Tourists and worshippers visiting Catalonia's imposing mountain-side Montserrat Monastery on a sunny Sunday this month appeared to pay little heed to two men with placards demanding that the local abbot be defrocked for covering up sexual abuse.
But the pair, who say they were sexually abused in their youth, are making themselves heard by society in Spain and elsewhere as they pressure the Catholic Church to come clean on such wrongdoing by clergy.
The Vatican is holding an unprecedented meeting of senior bishops from around the world, experts and heads of male and female religious orders on Feb. 21-24 to discuss how to tackle sexual abuse.
Miguel Hurtado, 36, runs an online petition to Spanish authorities to significantly extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse against minors. The petition on website change.org has received over 520,900 signatures since it launched in 2016.
Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is facing an early general election in April, said on the petition website that he would study the proposals and act to prevent that kind of crime.
In Spain, historically a fervently Catholic country, activists say thousands of cases had likely been silenced and many could emerge now as the debate opens up.
"For me, the worst part were not the abuses, but the Church covering it up."
He said the abbot of Montserrat, Josep Maria Soler, had for years sought to silence his accusation that monk Andreu Soler sexually molested him 20 years ago when he was a 16-year-old Boy Scout in a group led by the monk.
The monk, who shared the same last name but was not related to the abbot, died in 2008.
"The rapist went unpunished then and those who covered up go unpunished now," says Conde, who opened up to her family about the rapes when she was 42 after a lifetime of psychological trauma. She says she only started really living when the priest died three years ago.
Father Daniel Garcia, a leading clergyman at the time in the area where Conde went to school, corroborated her story to Reuters based on a conversation he had with the priest 10 years ago.