(CNS) Belgians 'scandalized' by archbishop's remarks

In response to questions by commission members, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, president of the Belgian bishops’ conference, said he feared the consequences of compensating victims, because payments could also be demanded for “unhappy children born via artificial insemination” or facing the “psychological impact” of being raised by same-sex couples.

He also said he favored a “solidarity fund” for abuse victims when courts were unable to establish “direct responsibility” by institutions and said the church would contribute to the fund “in the same way that it already intervenes for victims of natural catastrophes or for the poor.”

Toon Osaer, editor of the church’s Kerk en Leven weekly and spokesman for Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop Leonard’s predecessor, said all nine serving bishops had been asked to testify to the commission, and “each has done in his own name. Archbishop Leonard wasn’t representing the Belgian church at that moment, only himself.”

However, he added that the “vast majority of people” had been “quite scandalized” by the archbishop’s manner of speaking, especially in response to questions at the Dec. 22 hearing.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Belgium, Europe, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

One comment on “(CNS) Belgians 'scandalized' by archbishop's remarks

  1. Paula Loughlin says:

    The headline from the article is misleading. If you read the article the following statement makes clear the Bishop is talking about the means and method of compensation not about denying it.

    “He told Catholic News Service Dec. 30 that Archbishop Leonard had been concerned that victims should seek initial redress via the justice system before expecting payments from the church.
    “His point was that the people who committed offenses should first be investigated and brought to court — only then, if the courts won’t provide satisfactory compensation, should the church see what it can do for them,” Osaer said.”

    The article also mentions the Bishop’s support for a fund to be paid into by the Church to compensate those victims who are not granted such compensation by the courts.