The Belgian Church’s “mea culpa”

Vatican Insider

The major sexual abuse scandal that struck part of the national clergy has led the primate to a public confession and commitment to the community

Giacomo Galeazzi
Vatican City

“I ask your forgiveness.” In the space between a “painful” 2011 and the opening of a 2012 of “purification,” the Catholic primate of Belgium and Archbishop of Brussels, André-Joseph Lèonard, extended a “mea culpa” for sexual abuse by members of the clergy. On behalf of a national church badly affected by the pedophile priest scandal, Monsignor Lèonard took responsibility for the sins of priests and religious “infidels,” while the church hierarchy in Belgium goes through a particularly difficult time as well, due to internal challenges by “dissidents.” The “mea culpa” extended by Lèonard – a bishop who is very Ratzingerian in his sensibilities – comes at a time when the Belgian church hierarchy is particularly under pressure.

After the 2010 evisceration of the tomb of the prestigious Cardinal Leon-Joseph Suenens by the Belgian police in search of secret papers (a dramatic breakthrough of secular culture into Catholicism), the sorties went on constantly until the most recent in September, when, at the Court of Ghent, around seventy victims of pedophile priests publicly denounced the Belgian Conference of Bishops and the Vatican for doing nothing to prevent the alleged crimes that took place in the diocese of Bruges.

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