense of self awareness. It’s frightening that something could do that to human beings who otherwise function.

  • barriejohn

    I asked on here because people seem to have more knowledge on these subject than the media. I don’t wan’t to just trust the reports, because like the sexual abuse scandals, the the facts probably won’t be given.
    Hahahahaha!!!!!!

  • Don

    No, it was a bit more specific than that, John. Although clearly a sub-set. One of those ‘Argumentum ad…’ terms.

  • Mike Hails

    The Catholic Church is full of scum, paedophiles, child stealers and more. I would not EVER trust them. Shameful and UNforgiveable and probably still going on now.

  • Pope Evil, supported by mother Mary Evil, assistance from jesus Evil and his god awful dad. Moses evil along with Mo Evil, representing the muzzies and not forgetting Abraham Evil and his deciples. It’s a CONspiracy and it’s taken a while but bit by bit, piece by piece the truth about catholic inc. and their fantasy cohorts is being revealed. The Irish, the Polish and most ‘specially the Spanish are all realising that their countries have been controlled by an evil con and are weeding the catholics and the nefarious brethren out of their position of privilage in their societies. There’s lots more to do but it has started. As more malicious actions are revealed and they will be, the church and their fraudulent nonsense will be consigned to a deep cave somewhere and forgotten.

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  • Broga

    Just back from Brighton and because of the reason for my visit this theft of babies story hit me particularly hard. I am, all being well, about to become a grandparent later this year for the first time. I saw the preparations, the kindness of people in giving items they no longer needed, the happy anticipation of the parents to be. Then I read this tale of malignant religiosity and I ponder on the effect on new parents, and particularly the mother, being lied to that their baby had died.
    The theft and lies about these babies is cruelty in its most extreme form. Vicious, pitiless and devoid of all compassion. Meanwhile, and in the UK, the agents of this criminal gang of priests are still welcomed on the BBC and given the freedom to continue to spread their toxic influence.

  • barriejohn

    Broga back bringing Brighton baby bulletin

  • Broga

    @barriejohn. Both parents to be are atheists, same with grandparents. If the parents had been RCs, muslims, Hindus or whatever then the child would start the same way. Makes a strong argument for nurture and not religious “truth” or revelation.
    I like Brighton and its parks, nearness to the Downs and the opportunity for long walks along the sea front. Terrific Thai restaurant. Better stop mentioning Brighton. I’ll be making Barry Duke homesick. Although he does seem to have achieved a happy transplant to Spain.

  • Carasek

    @Ivan – I noticed on your forum link that there were a lot of irate Catholics with their heads in the sand ahead of the broadcast, but they were somewhat quieter afterwards. Probably just working out a way to either deny the (seemingly true) allegations, or more likely biding their time to come up with some more excuses.
    Is there a country in the world where the RC Church hasn’t first caused, then tried to cover up the most extreme examples of abuse and suffering towards children and their families? Raping children, trafficking babies, spreading misinformation about HIV/AIDS and condoms, demonising homosexuals… and that little list is just the recent stuff! I guess the suspension of rational thought and a wilful misreading of the facts lends itself well not only to religion, but also to defending atrocities by the religious.
    This plague on humanity needs a cure: sunlight is the first disinfectant (bravo to the investigators in these cases), but sometimes you just have to cut out the infection. Hit the RC Church where it hurts: lock up their criminals and sue for every last blood-stained gold coin in the Vatican.