Monday, June 28, 2010

Raid on Catholic Church in Belgium is Flashback to Gestapo Era

"Over the weekend, a story broke in Belgium regarding the raid of Catholic Church offices by Belgian police who were searching for evidence that may have been hidden in relation to the priestly sexual abuse of minors."

Bill Donahue said:
It looks as though the Belgian police took a page from the Gestapo playbook and executed it to the tee. The police detained the present bishops for over nine hours while they snooped high and low—even going so far as to drill into the tombs of two deceased cardinals—trying to get any thing they could to indict the Belgian Church.

Recently the Belgian bishops created a committee to investigate claims of priestly sexual abuse, but this mattered not a whit to the Belgian government. They barged into the offices anyway. While police do have the right to conduct a search, so long as it is warranted, this seizure smacks of an agenda."

From Bloomberg: The Vatican said it was indignant about a Belgian police raid of the graves of two archbishops in an investigation of suspected pedophiles among the clergy.

The Vatican voiced “astonishment over how the searches were carried out yesterday by Belgian judicial authorities and its indignation over the violation of the graves,” said a statement today by the office of the Secretary of State.

Belgian police raided the principal seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium, the residence of the Archbishop of Malines in Mechelen, according to a statement released by the Belgian Bishops’ Conference. The police search lasted from 10:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., the statement said.

“No explanation was given, but all documents and mobile phones were confiscated and it was referred that nobody could leave the building,” the bishops’ statement said. “It was not a pleasant experience.”

Belgian’s longest-serving bishop, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned in April after admitting to sexually molesting a boy about two decades ago. He was the first senior Catholic official in Belgium to resign in a scandal that has implicated priests in nations including the U.S., Germany, Ireland and Italy. The graves of Cardinals Jozef-Ernest Van Roey and Leon-Joseph Suenens were searched yesterday by Belgian authorities.

Pope Benedict XVI, 83, on June 11 publicly asked for “forgiveness” from victims of sex-abuse crimes committed by Catholic priests and promised to do “everything possible” to shield children from pedophile clerics.

Jean-Marc Meilleur, spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, didn’t return a voice message left on his mobile phone seeking comment.

This is deplorable and inexcusable!! I am all for getting to the truth of the priest sex abuse scandals but this is out of line, way over the top.  This does smell like the police had an agenda, and it wasn't merely getting at the truth -- getting justice for those abused.  The Belgian police clearly has a vendetta against the Catholic Church.  This is inexcusable and Pope Benedict XVI has a right to be saddened over this and to call the raids "Surprising and deplorable".

From Zenit: Pope Benedict XVI sent this letter to Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Malines-Brussels:

In this sad moment I would like to express my particular nearness and solidarity with you, dear brother in the episcopate, and with all the bishops of the Church in Belgium, in the wake of the surprising and deplorable manner in which the searches were carried out in the cathedral of Malines and the place where the Belgian episcopate was gathered in a plenary session that, among other things, was also to have treated matters connected with the abuse of minors by members of the clergy.

Many times I myself have stressed that these grave deeds must be dealt with by the civil and canonical orders, with respect to their reciprocal specificity and autonomy. In this sense I desire that justice take its course, with a guarantee for the fundamental rights of persons and institutions, in respect to the victims, in recognition without prejudice of those who are committed to cooperate with it and in the rejection of all that casts a shadow on the noble work assigned to it.

Assuring that I accompany the journey of this Church daily in prayer, I very gladly convey my affectionate Apostolic Benediction.

There is a right way at getting at the truth regarding the priest sex abuse scandals and this isn't the right way to go about finding out the truth.  The Belgian police vandalized or violated graves. That is just sacreligious.  Let us keep all those who have been sexually abused in our thoughts and prayers.


Most Rev. Gregori said...

Don't think it can't happen here? Just wait.

Christopher said...


Hmm, how long did it take for the Vatican to acknowledge and make right it's charges of heresy against Galileo,,400 years.

Maybe if Belgium tactics were in force then Galileo would not have to recieve the news postumously.

Now that was a matter of science vs. Church dogma. This is a whole other matter that goes way beyond heresy involving real people ruined by evil ones and if the Vatican knows it, it should come forward forth with and no such raids would occur.

Christ said (not verbatim); Give onto Ceasar what is Ceasars' and give onto God what is Gods'.

Translation; We have to abide by mans' law but must LIVE by Gods'.

In both cases the Vatican is not.

If there is a charge against a 'bad cop' we all, including the police force which they are attached want an IMMEDIATE investigation which is justifiable and if found guilty, either dismissal or jail depending on the severity. Do we wait while the police force obuscates and subsequently the charges go away? NO!

I ask, what is the difference here?

Kody's, "The Bull Stops Here" said...

Liberalism does not come out too well either. When it appeared that health-care-reform legislation would not pass, a chorus of liberal voices, in and out of government, rallied around the notion that the American political system “sucks.” So there you have it.

Liberty said...

So I don't know the whole situation here, but it sounds to me like there's fault on both sides.

The Belgian police are investigating a pedophilia case. Sorry you all have some sleaze-ball priests who have a penchant for little kids. Maybe that should provoke some more rigorous standards among your clergy. But meh.

The police could probably have handled the situation better. But then again, molestation of a child is a pretty serious charge, and if the police believed they were being lied to, then they had every right to go in and make a search, so long as said search was in accordance with the laws of their country.

Sorry if that sounds harsh. But I don't think child molestation should be taken lightly nor excused, nor should investigation be done half-way, even if it is a "holy man" who committed the crime.

Teresa said...

Most Rev. Gregori,
I hope we can prevent that from happening here. But our religious freedom and/or religous speech is getting trampled on left and right.

Teresa said...

There is a difference between police doing their jobs and their using Gestapo-like tactics. Hypothetical here: Would you want a police officer to turn over an urn of a relative of yours while doing a raid on your house or relative's house while trying to find out the truth about a crime?

I do not object to a raid being done but I do object to how the raid was carried out.

If you read up on the Church abuse scandal then you would realize that the Church has done a lot since the abuse became public. And, how the civil authorities have been lacking in fulfilling their duties to enforce the law. I am not excusing the priests' criminal and inexcusable actions but you have to put things into perspective and realize that a small number of priests- 1.7% of out of all the priests in the world- committed the abuse.

Here is the truth about the Church and Galileo:

Teresa said...

Yes, liberalism has infected the Church but Traditional Catholicism or Tradition is making a comeback within the Church. Actually, liberalism is the main ingredient or cause in the sexual abuse cases. Priest Sexual abuse didn't happen where priests adhered to Church Tradition.

Here is a good article:

Thank you for your comment.

Teresa said...


"The police could probably have handled the situation better. But then again, molestation of a child is a pretty serious charge, and if the police believed they were being lied to, then they had every right to go in and make a search, so long as said search was in accordance with the laws of their country.

Sorry if that sounds harsh. But I don't think child molestation should be taken lightly nor excused, nor should investigation be done half-way, even if it is a "holy man" who committed the crime."

I agree. I don't disagree with the raid or a raid per se but these actions-"even going so far as to drill into the tombs of two deceased cardinals"- committed by the police are inexcusable and not justifiable IMO.
Yes, the priests or whomever covered up the abuse should be held responsible (if priests or others did cover abuse up). WE must find out the facts and not go by perception. If the police were following correct protocol in holding the priests for over 9 hours, then I'm fine with that but it just seems a little over the top like it was more of a vendetta then the police being on a mission to find out the truth.

I Ain't Got No Blog said...

If only we Americans could be so bold.

Christopher said...


You cannot have your cake and eat it to.

It is the reason of the Church's percieved right and it's constant obuscation that causes the "civil authorities have been lacking in fulfilling their duties to enforce the law".

Then when those civil authorities actually fulfill those duties you claim they are lacking in, you go and pillory them.

As to your percentage offered of priest's committing these crimes, well that only offers a look at what has been uncovered thus far and all the more reason for the raids.

I would really love for you to sit down with a victim and layout your arguement though as I believe thier testimony would be far more compelling than that of yours or mine.

Teresa said...

For some reason you are missing my point. So, you would be okay with the police drilling and digging up your relatives graves?

There is a difference between legitimate police searches and seizures versus violating protocol. Your disgust and hate for the Church is clouding your judgement. If this was the police searching any other religious Church or a conservative group in the United States like they did in Belgium I make you a bet you would be appalled and crying foul against the search.

The Church cannot file charges or arrest the priests. Even if the priests are defrocked the prisests in accordance with Canon Law 1) the Church no longer has a clue where they might be and 2) It is the civil authorities responsibility to charge the priests not the Church's.

I was "assaulted" and was "screwed" by a Catholic institution so don't even go there with this unfounded accusation-- "You cannot have your cake and eat it to". I have always spoken out against the abuse and you know it, so don't go there. I am not letting this blind me from reality but it seems your hatred of the Church is blinding you from seeing reality.

In this case you are listening to the liberal media when at any other time you wouldn't be taking their word at face value.

Here are examples of priest sex abuse:

"In The United Methodist Church, adjudicating cases of sexual misconduct by clergy has cost us $100 million in the past 10 years alone. (And those are just the cases we know about. There is no central repository for such records. So, if you don’t have enough money to pay your pastor’s salary, give scholarships to all your college-age members, or send a mission team to build a well in Haiti, this is one reason why.)

Beyond that, so far in 2010, the churchwide Commission on the Status and Role of Women has fielded 40 complaints of alleged sexual abuse against women, children and men by United Methodist clergy and laity in ministerial/church leadership roles."

Sexual abuse happens in all religious denominations and faiths-

Christopher said...


Hate? Really? Disgust to be sure but not hate. I have never stated that word in regards to the Church and you know that.

On this matter of what tactics to utilize on gettting to the bottom of this we will simply have to agree to disagree.

I might add that all of us pray that the abuse stop once and for all no matter the outcome of any investigation, as that is what matters the most and believe we can all agree on that point.

God Bless and Peace.

Liberty said...

I think we also need to remember that this did not happen in America. Belgian police procedures might be (and probably are) radically different than America's. Something that would not be OK in America might be acceptable there.

Teresa said...

You may not have specifically stated "hate" but your words came across with a tone of hate. A person can have disgust and outrage toward the unconscionable and criminal acts committed by the priests and still believe in finding the truth out legitimately within the confines of the law.

Yes, we will have to agree to disagree on this matter.

Have a great day :)

Teresa said...

That is a good point. But, sometimes laws are unjust ( or in the U.S. unconstitutional), go against humanity or what is right, and need to be changed. If people just accepted laws at face value just because a government said they were okay, then Nazi Germany may still exist today and slavery may still exist in the U.S. today. I am not saying that drilling a grave is equivolent to mass murdering Jews but there were laws that preceded that horrific tragedy and the drilling of graves just doesn't seem right to me.

Teresa said...

Here is an excellent article explaining how Cardinal Danneels in Brussels enabled the problems for three decades and the problems were public knowledge much of that time. So, how did they get away with it?