Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic World News

Belgian bishop laicized after repeated pleas for Vatican action

March 21, 2024

» Continue to this story on CathoBel (French)

CWN Editor's Note: Former bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, who resigned in 2010 after admitting to “a little bit of intimacy” with two nephews, has been laicized.

The Belgian bishops’ conference had made several appeals to the Vatican for Vangheluwe’s laicization, expressing frustration that Pope Francis had not taken action. Last September Bishop Johann Bonny of Antwerp said that “our conference of bishops has been asking Rome to do this for years.”

The papal nuncio in Belgium announced on March 21 that new information about the case had prompted the Vatican decision. Vangheluwe, who is 87, reportedly accepted the action, and asked to be allowed to live in the monastery where he has been staying, “without any more contact with the outside world.”

Belgian Prime MInister Alexander De Croo had called for Vangheluwe’s laicization, as had several members of the country’s parliament. A spokesman for the bishops’ conference said in January that it would “be difficult for Pope Francis to make a peaceful visit” to Belgium until the matter was resolved. The Pope is scheduled to travel to Belgium in September.

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