It’s about time. Frustrated with the Church’s meaningless promises of cooperation with authorities, and shocked, as all other Belgians were, to hear of the 73 year-old Bishop of Bruges’ admittance of serial child molestation, the police apparently had had enough. Last Thursday, in Brussels and Leuven, they took matters into their own hands:
Belgian Catholic bishops angered by police raids
Friday, 25 June 2010 12:59
. . On Thursday, the police carried out a series of raids as part of an investigation into allegations of abuse committed by priests.
The Church’s headquarters, the Palace of the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, was sealed off, while officers searched for related material. Bishops meeting there were barred from leaving the premises or telephoning outside for several hours.
Officers also raided the nearby home of the recently retired archbishop of Belgium, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, seizing paperwork and his computer . .
In Leuven, investigators seized all 475 dossiers from the offices of the Church commission tracking complaints and compiling evidence about clerical sexual abuse. The computer of the commission’s chairman was also taken . .
“This violates the right to confidentiality of victims who have contacted the commission,” he said. “Such acts greatly complicate the necessary and excellent work of the committee.”
You have got to be kidding me. There’s a clear pattern of behavior here regarding the Church.
It goes something like this: the molestations and rapes become known, usually first within the Church. One or two people are made aware of them, but the matter is pushed aside. A few years later, the allegations re-surface, probably with a lower level church person.
Molester Stephen Kiesle
Another high-level person or two become aware of the crimes, and some time passes, but the matter is again pushed aside.
The allegations become known outside the Church. Now several people have to become involved. Communications and reports are passed around for months on end. After a year or two, the small clamor begins to die down, and the matter is effectively pushed aside. The allegations re-surface publicly again as part of a whole group of similar crimes. Well, now, this is serious, right? Must be time for a commission.
Who are they kidding? When the Bishop of Bruges(!) himself admits to being a serial child molester, the jig is up. Belgian authorities and society have every right to force the Church to surrender everything they’ve ever known about these miserable sexual predators.
Belgian bishop Roger Vangheluwe resigns over abuse of boy
Published: 6:17PM BST 23 Apr 2010
The resignation of Roger Vangheluwe, 73, the Bishop of Bruges since 1984, was the first from Belgium since a child abuse scandal began testing the Catholic Church several months ago in Europe and the United States . .
“When I was not yet a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy,” Vangheluwe said in the statement.
“This has marked the victim forever. The wound does not heal. Neither in me nor the victim,” Vangheluwe’s statement said . .
. . and there’s another pattern of behavior here. Who is sad? Who feels bad? Who again is the victim?
Pope Benedict attacks Belgium police for raiding suspected pedophile priests
By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, June 27th, 2010 — 4:40 pm
. . “I want to express… my closeness and solidarity in this moment of sadness, in which, with certain surprising and deplorable methods, searches were carried out including in the Mechelen cathedral and in the premises where the Belgian episcopate was meeting in plenary session,” [Pope Benedict] said . .
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said Saturday the detention of bishops was “serious and unbelievable”, likening it to the practices of communist regimes.
As I opined before, until the Church shows the respect towards society and its laws they very much deserve, the clashes between it and the various wronged states, and its citizens, will only grow nastier and more incendiary.
I have no doubt that if these people were murderers, the Church would find a way to do the right thing. But because Church officials (wrongly) think these people are merely indulging in sexual shenanigans, that they’re just your garden variety fallible mortals, the Church has become part of an obscene conspiracy. It’s doing evil.