Spokesman for embattled Belgian archbishop quits, cites loss of trust

November 2, 2010

mettepenningen2The spokesman for Belgium’s Roman Catholic leader quit on Tuesday, citing a loss of trust in the archbishop who has caused a storm with harsh comments on AIDS and caring words for some paedophile priests.

Top Belgian Catholic vows silence after uproar

October 29, 2010

leonardBelgium’s Roman Catholic leader has sworn off public remarks until Christmas after outraging public opinion twice this month with jarring comments about AIDS and a call for mercy for retired paedophile priests.

Belgium’s Catholic sex abuse scandal prompts questions on mandatory celibacy

September 22, 2010

mechelen 1Three Roman Catholic bishops in Belgium, reacting to damaging sexual abuse scandals in their ranks, have taken the rare step of urging their Church to consider easing its ban on married men in the priesthood.

Confusion reigns as Belgium struggles with Catholic sex abuse scandal

September 14, 2010

shipFollowing the crisis of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Belgium is like watching a rudderless ship in a storm. The Church hierarchy seems overwhelmed by the scandal that has engulfed it. The state seems unable to intervene after its spectacular raid on Church offices last June backfired on it. Left hanging are at least 475 victims who have no idea what to expect next.

Belgian Church moves on abuse but victims still unhappy

September 13, 2010

leonardBelgium’s Catholic Church responded to an abuse scandal with plans to create a reconciliation centre and set new rules for priests, but victim groups called the moves insufficient. “The past months have been very difficult for the Church and for us. We are fully committed to tackling this problem in a new way,” Archbishop André-Joseph Leonard told a news conference. “It causes us pain. Coming out of such a crisis is not easy.”

Child abuse was widespread in Belgian Catholic Church – Church report

September 10, 2010

AdriaenssensChild sexual abuse was widespread in the Belgian Catholic Church and drove at least 13 victims to suicide, according to a report published on Friday.  “Almost every institution, every school, particularly boarding schools, at one time harboured abuse,” Peter Adriaenssens, the head of a Church commission monitoring complaints, told a news conference.

Leaked Danneels tapes with Catholic sex abuse victim make for sad reading

August 29, 2010

danneels (Photo: Cardinal Danneels arrives at federal police headquarters in Brussels July 6, 2010 for questions about  allegations of sexual abuse by priests/Stringer)

Gunning for Godfried? Belgian abuse probe asks what Danneels knew

June 29, 2010

standaardAre the Belgian judicial authorities gunning for Godfried? It looks like Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the popular grandfatherly Catholic prelate who stepped down in January as archbishop of Brussels-Mechelen after three decades, is the main target of the incredible “tomb raider” sweeps that shocked the Church last Thursday. The police who swooped down on the diocesan headquarters in Mechelen, Danneels’s own apartment nearby and the offices of the Church commission on abuse in Leuven did not suspect the cardinal of abuse himself. But it seems the investigating magistrate behind the raid is convinced that Danneels hushed up cases during his long reign.

Belgian vote on Muslim veils could echo in Europe

April 30, 2010
belgium niqab

Salma, a 22-year-old French woman living in Belgium who chose to wear the niqab after converting to Islam, speaks to Reuters television outside the Belgian Parliament in Brussels April 26, 2010/Yves Herman

Belgian government collapse delays burqa ban vote

April 22, 2010

A woman wearing a niqab walks on a street in Saint-Denis, near Paris, April 2, 2010/Regis Duvignau