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Belgian bishop wants more Vatican action against abusive prelate

Catholic World News - September 15, 2010

A Belgian bishop has questioned why the Vatican has not taken stronger disciplinary action against a bishop who admitted to sexual abuse.

Bishop Guy Harpigny of Tournai, the chief spokesman for the Belgian hierarchy on sex-abuse issues, asked why Bishop Roger Vangheluwe has been allowed to go into hiding, without answering to the Holy See for his admitted years of abuse. “Vangheluwe has chosen his own punishment and the Vatican does nothing,” Bishop Harpigny complained.

The Belgian prelate expressed the view that Bishop Vangheluwe should be laicized. But in any case the disgraced bishop should be disciplined, he said. “I would prefer a trial by the church authorities. This would be more honest. But any signal would be a good one," he said.

Bishop Harpigny also conceded that Belgian Church leaders had been slow to admit the sex-abuse problem, because an open discussion of the issue might open the Church to legal claims. “If you officially apologize, then you are acknowledging moral and legal responsibility,” he said. “Then there are people who ask for money and we don’t know what lawyers and the courts will do about that.”

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  • Posted by: scullyjr9118 - Sep. 15, 2010 7:31 PM ET USA

    To paraphrase his Excellency's comments: 'Yeah, the rest of us were wrong, but he was wronger.' And: 'Hey, don't look at me, man, that guy confessed!' I mean, I really don't blame this guy. It's hard to overcome the perception of being pathetic. He and his Eminence Danneels should host a talk show.

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