Civil investigators in Belgium last week took the rare step of raiding church headquarters and the home of a former archbishop.

Catholic church raids deplorable, says pope - Comment on 2010 July 5

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2010 July 5
Groups representing victims of clerical abuse expressed outrage this week after the pope criticised raids on the Catholic church by Belgian police. Last week police raided the home of a retired bishop, probed graves and detained Belgium's nine current serving bishops for nine hours. Read more:

Today, the 5th of July 2010 I read articles about the abuse scandal and bring now some quotes from them:

But today the abuse crisis is still raging in the Catholic heartland of Europe: civil investigators in Belgium last week took the rare step of raiding church headquarters and the home of a former archbishop.

The sexual abuse scandal first caught much of the world’s attention in 2002, with reports that the Boston archdiocese had been covering up for molesters for years. But the alarm bells had already been sounding for nearly two decades in many countries. In Lafayette, La., in 1984, the Rev. Gilbert Gauthé admitted to molesting 37 youngsters. In 1989, a sensational case erupted at an orphanage in the Canadian province of Newfoundland. By the mid-1990s, about 40 priests and brothers in Australia faced abuse allegations. In 1994, the Irish government was brought down when it botched the extradition of a notorious pedophile priest.

Reports have surfaced of bishops in Chile, Brazil, India and Italy who quietly kept accused priests in ministry without informing local parishioners or prosecutors.

As the crisis has mushroomed internationally this year, some cardinals in the Vatican have continued to blame the news media and label the criticism anti-Catholic persecution.

Catholic church raids deplorable, says pope.

Groups representing victims of clerical abuse expressed outrage this week after the pope criticised raids on the Catholic church by Belgian police.

Last week police raided the home of a retired bishop, probed graves and detained Belgium's nine current serving bishops for nine hours.

Pope Benedict described the raids as "surprising and deplorable" and demanded that the church be allowed a role in inquiries into child molesters in its ranks.

In a message to the head of the Belgian bishops' conference, Monsignor André-Joseph Léonard, the pontiff condemned the raids and offered his support to the bishops "in this sad moment". Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, said: "There are no precedents for this, not even under communist regimes."

But the raids were welcomed by the American clerical abuse victims' group, Snap. "Vatican officials who criticise the Belgian police raid of the Brussels church hierarchy should be ashamed of themselves," said Snap's Joelle Casteix. "While Roman church officials talk about stopping abuse, Belgian police officials take action to stop abuse."

As cases of abuse by priests have emerged throughout Europe this year, the Belgian church has apologised for failing to root out abusers in the past and promised a crackdown.

On Friday the pope appointed Monsignor Jozef de Kesel as the bishop of Bruges to replace Roger Vangheluwe (73), who resigned in April for abusing a boy. Vangheluwe was the first European bishop to step down after confessing to abuse.

Police took documents and a computer from the home of his predecessor, Godfried Danneels, and seized documents from an independent panel investigating 500 cases of suspected abuse by priests.

Last week police drilled into the tombs of two archbishops at the cathedral in Mechelen, north of Brussels, using cameras to look for hidden documents, a church official said.

 

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