Catholic World News

Belgian bishops ask forgiveness for removal of children from African mothers

April 28, 2017

The bishops of Belgium have asked forgiveness for the role of Catholic institutions in the removal of biracial children from African mothers during Belgian rule (1909-1960) of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Conceived out of wedlock, children of Belgian settlers and African mothers were often “snatched from their mothers and placed in orphanages or children’s homes, often run by Belgian nuns and priests, away from their families, from their brothers and sisters, and from their African roots,” the bishops stated.

Some were “sent to Belgium and [were] cared for by households or foster families,” the bishops continued. “They have been unable to fully enjoy their civil rights, and many have found themselves on the margins of Belgian society.”

The bishops pledged to open their archives to help these children and their descendants to learn about their parents or ancestors.


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  • Posted by: nix898049 - Apr. 28, 2017 11:53 AM ET USA

    This is the first I've heard of it but, without reading the article, I would think that the original motivation was to save these children from being outcasts in their own society, such as Asian biracial children were during the Korean conflict. Asking forgiveness for a well-intended solution doesn't absolve the original grave sin with which the bishops had nothing to do. Open the records but save the contrition unless they really believe orphanages run by nuns/priests was a wrong thing to do.