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Belgian prime minister calls on Vatican to punish Bishop Vangheluwe

CWN - April 18, 2011

Acting Prime Minister Yves Leterme of Belgium has called upon the Vatican to punish Bishop Roger Vangheluwe following a television interview in which he downplayed his molestation of two of his nephews. The bishop had resigned in April 2010 after the abuse of one of the nephews came to public attention.

“The Church must assume its responsibilities-- this cannot go on,” said Leterme.

Belgium’s bishops also expressed “stupefaction” at the bishop’s comments in the interview. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters that the comments “provoked astonishment and worry” and that the Vatican was aware of the situation’s gravity.

Three days after the interview, Bishop Vangheluwe departed from the French monastery to which he had been ordered by the Vatican. The mother superior of the Fraternités de Jérusalem in La Ferté-Imbault, a monastic community founded in 1975, said that she did not know where he had gone.

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