Sunday, May 01, 2011
Row breaks out in Belgium over Blessed Pope John Paul II
The acting Deputy Prime Minister, Laurette Onkelinx has attacked the acting Prime Minister, Yves Leterme for attending the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
She cannot understand why he is attending as Archbishop Leonard has not accepted any sense of ecclesiastical responsibility for the sexual abuse scandals in the Belgium church, especially given the financial support that the church receives from the state.
She is a socialist, so has an axe to grind even if there had been no scandal. The only party that is more hostile to the church is the Greens- and that is true across Europe generally.
Belgium has not had a real government for almost a year, as coalition negotiations have yielded nothing since the last general election on 13 June 2010.
She has not, however, attacked the Belgium King Albert II who was also present at the beatification this morning- he still retains significant powers in the formation of governments. But it was the King who asked the Prime Minister to accompany him. The distinction is drawn by LeSoir, one of the main Belgian dailies, between the elevation of Pope Benedict XVI and what is considered a purely religious ceremony.