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Belgian bishop grants TV interview, admits molesting 2nd nephew

Catholic World News - April 15, 2011

Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, who resigned in April 2010 amid revelations that he had abused a nephew, has told a Belgian television network that he molested a second nephew. The interview took place in France.

On April 13, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had asked the bishop to leave Belgium and “undergo a period of spiritual and psychological counseling.”

Bishop Vangheluwe apologized to his victims and said he abused the first nephew over a period of 13 years and the second nephew for less than a year. “Of course I know that this was not good,” he said. “I have confessed many times.”

“It had nothing to do with sexuality,” he added. “I don't have the impression at all that I am a pedophile. It was really just a small relationship. I did not have the feeling that my nephew was against it, quite the contrary.”

“It began as a game with the boys,” he continued. “It was never a question of rape, there was never physical violence used.”

“It was not brutal sex,” he added, leading the first nephew’s attorney to respond, “Knowing what happened, I want to ask him what he then understands to be brutal sex.”

Reflecting more generally on the clerical abuse scandal, the bishop said:

Why is it different for priests than for other situations? Why should the Church pay compensation and there is no compensation in other professions? The Church should not be pushed in a special corner.

Calling the bishop’s remarks “a slap in the face of his victims and all victims,” Belgian Justice Minister Stefaan De Clercq called upon Church authorities to “take measures to stop the irresponsible behavior of the former bishop.” He objected to the bishop's giving an interview: "Making comments trying to minimize what happened is unacceptable."

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Cornelius - Apr. 17, 2011 2:10 PM ET USA

    "It was really just a small relationship." Thus the Bishop gives evidence for why homosexual men should not be ordained: their disordered sexuality deprives them of an understanding of what true spiritual fatherhood consists. Acts of molestation of the young, to this mindset, are just "small relationships".

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Apr. 15, 2011 6:52 PM ET USA

    I say send him back to Belgium to get a little taste of justice.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Apr. 15, 2011 6:45 PM ET USA

    I started out thinking," how courageous of him to give an interview" then I read what he said. Entirely repulsive, and he may think he never broke his vows to the priesthood, but he is sick and twisted. Instead of turning him loose on society,can they dispense with the shrink and put him in a bare bones monastery to repent?

  • Posted by: Dan - Apr. 15, 2011 8:20 AM ET USA

    A terrifying and profoundly repulsive example of the Devil succeeding in convincing someone that he doesn't exist. May The Lord bless those boys and their families, and delivery unto the bishop His Mercy and Justice in equal measure.

  • Posted by: Salome - Apr. 15, 2011 6:34 AM ET USA

    How on earth did anyone ever think that a TV interview would help? Did anyone think?

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