Catholic Bishops of Spain's Assembly Approves Protocol for Abuse Prevention and Plans for New Project to Promote Vocations in the Church

The Spanish bishops have celebrated their 120th Plenary Assembly  at the headquarters of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE)  from November 21 to 25, 2022 . The new Secretary General, Monsignor Francisco César García Magán , reported at a press conference on Friday, November 25, about the work that has been carried out in this meeting. The vice secretary for economic affairs,  Fernando Giménez Barriocanal , has presented the budget of the Interdiocesan Common Fund and the EEC budget for 2023 . Access by clicking here )

Framework protocol for prevention and action in case of abuse and Guidelines for action in cases of sexual abuse against minors

The person in charge of the Coordination Service of the Child Protection Offices, Jesús Rodríguez Torrente, has presented to the Plenary the draft of a Framework Protocol for prevention and action in case of abuse . This Service has worked in recent months on the drafting of this document in collaboration and communication with the various Child Protection Offices of the dioceses, as well as the CONFER Offices.

The bishops have approved this Protocol and, additionally, Guidelines for action in cases of sexual abuse against minors that would be applied jointly in all the diocese.

Documents approved by the Plenary Assembly  

The Plenary Assembly has approved the document "Person, family and society" that analyzes the current situation of Spanish society . The bishops have incorporated some contributions to the text that will be introduced before its presentation.

The new catechism for adults "Seek the Lord" will also be presented after its edition, which already has the approval of the Plenary. The Episcopal Commission for Evangelization, Catechesis and Catechumenate has developed this new catechism focused on the catechumenate and the Christian reinitiation of adults. With its publication, the CEE completes the edition of its documents of faith.

This same Commission has worked, together with the Liturgy Commission, on the " Guidelines on the Instituted Ministries: Lector, Acolyte and Catechist" , also approved This document responds to the promulgation of Pope Francis  of the  Motu Proprio Spiritus Domini , of January 11, 2021, on the access of women to the instituted ministries, and of the  Motu Proprio  Antiquum ministerium , of May 10, 2021, by which the ministry of catechists is instituted. These Guidelines include a joint reflection on the application of both letters in the Church in Spain, since the first draft included the contributions of the dioceses after a consultation carried out by both Commissions. Subsequently, the indications of the bishops were introduced in the April Plenary and in the meetings of the Permanent Commission in June and September.

The translation into Basque of the Missal of the Virgin and the Lectionary of the Virgin presented by the Episcopal Commission for the Liturgy has also been approved  . The approval of these texts is part of the renewal process of the different rituals both in Spanish and in the different co-official languages.

Approval of the Compliance system for the Spanish Episcopal Conference

The Plenary Assembly has also approved the Compliance system for the Spanish Episcopal Conference . It is a manual of regulatory compliance and good practices adapted to the nature and identity of the EEC. This criminal regulatory compliance system has been developed by the Rich & Associates Law Firm, under the supervision of the Episcopal Council for Legal Affairs.

Information from the Episcopal Commissions

The director of the secretariat of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity, Family and Life, Luis Manuel Romero, has presented the proposal of this Commission to work on the First Announcement. A work with which it wants to give continuity to the current synodal process and to the post-congress of lay people "Pueblo de Dios en Salida", held in March 2020. In addition, it wants to offer as a service to the laity, both the secular apostolate, movements and associations, such as the synodal groups that have been created to work in the diocesan phase of the Synod.

The president of the Episcopal Commission for the Clergy and Seminaries, Monsignor Joan Enric Vives, has been in charge of bringing to the Plenary the modifications  of the norms on the Permanent Diaconate . He has also reported on the upcoming pastoral visit to the major seminaries in Spain.

The president of the Episcopal Commission for Education and Culture, Bishop Alfonso Carrasco, also spoke in the Plenary to explain the  current situation of Catholic education. And the president of the Episcopal Commission for Consecrated Life, Bishop Luis Ángel de las Heras , to report on the accompaniment of consecrated life in Spain by the bishops and the secretariat of this Commission.

The Episcopal Commissions for the Clergy and Seminaries; for Consecrated Life; for the Missions and Cooperation with the Churches; and for the Laity, Family and Life have indicated some work proposals for the Vocation Ministry service , after their approval in the April Plenary. This new project was born with the aim of promoting a vocational culture in the Church in Spain that helps children, young people and adults to consider their vocation. Thus, he assumes the task of organizing the  World Day of Prayer for Vocations . In addition, it has on its horizon the preparation of a National Congress of Vocations, with which to sensitize the entire Church and society about life as a vocation. 

Other items on the agenda

The Spanish bishops have learned these days how the preparations for the World Youth Day that Lisbon will host from August 1 to 6, 2023 are progressing, with the intervention of Mons. Américo Aguiar, president of the WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation. The Episcopal Subcommission for Youth and Children is already working with the Lisbon Local Organizing Committee and the Portuguese Episcopal Conference.

The bishops have also discussed the development of the Synod of Bishops, which begins its continental phase. And they have received information about the  Spanish Institute of Foreign Missions (IEME); the Court of the Rota ; and Apse (TRECE and COPE). The Episcopal Commissions, as usual, have presented their activities and work to the Plenary. Various follow-up issues have also been discussed.

On the subject of national associations, the modification of the statutes of Manos Unidas and Cáritas Española has been approved . In addition, they have approved the statutes of Spanish Nocturnal Adoration (ANE); of the “Hospitalarias” socio-health Foundation; the “Teresa Guash” Educational Foundation; of the educational Foundation “Love of God; and the “Ana María Janer” Educational Foundation.

Election of the Secretary General

The Plenary Assembly has elected the General Secretary of the EEC for the five-year period 2023-2027. On Tuesday afternoon, the Permanent Commission met  , which, according to the statutes, is responsible for proposing the candidates. The proposed names were: Bishop Francisco César García Magán , Bishop Arturo P. Ros Murgadas , and Fernando Giménez Barriocanal .

The following day, in the morning, the Plenary elected Bishop Francisco César García Magán as Secretary General , with 40 votes in the first ballot. Fernando Giménez had 14 votes and Bishop Arturo P. Ros, with 12. In addition, another 5 blank votes were added.

He replaces Monsignor  Luis Argüello García in office , who has submitted his resignation after being named Archbishop of  Valladolid last June .

New members of the Plenary and invited bishops from other Episcopal Conferences

Bishop Vicente Rebollo, Bishop of Tarazona, and Bishop Ernesto Jesús Brotóns , Bishop of Plasencia, participated in the Assembly for the first time Bishop Rebollo has joined the Episcopal Subcommittee for Cultural Heritage, within the Episcopal Commission for Education and Culture . Bishop Brotóns will form part of the Episcopal Commission for Social Pastoral and Human Promotion . 

Bishop Luis Argüello will continue on the Permanent Commission as Archbishop of Valladolid. In addition, he is going to be a member of the new Council of Studies and Projects of the CEE  and of the Vocational Pastoral Service , which has also recently been launched.

The Archbishop Emeritus of Oristano, Msgr. Ignazio Sanna , representing the Italian Episcopal Conference ; the Bishop of Gibraltar , Msgr. Carmel Zammit ; and the apostolic administrator of Tangier, Fray Emilio Rocha Grandez , OFM, representing the Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa  (CERNA).

opening session

At 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 21, the inaugural session began with a speech by the president, Cardinal Juan José Omella . His  first words from him were to thank the work of  Bishop Luis Argüello .   

The president of the EEC articulated his speech in three parts . He began by taking a brief look at the current situation  marked by the consequences of the pandemic, wars, and social, economic, and political instability. Faced with this reality, he made a call to work seamlessly for the common good. Later, he raised some urgent challenges  such as recovering the value of the family; accompany and support the suffering with actions; and care for and strengthen children, adolescents and young people. On this last point, he stopped to assess the implications of the new abortion law and the so-called “Trans Law” . Cardinal Omella devoted the third part of his speech to detailing What can the Church contribute in the current situation?

Next, the apostolic nuncio in Spain,  Msgr. Bernardito C. Auza , intervened , who also had "a word of deep gratitude" for the outgoing Secretary General. the family ; seminaries and vocations ; and the protection of minors and vulnerable people and the prevention of abuses are the three topics that he addressed in his greeting to the Plenary.  

Constitution of the Interdiocesan Common Fund and EEC Budgets for 2023

In the economic area, as usual in the November Plenary, the balance sheets and budget settlement for the year 2021 of the Interdiocesan Common Fund, the Spanish Episcopal Conference and the bodies that depend on it have been approved.

Two issues have also been approved, which are detailed below:

  • The constitution and distribution, the budget, of the  Interdiocesan Common Fund  for the year 2023. It is the system that distributes the tax allocation to the Spanish dioceses and other ecclesial realities.
  • The  budgets  for the year 2023 of the Spanish Episcopal Conference and the organizations that depend on it.

A. Budget of the Interdiocesan Common Fund for 2023

The Interdiocesan Common Fund is the instrument through which the distribution of the tax allocation to the Spanish dioceses and other ecclesial realities is channeled.

The Plenary Assembly of November 2022 has approved the Constitution and distribution of the Interdiocesan Common Fund for 2023 in the following terms.

Constitution of the fund (Resources or income)

The Interdiocesan Common Fund is constituted with the item corresponding to the Tax Assignment.

The amount to be effectively received from the Tax Assignment in 2023 is the sum of:

  • Payment on account for 2023. It is provided for 70% of the amount of the last final settlement, that is, 70% of €297,680,215 (IRPF 2020); total €208,376,150.
  • The liquidation of the result of the allocation campaign corresponding to the IRPF 2021, campaign 2022.

In accordance with the established mechanism for communication of the result of the allocation, at the date of preparing the budget, the data for the 2022 income campaign is not available, so an estimate must be made.

A little over 309 million euros has been established as a target amount, which represents a 4.9% increase compared to the initial budget of the previous year and a 4% more in relation to the final result of the IRPF 2020, campaign 2021.

The Plenary Assembly has approved that in the event that the final item undergoes important modifications, the Council of Economy can propose the appropriate adjustments to the Plenary Assembly of April 2023.


Distribution of the Fund (uses or expenses)

The distribution of the Interdiocesan Common Fund is carried out in two blocks: some items are executed and distributed by the Episcopal Conference for their respective purposes; the rest are sent to the dioceses for different concepts that measure their funding needs. This shipment is not a direct application of funds but rather a method of assessing needs. The amounts that each diocese receives are integrated into its diocesan budget to finance all the needs.

  • Shipping to the dioceses . Dioceses receive funds taking into account the following factors:

a. A linear amount. To meet minimal expenses and thus benefit the smallest dioceses

b. Modules depending on the priests. Some modules calculated based on the number of priests in each diocese and their total or partial dependence on the diocesan budget.

c. Pastoral care modules. These are modules that take into account the number of temples, the extension of the dioceses, the inhabitants and the average size of the parish.

d. Seminars. It is a distribution established by the Episcopal Commission of Seminaries based on the existence of study centers, libraries, vocational ministry, number of seminarians, etc.

and. Contribution to charitable activity (Caritas) . This contribution, which was approved on an extraordinary basis due to the 2009 crisis, has been approved to consolidate it as a permanent amount to be applied to charitable activity that each diocese will use for that purpose. Therefore, this is the first year in which this item is presented integrated by means of a specific module for this need in the amount sent to the Dioceses.

  • Clergy Social Security . Amount of the contributions paid to Social Security by the group of diocesan clergy. All diocesan clergy are quoted for the minimum interprofessional salary, in accordance with Royal Decree 2398/1977, of August 27, incorporating the diocesan clergy into Social Security. The Episcopal Conference makes the centralized payment on a quarterly basis.
  • Remunerations Bishops . Total amount used in the remuneration of all the Bishops of Spain. An estimate of the total number of Bishops is made.
  • It helps rehabilitation projects and construction of temples . This is a compensatory aid to Church entities for the loss of VAT exemption in the construction of temples. The Conference requests all construction projects and grants the amount corresponding to 50% VAT on new constructions and 25% on renovations.
  • Training centers . Total aid to different training institutions such as ecclesiastical faculties, UPSA, the Spanish College of Rome, the Montserrat Center in Rome and Casa de Santiago in Jerusalem.
  • National pastoral activities . This is an item to cover different projects approved by the Plenary Assembly each year.
  • Church Funding Campaigns . Amount to invest in the campaigns of the tax allocation and day of the diocesan Church.
  • Functioning of the Episcopal Conference . Contribution to the maintenance budget of the structure of the Episcopal Conference.
  • Pastoral activities abroad . It includes the contribution to the New Evangelization Fund and aid to the Episcopal Conferences of the Third World.
  • Religious Conference . Contribution to the general purposes of the CONFER.
  • insularity _ Help to offset specific transportation expenses of dioceses with insularity.
  • Institutions Holy See . Contribution to the Holy See (Pence of San Pedro) and to the maintenance of the Court of the Rota.
  • Fund to help the contemplative life. This is an item intended for specific aid to contemplative nuns. 
  • Transparency plan. This item serves to attend to the different programs of the Transparency Plan approved by the Episcopal Conference, such as the transparency office, the development and dissemination of the activity report, etc.
  • Ordinariate of the Eastern Churches. This item serves to cover the specific pastoral needs of the new ordinariate created by the Holy Father.


* This item, endowed in 2023 with 7 million euros, is included in the shipment to the dioceses, stating its special involvement for CARITAS or another specific charitable activity.

Budget of the Spanish Episcopal Conference for 2023

The budget of the Spanish Episcopal Conference is presented balanced in expenses and income. Items for Pastoral Activities are increased very slightly. The item for Personnel Expenses is increased to meet the provisions of labor regulations and the pastoral needs of the Conference. Conservation and supplies expenses are increased to adapt to what was actually done in previous years and taking into account the rise in the CPI in recent months.

The detail, according to the standard model for diocesan institutions, is as follows:



In general, the Episcopal Conference is not the recipient of funds from contributions from the faithful. When someone requests to give a donation, it is redirected to the corresponding Diocese. However, this chapter includes some specific help


This is the amount provided in the Interdiocesan Common Fund for the partial financing of the activities of the Conference.


They appear in this section:

  • The rents accrued corresponding to the properties of the Episcopal Conference. They have adapted to the reality of the current situation.
  • Financial income from some of the Conference's own funds that are invested in time deposits and maximum security fixed-income instruments. They are expected to increase slightly due to the rise in interest rates.
  • Economic activities: It is basically the contribution of the publishers of the Episcopal Conference (EDICE, BAC and Libros Litúrgicos), the Ecclesia magazine, copyright management, as well as the fees for issuing titles of suitability.


This item computes contributions from a religious institution, as well as various management income that cannot be classified in the other groups.



Here are the budgets that are allocated for the different activities carried out by the Episcopal Commissions, as well as the contributions made to some International Church organizations (COMECE, CC.EE, International Migration Commission and Casa de la Biblia). Finally, there are also contributions to the institutions of “Catholic Action” and “Justice and Peace”.


The total remuneration of the clergy that collaborates permanently or punctually in the ordinary activities of the Conference is contemplated. Their remuneration remained frozen for several years, in the next year they will increase slightly.


This section includes the total remuneration paid to the lay workers of the Episcopal Conference, as well as the collaborations paid for specific jobs. The remuneration of the workforce is referenced to the Agreement for Offices and offices, with some adaptations.


Includes the amount paid for the rest of the concepts: repairs, maintenance, office material, supplies, etc.