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Belgium: 400 abuse allegations in recent weeks

Catholic World News - June 04, 2010

Catholics in Belgium have reported 400 abuse allegations since the April 23 resignation of Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who admitted abusing a boy before and after his ordination as a bishop. European and American newspapers subsequently reported that the boy was his nephew.

The New York Times attributes the flood of abuse allegations to the confidence Belgians have in Peter Adriaenssens, the child-abuse specialist who was recently named head of the commission that the Belgian bishops have established to address the abuse scandal.

Adriaenssens offered praise for Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Mechelen-Brussels, the “Belgian Ratzinger” who was recently appointed the nation’s primate. “Suddenly, on television, they heard their boss, the archbishop, say, ‘I will not cover anymore,’ ” Mr. Adriaenssens said. “In these first cases I’m impressed by the fact that a large majority, nearly all these priests, largely are cooperative because they realize the pressure of public opinion, the pressure of the bishops.”

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