Following the outrageous television interview by Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, in which he denounced the sexual abuse of his nephews as ‘a game’ and something which he did not see as sexual, the Belgian bishops release a statement:

“We respond with shock to the interview that Roger Vangheluwe gave on Thursday 14 April to the commercial networks VT4 and VTM, and expressly distance ourselves from it. We are very extremely distraught by how Roger Vangheluwe minimises and whitewashes the facts committed and the consequences for the victims, their family, the faithful and the broader society. This is unacceptable. He apparently still does not realise fully the serious nature of this.

This interview does not fall in line with what Rome has requested from Roger Vangheluwe. We had faith that he would quietly retreat to a foreign location to reflect on his acts and to follow the spiritual and psychological treatment imposed by Rome.

This interview is extremely hurtful to the victims, their family and everyone who is committed to the issue of sexual abuse. The interview is also a slap in the face for the faithful. Like is they are undoubtedly left desperate and confounded. The tone of the interview is directly at odds with our effort, these last months, to take the issue of sexual abuse seriously, to listen to the victims and take the necessary measures.

Signed: the bishops of Belgium.”

It seems clear that Vangheluwe (I now refuse to honour him by calling him a bishop, even though he officially still is one) has an unhealthy view of his crimes. A ‘game’ involving handling genitals of two children… please! That’s horrible if committed by anyone, let alone if that person is a priest or bishop. I sincerely hope that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the means and will to let Vangheluwe realise what he has done, and that it is not something innocent.

It is time he takes his responsibilities serious and submits himself to the investigation and judgement of the Church, the people and ultimately our final judge, Jesus Christ.


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