Friday, September 10, 2010

Bishop of Bruges should face church trial

Mgr Vangheluwe doit être jugé, selon l'évêque de Tournai

The Bishop of Tournai, Guy Harpigny believes that Bishop Roger Van Gheluwe must have a canonical trial, he stated Friday in the columns of " Le Soir".

Bishop Harpigny is the prelate responsible in Belgium for sexual abuse cases involving priests. Only the Holy See is empowered to punish Bishop Van Gheluwe in the Church, he recalls. According to some canon lawyers, a trial could take place, the alleged crime being under statute of limitation, but according to the Bishop of Tournai, the pope could lift these limitations.

Bishop Harpigny had reservations regarding the call by Christian Democrat Senator and canon lawyer , Rik Torfs, who says Bishop Van Gheluwe must request to be reduced to lay status. "They want him to decide for himself about his sentence? Nothing forbids him from doing so, certainly. But for me, it seems that we cannot decide on such facts without trial. We must give sentence but we must also ensure the right of defense. I prefer the way which is more respectful of law and justice," he said. The residence of Bishop Van Gheluwe in the Abbey of Westvleteren is a temporary solution, stresses the Bishop of Tournai.

"It was he who decided to go there in the wake of his resignation. But it was only a temporary housing solution. In any case, a privilege. He must go. It is not healthy that he resides in the diocese presided over" he added.