Sunday, June 27, 2010

BBC News: Vatican upset that Belgian police investagate chruch officials for pedophilia

Last updated at 18:22 GMT, Sunday, 27 June 2010 19:22 UK

Pope Benedict has led Vatican criticism of raids by Belgian police investigating alleged child sex abuse, calling them "deplorable".

Several buildings were searched in raids that targeted a retired archbishop and the graves of two prelates.

Altar boy receiving special communion

Belgium's justice minister has responded to the criticism robustly. Stefaan De Clerck defended the police action, in a series of TV interviews on Sunday, saying the investigation is legitimate and normal procedures were followed.

"The bishops were treated completely normally during the raid on the archdiocese and it is false to say that they received no food or drink," he said.

Pope Benedict

Mr De Clerck said the Vatican's reaction was excessive and was based on false information.

Prosecutors said the action concerned alleged "abuse of minors committed by a certain number of church figures".

Geoffrey Robertson, a well known human rights lawyer and United Nations jurist, wants to see Pope Benedict put on trial for protecting predator priests.

He alleges that the same conduct reflected Vatican policy as approved by Cardinal Ratzinger (as the pope then was) as late as November 2002."Robertson wrote:

Sexual assaults were regarded as sins that were subject to church tribunals, and guilty priests were sent on a 'pious pilgrimage' while oaths of confidentiality were extracted from their victims." 
The New York Times also reported  that as a Cardinal, Ratzinger seemed to be resisting efforts to defrock a priest who molested children, waiting six long years before any action was taken.

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