Niños Robados - The Stolen Children of Spain

Yet another scandal with the Roman Catholic Church right in the middle of it…from the 1930s through the 1990s, as many as 300,000 Spanish babies were stolen from their mothers at birth and sold to adoptive parents, with the full cooperation of both Francisco Franco’s fascist government and the nuns, priests and doctors who ran state social services.

Spanish Dopers, is this a big story over there or does it just seem to me that it SHOULD be? Was this done purely on the individual nuns’ and priests’ initiative or is it connected to the Vatican at all? The BBC story is good with the general overview but a lot of details are missing.

It obviously began under Franco’s government but since 1982 Spain’s government has been a constitutional monarchy.

I’ve just watched the same horrifying documentary. There was a short sequence wheree they said that this is big news in Spain. Although the story took a long long time to break (there was a photojournalist who began investigating irrc in the 90s) it is now generating hundreds of hours of television.

There seem to have been two things going on. One was the bullying of unmarried mothers into giving up their babies: the other was the outright kidnapping of infants whose parents were told they had died. If anyone reading this thread who hasn’t seen the documentary doubts the veracity of this story, among other points of confirmation are that exhumations of the graves of supposedly dead babies are turning up empty graves or the burial of surgical waste and that some adoptive parents have confessed to having bought their children from the church.

If only there were a Spanish doper who could clarify this. I can’t think of anyone around here from Spain…


Isn’t this how The Omen begins?

Well, I dunno how likely it is that any of these children will be returned to their biological parents.

I mean, nobody expects a Spanish ex-adoption.

Sorry, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I’ve seen some articles on the issue, as well as references in recent-history books; I remember catching a newsblurb stating that one of the problems the judiciary is facing in researching these cases is that most are… uh, can’t remember the word, “over time”. They’re still doing the research on account of “we can’t prevent something like this from happening if we don’t know how it happened”, but the people involved can’t be taken to trial because it’s been so long.

There have been cases all over the country. The main character of a movie trailer I watched this same month (can’t remember the name) is a woman whose sister is imprisoned while pregnant, and part of the movie focuses on what they and their friends do to (try to?) avoid having the child taken away.

From what little I know, it seems to have started during the Civil War as yet another means of torture (mental, in this case) and continued as a combination of greed and hubris (“the child will be much better with a proper family”). Most cases seem to be linked to small groups/individuals; all you’d need would be a nurse (which would be the nuns, although not all the nurses involved were nuns) or doctor, and someone who could fake the paperwork, it didn’t need to have someone high up involved.

What I’ve seen talks mostly of cases between the War and the mid-60s.

This is horrific. The BBC are not known for being too wide of the mark and rarely make baseless accusations so I’ll side with them on this I reckon.

This is why we shouldn’t allow an unelected. undemocratic, ideology and dogma-led organisation into the fold of government. Giver them too much power and they shrug off oversight end up doing what the hell they like then justify it with their own twisted ideas of right and wrong.

We’ve had centuries of this and you’d think the Catholic church had run out of ways to shock us but…here we go again.

And I wonder…how many majority Catholic nations are now very carefully examining their own historical adoption policies and procedures? The child abuse scandal seemed to be global and I have no doubt that this will be too.

What I’d like to know is, what is the reaction of the Roman Catholic Church now? Is the RCC in Spain outraged, actively investigating, leaving no stone unturned to find out who in their ranks were culpable in this atrocity? Or are they dragging their heels, saying it’s long past and there’s no reason to disrupt anybody’s lives now?

I suspect the church will investigate this as quickly and as thoroughly as they investigated previous scandals :rolleyes:

You’re assuming it was a top-bottom, thing: as far as the judges can tell, it wasn’t, either on the religious or civilian sides.

The RCC is, as far as I know, collaborating with the investigation, which is what they’re supposed to do; same for the Government. Some of the cases involve the same people in different locations, as either the Government or the Church moved them around for reasons completely unrelated with this subject. This investigation is NOT the duty of the Church, their duty is to turn over records and not block those whose duty it actually is: same as any other organization.

No, I merely point out that if you give too much power to an organisation such as the Catholic church and don’t give it proper oversight then it will act how the heck it wants and consider itself not answerable for its actions.

“Not Blocking” is a world away from a full internal investigation.
If the church wishes to promote itself as a moral and ethical standard for the rest of society it should not merely collaborate with the investigation. It should be running through walls to find out what went wrong and atone for their actions.

A thorough internal investigation is the very minimum that they should do. An investigation very much IS the duty of the church. That would be the case for any other organisation and should be the case here. Otherwise it is going to be very easy to hide behind any ineptitude of the investigating body.

The RCC is NOT ALLOWED to perform an internal investigation at this point. That is simply not how these things are supposed to be done here. It’s a criminal investigation, that makes it the job of the judiciary and parallel investigations are not allowed.

If you have a problem with that, I’m sure you can find the address of the Tribunal Supremo in the internet.

And I’m sure that suits both parties just fine.

If it is a legal restriction then I’ll modify my statement and say that, once the official investigation has completed the RCC should undergo its own full internal investigation.

It is a legal restriction.

The same thing happened in Ireland and Australia, I wonder if it was just standard practice with sinful unwed mothers everywhere?

The presure thing yes, was quite standard and not limited to religious officials of any sign; for a long time and in many places, being an unwed mother made it very difficult for a woman to get married or a job which wasn’t prostitution - the actual stealing, though, I don’t think it was ever considered standard. Argentina is another place where children were stolen away, many of their desaparecidos were little children.

The pressure thing was indeed sad but not surprising. The telling mothers (and fathers) their children were dead and then presenting them with someone else’s defrosted stillbirth “to say goodbye to” whilst selling their living baby on: that is what is so unusually sickening here.

Irrc I have seen something similar on an episode of Oprah but those were isolated cases not the wholesale kidnapping of babies that seems to have gone on in Spain.

Happens in the States too. It’s less about sin and more about money, I think. What’s more, in the case of the US, the money from adopting parents is apparently chump change compared to federal grants that go to the the States than run the most efficient CPS, efficiency being gauged… by whoever’s filing the most adoptions.

As you can imagine, the unintended consequences are on the ugly side - from kids getting flung into the arms of whoever shows up (or pays more), to kids torn away from their families so they can in turn be put up for adoption and make nice stats.

According to :

A 60 year conspiracy? Not bad. Any estimates of how many people were involved? That’s 5000 babies a year, assuming it stopped in 1990.