Pedro Almodovar Reveals Priest Abuse
The Oscar-winning director made the claims in an intimate interview with the Italian edition of Vanity Fair.
Speaking about his time at a Catholic school run by priests, Almodovar said: “There was a lot of abuse in the school, especially among the younger children. I remember at least 20 children who were harassed.
“They also tried it with me but I always escaped. There was a priest who always put his hand on me in the playground so I would kiss it, I never did it, I always ran away. We were very scared.”
Almodovar, 69, also expressed his anger that the culprits were never punished: “The rumours of abuse passed through the walls of the school and as the cases were so concrete and numerous, the management of the Salesianos (religious order) had to intervene.
“And what did they do? They sent the culprits to a boarding school for teenages, with no punishment.”
The director said he asked a priest for help but he was recommended not to comment on the situation to anyone else and was asked for “understanding”.
The BAFTA winner said he does not think Pope Francis is not doing enough against sexual abuse in the church, saying: “I do not know if the Pope is carrying out a revolution or if he is doing nothing. What I do know is he is not doing enough. Not only against the abuse, but also with everything surrounding the sexuality of priests.”
He added that he thinks ending the celibacy of priests would see cases of abuse drop by “90 percent”.
Almodovar, who has worked with the likes of Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, said that the Catholic church considered women as “inferior beings with no rights” despite there currently being a “historic moment in which feminism is raising its head”.
He will present his latest film Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory), starring Banderas and Cruz, at the Cannes Film Festival next week.
The film deals with the topic of power and sexual abuse in Catholic schools, an experience he described as “horrible” in the interview.
His 1999 film ‘All About My Mother’ won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and in 2002 he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for ‘Talk to Her’.