The Marist Congregation in Spain has confirmed it has received credible accusations of the abuse of minors against Fr. Cesáreo Gabaráin, a composer who died in 1991.
The English version of Fr. Gabaráin’s “Pescador de Hombres” is “Fisher of Men”, or “Lord You Have Come to the Seashore.”
According to the Spanish newspaper El País, there are four former students of the Chamberí Marist school in Madrid who have accused Fr. Gabaráin of abuse dating to the 1970s.
One of the alleged victims, Eduardo Mendoza, 57, said that he reported the priest to his homeroom teacher in 1978, the probable cause of Fr. Gabaráin being removed from the school.
Another alleged victim of Fr. Gabaráin, César Aguilera, spoke about what happened with his father, who reported the case to Brother Aquileo Manciles, now deceased, who supposedly admitted that the abuse took place.
Shortly after leaving the Marist school, Fr. Gabaráin was appointed vicar of the Our Lady of the Snows parish in the Mirasierra neighborhood of Madrid and was assigned to San Fernando school.
He died of cancer in 1991 at the age of 55, without being charged or tried for abuse.
He composed more than 500 songs, some of which are frequently used at Masses in the Spanish-speaking world. About 30 of his compositions are found in the Oregon Catholic Press song book.
OCP released the following statement in response:
OCP recently became aware of sexual abuse allegations against Father Cesáreo Gabaráin, the prolific Spanish composer known for his song “Pescador de Hombres” who died in 1991. The alleged abuse took place in the 1970s. As his licensing agent in the U.S., OCP is deeply saddened by this news. His songs are beloved by many around the world and appear in missals and hymnals for many denominations. We stand with and pray for all victims of abuse, and for a just and successful investigation by the Archdiocese of Madrid.
We take allegations of this nature seriously, and for the sake of prudence we will be removing Father Gabaráin’s composer profile from our website, along with his songs and products, including songbooks, CDs and sheet music/octavos, as we await the results of the Archdiocese’s investigation. Many of his songs appear in our missals and hymnals, so we have initiated an internal review process to determine how best to handle those. We will also donate our publisher share of royalties from his songs to a victims support organization.
Please join us in prayer for the healing for all victims of abuse, for the healing and unity our Church, and for the soul and family of Father Gabaráin.