Southern Religion

Impetus for Belgian police raids on Catholic Church offices

Vatican outrage which greeted raids by Belgian police last week on church offices and a cathedral in the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels was misplaced.

Doreen Carvajal of the New York Times reports that they were the result of “a formal accusation that the church was hiding information on sexual abuse lodged by the former president of an internal church commission handling such cases.”

The Flemish newspaper Nieuwsblad reported [via Google translate] that Godelieve Halsberghe, who from 1998 to 2008 “directed the [church] commission for handling complaints of sexual abuse in a pastoral relationships,” went to authorities after receiving a phone call warning that she and commission files she had were in danger. She turned over her files and talked to authorities about the possibility that the church was hiding other files.

Taking action on serious, formal complaints like those lodged by Ms. Halsberghe, a retired magistrate, is the responsibility of the police in a free society.

The incandescent Vatican response, which descended to references to Communist police state tactics, was inappropriate.

[H/T: Religion Clause]

June 30, 2010 - Posted by | Law, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , ,

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