Abuse committee in Belgium now obsolete?

That’s a serious question being asked by chairman Peter Adriaenssens, following police raids in the offices of the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels, the cathedral of St. Rombout, the home of Cardinal Danneels and also the offices of the committee which is investigating abuse cases in the Church in Belgium. That committee, Adriaenssens explained, deals with old cases, some 450 of them, which fall under the statute of limitations. Current cases, which may still be investigated by the police and handled by the courts, are subject of an agreement between the committee and the Justice Department, and will be handled by the latter. Why the police then saw it fit to seize the 450 files of cases they can’t do anything about, is a question.

It certainly seems to make Addriaensens’ work obsolete. His committee will meet on Monday to decide of they’ll dissolve.

The chairman says he fears for the privacy of victims and offenders, many of whom have expressly requested protection of their report and data.

All this seems like a serious stab in the back. Justice and the Church in Belgium had agreements that said that current cases be dealt with Justice, while older cases which fall under the statute of limitations will be investigated by Addriaenssens and colleagues. That way the Church took her responsibility in clearing up the crimes committed in the past and bringing offenders to justice. That has now become impossible. All the work that the committee has done has been taken from them, and much related information has similarly been seized from the archdiocese and Cardinal Danneels’ personal effects.

Justice has merely declared they are looking for evidence that will fit into a recently opened case file which was opened after ‘a declaration of old facts’. Whatever that may mean, exactly.

4 thoughts on “Abuse committee in Belgium now obsolete?”

  1. The raids in Belgium are long overdue. Even Mr. Addriaensens has complained in the past of the bishops and the church not being transparent, honest and sincere in its dealings with his commission. The Church cannot and will not investigate itself. Mr. Addriaensens’ commission gave the Church the cover story that it was doing it all it could to rout out abusers it simply became a vehicle for the Church to know in advance what issues it was going to have to face.

    I am so proud of the Belgium police for their willingness to pull even further back the veil of deceit and corruption that is rife in the church and reveal that these men do not warrant protection and respect. The public is sick and tired of the stalling and obfuscation on the part of the church. The church is a dying beast. As such, the beast will say and do whatever is necessary to survive. It is sickening and disgusting the behaviors that have been allowed to occur at the expense of the innocents. No more excuses. Crimes must be punished. We are moving in the right direction of holding these buffoons, hiding behind the cloak of Jesus, accountable.

    1. Investigating herself is exactly what the Church has been doing, through the committee. It is way overdue, yes, but it is happening now. Well, it was at least.

      The main problem here is that the police tried to find evidence of past cases. Cases which they can’t do anything with because they happened many years ago. The Church in Belgium created the committee headed by Prof. Adriaenssens to nonetheless investigate those cases, and suddenly the police show an interest. I call that suspect.

      And from the victims’ point of view, which is of most concern here: the trust they placed in the committee has been destroyed. Their privacy, their information now taken away for who knows what?

      And breaking into crypts to find ‘hidden rooms’? I’m sorry, but that is way out of line.

      1. This also raises questions about the worth of agreements with the Belgian judicial authoroties. The committee headed by prof. Adriaenssens was established in agreement with the same authorities who conducted yesterday’s search.

  2. “I am so proud of the Belgium police for their willingness to pull even further back the veil of deceit and corruption that is rife in the church and reveal that these men do not warrant protection and respect. The public is sick and tired of the stalling and obfuscation on the part of the church.”

    This kind of dumb comment is become cliché these days. Not that such comments are surprising. The media has potrayed the Church in a very negative (and unjust) light.
    Of course some priests and bishops DID do what they are accused of, unfortunately.
    The need for purification is certainly there, no doubt about that. Yet it will not be accomlished by using methods similar to those of the Nazi SS.

    I fear the Church has yet to face worse attacks from the secularized world.

    The action of the Belgian police represents a precedent for open persecution of the Church, in my opinion.

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