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Belgian archbishop, stung by criticism, vows a period of silence

CWN - October 29, 2010

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Brussels, who has been dogged by criticism because of recent public statements, says that he will not make any further public pronouncements until after Christmas.

Archbishop Leonard angered critics earlier this month by saying that AIDS represents “a sort of inherent justice” insofar as it strikes primarily at those whose behavior violates natural law. He fueled the fire of criticism this week by suggesting that elderly priests should not be punished for sexual abuse committed long ago.

The criticism aimed at Archbishop Leonard complicated the public problems confronting the Catholic Church in Belgium, where sex-abuse revelations have had a devastating impact. “We’re in a very serious crisis, and the last thing we need is more commotion,” said a spokesman for the Brussels archdiocese.

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