Belgian government defends raid of bishops’ meeting
June 29, 2010
Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere defended an aggressive police raid of a bishops’ meeting during an investigation of the clerical abuse scandal. The Vatican and the Belgian bishops have angrily protested two aspects of the search: the violation of the tombs of two deceased archbishops and the seizure of confidential files from the Church-authorized investigating commission.
“It’s good to [keep in mind] very important principles of the state of law. [There are] very elementary principles of having a separation of powers and accepting that the judiciary has to do its work,” said Mr. Vanackere. “That’s crucial for every democratic state.”
Godelieve Halsberghe, a former head of the Belgian bishops’ investigating commission, told a Flemish newspaper that she may have prompted the raid. After receiving a threatening telephone call, she told police that the Belgian Church officials might be hiding abuse files from investigators.
- Belgium hits back at Vatican over paedophilia raids (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)
- Warning About Church’s Abuse Documents Led Belgian Police to Raid Its Offices (New York Times)
- Church Raid in Belgium Raises Dark Questions (New York Times)
- Pope joins angry criticism of Belgian police raid (CWN, 6/28)
- Belgium: 400 abuse allegations in recent weeks (CWN, 6/4)