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Belgian bishops issue apology for abuse, inadequate reaction

May 19, 2010

The Catholic bishops of Belgium have issued a public statement asking pardon for their failure to curb sexual abuse.

After completing their ad limina visit to Rome, the Belgian bishops reported that they had discussed the abuse issue at length with Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican officials. They vowed to put in place programs that will provide a safe environment for young people.

In their statement the bishops acknowledged that multiple reports of abuse, and the resignation of a bishop who admitted his own involvement in abuse, had caused "shock waves in the Church in Belgium" and "seriously damaged the confidence of the faithful in their pastors."

"We recognize that Church leaders did not sufficiently take into account the tragedy of sexual abuse of young people and the extent of the consequences," the bishops said. They apologized to victims, and to society at large, for the abuse and their failure to respond appropriately.


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