Belgium vs the Catholic Church

Yesterday, Belgian police raided several Catholic locations, seizing bishops and records. The Catholic Church is livid.

The raid was ordered as part of a pedophile investigation. Records seized included those of Cardinal Godfried Danneels. The cardinal had been the head of the Belgium bishops for the last 20 years. There are allegations he has protected pedophilic priests for much of that time.

The Catholic Church has three basic arguments about the raid. The most frequent is the one that gives me pause — that Belgium had no right as the properties were sacrosanct/diplomatically protected. The implication of the argument is that if it’s owned by the Catholic Church it is part of the Vatican State. In addition there are the claims that it’s a fishing expedition done without basis, and the claims that there was excessive violence and abuse done during the raids.

The church is demanding all records returned, all arrestees released, and an apology be given.

I don’t know Belgium law so won’t comment on “rights” and “law”. Instead I’ll comment on a practicality. I suspect this little engagement is going to have significant repercussions regardless of what’s found. If it turns out Danneels’s records contain information about priests who were protected, the Catholic Church will take yet another hit in credibility. Given their track record on this issue, that’s what I expect to happen. However, it may turn to nothing, and in that case a lot of pursuits in the future will be stymied — and the Catholic church will gain credibility in the argument of whether they’re taking care of the problem.

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One thought on “Belgium vs the Catholic Church

  1. My dad and I used to argue about the Catholic church. For a multitude of reasons. One was me asking about how he could just ignore all the issues about how it seems to be an inordinate amount of priest touching little boys.

    He had no real response, other than to tell me how amazing it is that this institution has lasted 2000 years, and what other organization in history has lasted so long.

    OK, so he’s amazed at it’s longevity, but apparently hasn’t read much history. It’s an organization, like so many others, full of hypocrisy, as well as radical change in beliefs over the years. but ardent Catholics that defend this organization don’t want to know about it. They seem to think it sprung up the moment Jesus was born, and has been the same, solid ground for 2000 years.

    No justification for popes who (as examples) made a law that anyone practicing gay sex should be hanged (and that very pope was caught having gay sex), priests who got nuns pregnant, popes who suddenly decided priests shouldn’t marry, popes who decided that you can pay money to get into heaven. Argyle socks, that institution is a mess!

    I don’t think the world is going to let them hide their pedophiles much longer. Much like our military that has lowered its standards in order to keep the numbers up, I think the Catholic church has been so desperate to find men who don’t ever want to get married, that they take any recruits they can find, too…

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