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Disaffected Belgian Catholics unhappy with Archbishop Leonard

January 06, 2011

Belgian Catholics are generally dissatisfied with the country’s new Catholic primate, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, according to a new public-opinion survey.

The poll found that 77% of Flemish respondents were unsatisfied with Archbishop Leonard. An almost identical number (78%) expressed a preference for his predecessor, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who retired last year.

The poll showed particular dissatisfaction with Archbishop Leonard’s response to the sex-abuse crisis, with 84% saying that he had not handled the subject well. Ironically Cardinal Danneels, whose public approval rating was higher, was one focus of a police investigation into the hierarchy’s handling of sex-abuse complaints.

The survey also showed a widespread alienation among Flemish Catholics. Only 10% said that they regarded themselves as Catholics, and only 6% reported regularly attending Sunday Mass.


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  • Posted by: kathimcnamee11450 - Jan. 07, 2011 8:58 AM ET USA

    The first sentence of the last paragraph states CLEARLY...the poll was taken among "Flemish Catholics"

  • Posted by: New Sister - Jan. 07, 2011 6:32 AM ET USA

    Of the population - "poll" says, 10% of population self-ID as Catholic; 6% of those people attend Holy Mass as required; 75% of all Flemish people have lost trust in the Church of Christ. ("Seuls 10% des habitants de nord du pays se qualifient encore de catholiques et à peine 6% d'entre eux assistent encore à la messe dominicale. Plus de trois-quarts des Flamands n'ont plus confiance dans l'institution ecclésiale.")

  • Posted by: stpetric - Jan. 06, 2011 5:58 PM ET USA

    I'm confused by the statistics at the end. Do 10% of Flemish Catholics call themselves, or 10% of the entire Flemish population - and if the latter, is that a change? Then is the 6% of the population (which would mean 60% of the Catholics), or 6% of the 10% (which would mean 6 of 1,000 Flemings)?