"ROME — In a sign of sharply rising tensions between the Vatican and Belgium, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday criticized as “surprising and deplorable” a raid on church property last week by Belgian police officers investigating sexual abuse by clerics.
In an exceedingly rare personal message and rebuke of a sovereign country, the pontiff also stressed the church’s “autonomy” to conduct its own investigations and criticized the “deplorable methods” of the Belgian police, who detained bishops, confiscated files and even drilled into the tombs of at least one cardinal in the Cathedral of Mechelen, north of Brussels, in a search for documents."
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- "Pope Benedict XVI lashed out Sunday at what he called the "deplorable" raids carried out by Belgian police who detained bishops, confiscated computers, opened a crypt and took church documents as part of an investigation into priestly sex abuse..."
...."Belgium's Catholic Church has been stunned following the resignation in April of its longest-serving bishop, Roger Vangheluwe, who stepped down after admitting to having sexually abused a young boy during the time Danneels was archbishop."
"The revelation came as hundreds of case...."
The Belgian police are doing their job which is investigating possible criminal behavior by Catholic prelates. It is about time that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church is held accountable and treated like any other major corporation. Years of cover-ups have been the rather typical, scandalous pattern of church leaders around the globe. The community of Christ deserves better. The people of God deserve better. The Roman Catholic Church should not have special status and protection in any country when alleged criminal behavior is involved. Why would anyone allow foxes to guard the hen house! Perhaps, the actions of the Belgium police will send a message to the Vatican that crimes against children and youth are going to be taken seriously by civil authorities and that they will not be intimidated by ecclesiastical power. Our focus should be on full investigation, truth-telling and justice for victims. If Jesus was handling this situation, what do you think he would do?
Bridget Mary Meehan