Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
According to what was said yesterday, in the 70’s of our past century two conferences about criminology were celebrated in Jerusalem and in Frankfurt. The best specialists in the world met and made an important decision. Criminology has had an evolution over the centuries; first it focused on crime, later on the criminal, and nowadays it should focus on the victim. A new science different from criminology was born: victimology.
Among the participants the Jesuit Antonio Beristain partook. He is a criminology professor and a specialist on the new science of the victims. The little I know I owe it to his books and to several telephone conversations and mails, due to an article I wrote against the terrorist group ETA “La cruz ensangrentada” (“The bloodstained cross”) and a short dissertation against Basque bishops which should have never come into existence (“Los muertos siempre vuelven”/ ”The dead always come back”). Despite the constant death threats by ETA and his confrontations with his bishop, my teacher never gave up, as He always demanded justice and redress of the victims.
One of the common principles among criminologists says:” “in dubio pro reo” (en caso de duda a favor del reo/ in case of doubt in favour of the convict), Mr Antonio extended it to “in dubio pro victima” (en caso de duda a favor de la víctima/ in case of doubt in favour of the victim). The consequences of the new science didn´t take long and in 1985 the UN issued a statement on the victims, continuation of Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. We can find the definition of victim in it:
A.- Victims of Crime
1.”Victims” means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within Member States, including those laws proscribing criminal abuse of power.
2. A person may be considered a victim, under this Declaration, regardless of whether the perpetrator is identified, apprehended, prosecuted or convicted and regardless of the familial relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. The term “victim” also includes, where appropriate, the immediate family or dependants of the direct victim and persons who have suffered harm in intervening to assist victims in distress or to prevent victimization.
3. The provisions contained herein shall be applicable to all, without
distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, age, language, religion, nationality, political or other opinion, cultural beliefs or practices, property, birth or family status, ethnic or social origin, and disability.
Church understood from the beginning the importance of poor people for the followers of Christ. Its collaboration has been huge throughout centuries and still is. On the contrary, just until recently it refused to recognise that our institution was able to generate victims, with disastrous consequences caused, especially for the victims, and for the people of God, as we can verify day after day in the press.
In view of this painful situation I suggest:
In which for the first time-as I am aware-three kinds of abuses towards the victims have been recognised: sexual abuse, abuse of power and of conscience.
-To read whenever you can and to take a good look at the four versions of the Passion of Christ in the Gospels, with an eye in your own suffering and the other one in the victims of the world.
-To include this new paradigm to the writings by Teresa about the cross, unknown in her times.
(Photo El País 10.3.22)