We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $23,710 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Belgian bishop resigns because of sexual abuse

Catholic World News - April 23, 2010

Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Brugges has resigned because of sexual abuse in which he was personally involved. The 73-year-old prelate was appointed Bishop of Brugges-- one of the nation’s eight dioceses-- in 1984.

"When I was still just a priest, and for a certain period at the beginning of my episcopate, I sexually abused a minor from my immediate environment," Bishop Vangheluwe confessed in a public statement announcing his resignation. "Over the course of these decades I have repeatedly recognised my guilt towards him and his family, and I have asked forgiveness; but this did not pacify him, as it did not pacify me. The media storm of recent weeks has increased the trauma, and the situation is no longer tenable." The bishop expressed his "most sincere apologies to the victim, to his family, to all the Catholic community and to society in general."

Belgium's leading Catholic prelate, Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Brussels, said that Pope Benedict XVI had promptly accepted Bishop Vangheluwe's resignation upon learning of the abuse. While expressing the hope that the bishop could count on God's mercy for his misdeeds, Archbishop Leonard said that "it is vital that, out of respect for the victim and his family, and out of respect for the truth, he should resign from office."

"The Church thus underlines the importance of not procrastinating in such cases," the archbishop continued. The prompt action, he said, shows that "the Catholic Church in Belgium rigorously wishes to apply in these matters, turning a new page with respect to the not-so-distant period in which the Church, and others, preferred the solution of silence or concealment."

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($23,710 to go):
$25,400.00 $1,690.00
93% 7%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: filioque - Apr. 24, 2010 12:35 AM ET USA

    I suspect we are not yet finished with North America. As bad as it was in 2002, it was by no means a thorough calling to account.

  • Posted by: Steve214 - Apr. 23, 2010 5:41 PM ET USA

    We may as well get used to this. We had North American in 2002. Now we have Europe. We still have South America, Africa, and Asia yet to go.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines April 24
A More Militant Church? April 24
How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops April 24
Final take on the LCWR: A time to plant, a time to uproot April 24
With the LCWR, has the Vatican taken Gamaliel's advice? April 24

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21