Police are investigating accusations that the former archbishop, Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium
knew of sexual abuse in the church but failed to stop it, the Belgian prosecutor’s office stated July 6, 2010. Cardinal Godfried Danneels was archbishop of Belgium for more than 30 years before he stepped down in January.
Belgian police raided the national headquarters of the Catholic Church last month over allegations of child abuse, prompting an angry response from Pope Benedict XVI and other church leaders. Fernand Keuleneer, a lawyer for the archdiocese stated investigators seized archdiocese archives covering 25 years as well as personal computers and other personal possessions. Police raided the private residence of Danneels and the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Belgium, where a meeting of bishops was taking place. They detained the bishops and other church employees including the cook for about nine hours, De Beukelaer.
Members of a Belgian church commission taht worked with people who have been abused by clergy members and helped sexual abuse victims resigned en masse to protest the raid a week after it took place, a spokesman the Rev. Eric De Beukelaer, for the Mechelen-Brussels Archdiocese stated.
The Belgian Prosecutor’s Office stated it is investigating death threats against witnesses and magistrates involved in clergy child abuse cases. The Vatican criticized the raids but reaffirmed its “strong condemnation of any sinful and criminal abuse of minors by members of the church.” It cited “the need to repair and confront such acts in conformity with the law and teachings of the Gospels.” The Catholic Church is facing allegations that clergy members abused children in at least half a dozen countries, including the pope’s native Germany, as well as Belgium, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands and the United States.
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