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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Head of the Belgian Church makes shocking comparison of comparing pedophilia and floods

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Le chef de l'Eglise belge choque en comparant pédophilie et inondations

The head of the Belgian Catholic Church, Andre-Joseph Leonard shocked MPs on Wednesday saying that the Belgian Church could compensate victims of pedophile priests, just as it has shown "solidarity with flood victims ".

"The Catholic Church could freely participate with all other sectors of society in the creation of solidarity funds, not because it is legally obliged, but because there is a duty of solidarity with all victims, not only of floods and epidemics, but also sexual abuse, "said the Primate of Belgium.

He spoke in particular cases where the abuser is dead or the actions under statute of limitations, for other cases being for him the responsibility of Justice.

Archbishop Leonard, a conservative at the head of the Catholic Church in Belgium since the beginning of the year, was speaking before a committee of the Chamber of Deputies set up after the publication of the testimonies of nearly 500 people accusing the clergy of abusing them during their youth, mostly from the 1950s to 1980s.

"You were provocative in comparing the victims of natural disasters and those of pedophile priests," responded the Flemish Green MP, Stefaan Van Hecke, saying that he himself was "deeply shocked".

"By saying that you would respond in the same way as to floods, you send a signal of indifference to victims, to be seen as misplaced irony", echoed the French-speaking Green MP Olivier Deleuze.

"This is a total failure to take responsibility," the Socialist deputy, Valerie Déom told AFP stressing the special role played by the Catholic Church in Belgian society.

Known for his controversial statements - he has recently described AIDS as a "kind of poetic justice" - Bishop Leonard has again ventured into the minefields at his hearing, which lasted four hours.

The Archbishop of Malines-Brussels has warned the Members of Parliament of risks for institutions - political, medical ...-- who have not committed crimes but might in future be called upon to give compensation.

"Medical studies say there is reason to believe that children who were conceived by artificial reproduction could after a while be more vulnerable to certain genetic diseases," he said, suggesting that some of these children seek redress from the legislator who authorized the practice.

"There are also people who are doing studies on the possible psychological sequelae of children who grew up with two moms or two dads. What will happen if people begin to ask for compensation?" he said.

Moreover, the Belgian courts have announced on Wednesday that much of the spectacular June 24 searches in the heart of the Church by a Belgian investigating judge were valid, dismissing the claim of the Archdiocese.

Seizure of documents at the headquarters of the Church in Mechelen and the home of Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop of predecessors Leonardo, are "valid," said the Court of Appeal in Brussels.

However, documents seized at the headquarters of the Adriaenssens Commission named after its chairman, who had heard the testimonies of victims, will be returned, the court decided.

"We are satisfied because the most important documents are being retained. The investigation will now be allowed to continue," exclaimed a lawyer for the victims, Joachim Meese.
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