POLITICAL observations & opinions

* good for the Belgians … the Catholic Church, having failed to police itself, must now submit to the criminal prosecutions of the appropriate authorities … let’s hope this sets a precedent for other jurisdictions

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 29, 2010

ROBERT WIELAARD (AP) writes (6/29/10) …

  • Belgium insisted Monday in a dispute with the Vatican over credibility that Belgian law enforcement authorities — not the potentially biased Catholic Church — will investigate sexual abuse cases involving clergy.
  • A panel created by Belgian bishops 12 years ago to look into abuse cases disbanded on Monday, saying last week’s seizure of its 500 case files rendered its existence pointless.
  • Belgium’s government doesn’t appear to be concerned about having pushed the panel to the sidelines, despite an outburst from the Vatican that Thursday’s police raid was an unprecedented intrusion into church affairs.
  • “I respect Peter Adriaenssens, but his commission was created by the Church,” Glenn Audenaert, head of Belgium’s judiciary police, said after last week’s police raids. “That commission cannot start a prosecution. Only the justice department can.”
  • On Thursday, scores of police officers seized documents, computers, DVDs and CDs at the Belgian archbishop’s residence in Mechlin, north of Brussels, and detained a dozen Belgian bishops who were meeting there. Also detained for nine hours and told to surrender his cell phone was the Vatican’s envoy to Belgium.
  • As the Adriaenssens’ commission stepped down, it said it was now up to Belgian bishops “to care for victims and follow-up their complaints” of sexual abuse.
  • Rik Torfs, a canon law expert, says the Catholic Church has a poor record of doing that.
  • “It has failed badly in its treatment of many of these cases,” he said. “The church always found their fate less important than its own prestige. In that sense, today’s papal protests are unimpressive.”

To read the entire article … http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gI5tWYlvPP5P0wkYeyn3thMVdP6wD9GKFTS00


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