Comments on: Belgian Cardinal Danneels admits making mistakes in sex abuse case Religion, faith and ethics Sat, 23 Apr 2016 23:25:07 +0000 hourly 1 By: Osaer Thu, 09 Sep 2010 19:58:44 +0000 This information can interest your lectorate


Today, September 9, the Court of Appeals of Brussels has rendered a judgment with respect to the police raid in the St. Rumbold’s Cathedral and the archdiocese of Mechelen – Brussels. The Court held that the spectacular seizures on June 24 in the offices of the Archdiocese and the residence of former archbishop Cardinal Godfried Danneels in Mechelen were irregular, and therefor illegal, that all documents and objects seized should be returned and that all acts based on material that was illegally seized should be declared null and void. The Court considered that the investigators acted without possessing specific indications of a violation of criminal law by the Archdiocese or Cardinal Danneels and in fact carried out an illegitimate and illegal fishing expedition.
Mgr. André – Joseph Léonard, the archbishop of Mechlin, hopes this verdict will allow the Belgian Church to direct its full attention to those who have been victims of sexual abuse in a pastoral relationship and who deserve proper recognition and support.
The Belgian Bishops deeply regret the substantial and partially irreparable damage incurred as a result of the illegal actions of some in the justice system. The raids and seizures have breached the confidence of victims of sexual abuse and tarnished the reputation of both the Church and the Belgian justice system.
The Church welcomes and fully supports the judicial investigation and prosecution of child abusers. Such investigations should however always be focused and carried out in a correct legal manner, which, as the Court now confirmed, has not been the case up to present.
By vigorously insisting that brutal force should not replace the principles of law, the Church is not attempting to prevent an investigation, but is contributing to the preservation of fundamental principles which exist to protect those in a position of weakness.
The Bishops hope that the judgment of the Court of Appeals will help to restore confidence among all parties in this matter.