Spanish authorities have arrested four Catholic priests accused of child abuse in the southern city of Granada. The country's Interior Ministry says investigations into the case began "some time ago."
The arrests came a week after a 24-year-old man wrote to the Vatican alleging a number of priests sexually abused him when he was an altar boy in a Granada church. Media reports claim that Pope Francis ordered an inquiry into the allegations and had personally called the man in August to apologize on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church.
"Police this morning arrested four priests implicated in this affair," Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters on Monday, adding that he could not divulge more details because of the nature of the case.
Francisco Javier Martinez, the Archbishop of Granada, removed several priests from their duties last week and initiated the church's own probe.
News agency AFP reported last week that Spanish officials had launched an investigation involving 12 people.
Pope Francis has pledged a zero-tolerance towards child abuse scandals related to the church since he took over from Pope Benedict XVI last year.
On Sunday, Granada's archbishop and six other priests prostrated themselves in front of the altar as a gesture to seek pardon for alleged sexual abuse.
shs/jr (AFP, Reuters)