Timorese prelate, Nobel laureate, accused of abuse
September 28, 2022
CWN Editor's Note: Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his work to end violence in East Timor, has been portrayed as a serial child molester, in an investigative report by a Dutch magazine, De Groene Amsterdammer.
The article cites multiple charges of sexual abuse by the bishop, over a period of years, and claims that the Vatican has been aware of the charges since 2002. The Vatican has not commented on the report.
Bishop Belo retired in 2002 from his post as apostolic administrator of Dili, East Timor. His retirement was a surprise, since he was only 54 years old. Although he cited health reasons as the reason for stepping down, he has not shown outward signs of ill health.
Upon his retirement, Bishop Belo moved to Portugal. According to the Groene article, he has been ordered by the Vatican not to return to East Timor. A spokesman for the Church in East Timor confirmed that the Vatican has imposed travel restrictions on Bishop Belo, but no reason for those restrictions has been given. The Vatican has never announced any disciplinary action.
Bishop Belo was viewed as a hero in East Timor for his unspoken opposition to the occupation of that land by Indonesia, and the human-rights abuses charged against the occupiers. In recognition of that work, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 with José Ramos-Horta, who is now the country’s president.
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