Rorate Caeli

Message of the Holy Father

To the dear Brother,

Abp. André Joseph Léonard,

Archbishop of Mechlin-Brussels,

President of the Belgian Episcopal Conference

I wish to express to you, dear Brother in the Episcopate, as well as to all Bishops of Belgium, my closeness and my solidarity in this moment of sadness, in which, with certain surprising and deplorable methods, searches were carried out in Mechlin Cathedral and in places where the Belgian Episcopate were assembled in plenary session. During that meeting, aspects related to the abuse of minors by members of the clergy were to have been treated, among other things. I have myself repeated numerous times that these grave facts should be treated by the civil order and by the canonical order in reciprocal respect for the specificity and autonomy of each one. In this sense, I wish that justice will follow its course, ensuring the rights of persons and institutions, in respect for victims, with the recognition, without prejudices, of those who wish to collaborate with it and with the refusal of everything that could darken the noble duties that are ascribed to it.

Assuring you that I daily accompany you in prayer for the path of the Church in Belgium, I gladly send you an affectuous Apostolic Benediction.

Vatican City, June 27, 2010.



New Catholic said...

I did not wish to make any comment in the post itself.

I add here that I really do not believe that the Church gains anything with a "Victimist" demeanor. This does not lead to any sympathy for a "Progressive" hierarchy that is almost absolutely rotten and is seen with great suspicion by Catholics and non-Catholics alike (in Belgium, with the exception of Archbishop Léonard, and in many other nations of Western Europe).


Anonymous said...

To New catholic :

I believe the Holy See is reacting because higher principles are at stake than the specific case of a BelgChurch hierarchy that is lacking of credibility, apart from Abp Léonard.

The questions at stake are, as clearly evoked by the papal statement, the freedom of the Church to live, the connections between Canon law and Civil law. Is the quick nomination of Bp de Kesel in Bruges the best way for Rome to restore this credibility ? I'm rather skeptical on that.

Belgian police and secular justice are going very far, a tad bit too far, in the pope's opinion. There is a difference between fair cooperation between Church and State and Soviet-like police actions, not forgetting the odd tale of secret files hidden in tombs.

We can have no sympathy for a failing Belgian hierarchy and still consider that the Church has to be respected by the State.
It shows by the way that, in contrast with the critcism about Vatican II having abandonned the principles of the Syllabus, post-conciliar Magisterium is constantly defending the basic principles of the Church as societas perfecta i.e. with her own Law.


New Catholic said...

Dear Alsaticus,

How are you?

I perfectly understand the points raised by you, and I believe you are right. Unfortunately, the message from the Holy See sounds one-sided and tone-deaf: the Church certainly does not need to be "popular", but it cannot be seen as oblivious.


Gideon Ertner said...

"There is a difference between fair cooperation between Church and State and Soviet-like police actions, not forgetting the odd tale of secret files hidden in tombs."

Oh, come on. I am a firm believer in the rights and privileges of the Church, and I am well aware that states sometimes abuse their power to persecute the Church. But if the Church in Belgium were a financial corporation whose former CEO was suspected of covering up instances of child abuse among his subordinates, no-one would think twice about the actions of the Belgian police in this matter. It has nothing to do with the Soviet Union and everything to do with Belgian history (i.e. L'affaire Dutroux).

The secular arm needs to have autonomy to pursue justice, even against Princes of the Church. So long as it is truly justice and not a witch-hunt. But in this case I cannot find it surprising that the secular arm will not trust those Princes. All Catholics should be delighted that the guilty are finally brought to justice.

New Catholic said...

You are right, Mr. Ertner.

Hestor said...

New Catholic - I thought you would never say the above. Thank God you are speaking your mind out once and for all.

Einstein once said that insainity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. May we say the church after Vatican II has an element of this?

SJH said...

"But if the Church in Belgium were a financial corporation whose former CEO was suspected of covering up instances of child abuse among his subordinates, no-one would think twice about the actions of the Belgian police in this matter. "

But of course, the Church is not a financial firm and does (or should) have a higher level of immunity from state intervention.

Dioceses keep secret archives about confidential matters (for instance records of dispensations from occult impediments to marriage or holy orders) which should not be open to inspection by the police and by this action were made so.

Bernadette said...

Why is the pope sending his Apostolic Benediction? He should be sending a list of excommunications of the offending Bishops and priests that are to occur, effective immediately...

John McFarland said...

The Belgian authorities acted like bums and jerks, as the Holy Father diplomatically noted. But since he couldn't straightfacedly offer any weightier criticism of the whole business, he quite prudently didn't try.

I would guess that the path of justice to which the Pope defers is going to be pretty ugly. Since the Belgian Church, like the Church of virtually every other nation, is both "politically" weak and profoundly corrupt, and still attracts more hatred from its traditional enemies than it deserves, it is a perfect target. Among other things, lay sodomy will find it a godsend for directing attention away from itself.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ertner writes:

:The secular arm needs to have autonomy to pursue justice, even against Princes of the Church. So long as it is truly justice and not a witch-hunt."

The problem is that many of our bishops are witches. Others are druids or sorcerers. This entire problem begins with heterodoxy. The perversion of the faith leads to the perversion of minors. That is why most of the victimisers are liberal clerics. While these sexual problems have always existed, we are seeing, at a time of revolution in the Church, a massive deline in morals across the board. The first task should be to remove the heretics, together with the perverts and inverts who have raped children. I support the raid on the Church in Belgium, except for the insertion of cameras into tombs, which was a bit silly and going too far, since these tombs were cleraly sealed. I say: tear down Daneels's home and look in his matress and in his walls.


Anonymous said...

Bernadette has said it well. And I am wondering why the Pope put de Kesel in to Bruges. What sort of a message does this send?


Tim said...

At the press conference on Friday, Archbp Léonard did not seem terribly perturbed by the incident. His concerns were that the confidentiality of those who contacted the commission looking into the paedophilia scandal could now be compromised, that the archiepiscopal staff would not be paid following the seizure of the computers, and that all the Belgian bishops were detained for 9 hours.

Contrary to the statement by Cardinal Bertone, whose propensity to exaggerate does not always serve our beloved Holy Father well, they were not deprived of food and drink! I have the feeling that Archbp. Léonard was sadly resigned to the regrettable consequences of the Danneels years.

Anonymous said...

Some people here clearly don't understand the danger. What happened in Belgium is really a precedence. Next time, when real persecution will begin, for reasons like "homophobia" or whatever, people will be less offended. That's how it works.

New Catholic said...

You could be right: which is why the hierarchy MUST NOT give secular authorities any cause for State intervention, as it has been the case in the systematic cover-up of pedophiles.

Mundabor said...

By the first reading I was rather surprised that the Holy Father would send such a message.

After careful second reading I would say that the message does not provide any "escape route" for the clergy under investigation. Still, nowadays the word "solidarity" is emotionally charged and does sound a bit whiny to me.

Perhaps a simple communication to the Belgian authorities, made quietly along diplomatic channels, would have been a better idea.

Anonymous said...

Very good question asked by P.K.T.P.

"And I am wondering why the Pope put de Kesel in to Bruges. What sort of a message does this send?


I was asking myself the same especially after the other liberal Auxiliary was promoted to the see of Namur, in order to destroy what Bp Léonard could have done there ...

It smells the Re-Bertone-Filoni same old, same old tactic : one semi-conservative in Bruxelles, two liberals in Bruges and Namur. So in the end, the liberal trend is winning and the Suenens/Danneelsian failure of BelgChurch is conforted.
Just like I wrote previously : the slow but constant degradation of the Church continues.


Martin said...

@ Alsaticus

I could not agree more.

The current pontificate is not fixing anything. The trend continues and the situation is worse in 2010 than it was in 2005. There is no end of the nightmare in sight.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that the investigators violated a series of rules of professional ethics. Of course they did have some serious suspicions and Cardinal Danneels is widely responsible for this but the investigating judge and the police behaved outrageously. There are strict rules for searching the files of lawyers/barristers and medical doctors in Belgium. A fortiori when it comes to the files of an Archbishopric. Let us not forget that a priest has no right to silence towards his bishop, whereas he may chose to keep silent when confronted by the police or the judge (under Belgian law at least). In other words, the investigating magistrate committed a serious violation of the rights of the (future) defendents.
It is interesting to talk to Belgian sollicitors and magistrates about this (although most will only speak their mind in private): many of them are outraged by the methods of their colleague and hope that he will be disciplined.

Paul Haley said...

One must understand Pope Benedict XVI in order to understand why he sent his message. You see, he really believes that the Church should take care of its own misdeeds and civil authorities should bow out. He believes that the power of binding and loosing was given to Peter and his successors, not to civil authorities. The only problem with this is that Church authorities have not fulfilled their responsibilities so the civil authorities had to step in. In the final analysis the Church has only itself to blame for this juridical intrusion into its own affairs.

There is also the matter of credibility involved here insofar as the Church is concerned. Can anyone imagine Pope St. Pius X presiding over such cover-ups and obfuscations as we have seen in the last 50 years? I cannot and therein lies the problem - how do I trust the catholic hierarchy to do the right thing on anything after being kicked around by the Modernists for the last 50 years? How do I put my spiritual life and the lives of my loved ones in the hands of these jackals? How do I trust those who have "canonical status and faculties" and yet allow the most egregious of actions in their dioceses, all the while calumniating and slandering traditional priests who have only one mission - the salvation of souls?

You see, my friends, we are at a crossroads in Church History and we either have Tradition or we do not. We either have a Pope who will act to restore Tradition, and confidence in the pews, or we do not. That is why I said in another post that I believed the FSSPX and other traditional orders would receive the canonical structure they need before the end of this year or else the entire mess would go up in flames. One cannot love both God and Mammon.