Catholic World News

Belgian Catholic lay leader recounts long conflict with hierarchy on abuse issues

June 25, 2010

Alexandra Colen, a member of the Belgian parliament, testifies that she could not obtain a hearing from the country’s Catholic leaders—including particularly the retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Brussels—when she and other concerned lay people complained about a catechism that contained grotesquely sexualized images of a child. Colen and her allies eventually wrote to all of the cardinals around the world, and many expressed support for their cause, but Cardinal Danneels was unmoved. Her experience sheds new light on the Belgian police investigation of how sex-abuse complaints were handled in the Brussels archdiocese.

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  • Posted by: ColmCille - Jun. 28, 2010 12:39 AM ET USA

    Unum: As a lifelong fisherman I know that fish rot from the guts (the head of the Church is Christ, so be careful what you suggest). Ratzinger, both as pope and before, is one of the few that has, and is, doing something. In practical terms, the pope doesn't have the absolute power people think. Satan's forces are entrenched, and the pope must act prudently if he is to make a difference. He knows better than we what he is up against. He needs prayer, FASTING and support, not misplaced criticism.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jun. 27, 2010 9:22 AM ET USA

    There seems to be something profoundly "schizophrenic" at this time about our Church. We take pleasure in exalting our "good" leaders and putting down the dysfunctional ones, while the "good" ones seem to do little or nothing about the bad, when in our "system" of hierarchal authority it is ONLY those very "authorities" who really have the power to reform the system.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 26, 2010 6:56 AM ET USA

    The content in the link is truly shocking. This is perversion directed against children and sanctioned by the highest levels of the Belgian Church, and completely changes my view of the raids conducted by Belgian authorities against Belgian ecclesiastics. Go get 'em.

  • Posted by: unum - Jun. 26, 2010 6:24 AM ET USA

    The fish rots from the head. The failure of Rome to confront blatant misconduct in countries like Ireland and Belgium, as well as the lack of fidelity to Church teaching throughout the world, will mark this era as one of major decline in the history Church. The legacies of John Paul II and Benedict will suffer. PR is no substitute for fidelity.

  • Posted by: opraem - Jun. 25, 2010 8:58 PM ET USA

    these stories are sad, true and disgusting. but like the movie 'groundhog day' they are repeated across the us and across the world. uncle benny needs our prayers if he is to clean out the ranks of enabling bishops. if he doesn't, we're destined to repeat this tale of childhood horror for generations.