Belgian cardinal disappointed that meeting with victim was taped
August 31, 2010
A spokesman for Cardinal Godfried Danneels said that the cardinal regretted what transpired at a meeting with a now-retired bishop and the nephew whom the bishop abused.
During an April 8 meeting, Cardinal Godfried Danneels urged the man abused by Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Brugges to remain silent about the abuse until the bishop retired, according to a tape secretly made by the victim. Transcripts of the tape were published in the Belgian press over the weekend.
The cardinal “realizes that the whole approach, as it was, was not the right one,” said his spokesman. “It was improvisation.”
“At a certain point, he let himself be persuaded by Monsignor Vangheluwe to take part in such a meeting,” the spokesman continued, quoting the cardinal as saying, “Looking back I have been naive by going to such a meeting unprepared.”
“The cardinal agreed to a request of the family to be mediator in the family circle immediately after the abuse,” the spokesman added. “In this confidential context of a family meeting, different solutions were examined with a view to a resolution.”
“He condemns the abuse committed by the former bishop and that he deplores it profoundly” and “also expresses his disappointment over the fact that a confidential conversation was recorded and published, without advising the parties present.”
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