Saturday, April 24, 2010

Vatican rocked as Belgian bishop admits abusing boy
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Belfast Telegraph

The Vatican's fightback against a lawsuit that names the Pope as a defendant in a sexual abuse scandal was mired yesterday by further abuse revelations and controversial comments from a senior Catholic cleric defending the Church's history of sheltering abusive priests.

As Vatican lawyers in the US moved to shield the Pope from the legal challenge, Belgium's longest-serving bishop announced he was resigning, admitting that he had abused a boy 25 years ago.

Roger Vangheluwe (73), who had served as Bishop of Bruges since 1984, made the announcement as Church officials confirmed that they were investigating 20 alleged cases of clerical abuse in Belgium.

He had a prominent role at the Catholic University of Louvain, where his sermons marked the start of the academic year. Earlier yesterday a Vatican official claimed that reporting clerical abusers to the police would breach their human rights.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos caused outrage earlier this month when it emerged that he had praised a bishop for protecting a paedophile. The 80-year-old Colombian, who was one of the most influential figures in the Vatican until he retired last year, defended the Church's sheltering abusive priests, saying that handing them over would have been like testifying against a family member.

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