Verdict in Belgian police raid, but it’s secret

Belgian broadcast corporation VRT reports that a court in Brussels has decided that the investigation of abuse in the Catholic Church in Belgium may continue. That investigation started with a police raid on the offices of the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels, the cathedral, the office of the Adriaenssens commission, the home of Cardinal Danneels, and even the graves of deceased cardinals. The Belgian bishops and the nuncio who, as a diplomat, should enjoy diplomatic immunity, were held for almost a full day while police searched for evidence of abuse cases withheld from the courts. None, it now seems, was found.

The official court verdict, reached after the archdiocese lodged an official protest against the raid, is that the investigation may continue and that the examining magistrate responsible may remain in function. He did suffer criticism for his execution of the raid, it is said. However, the verdict itself remains secret.

Lawyer Walter van Steenbrugge (left), representing six of the victims, said: “We had expected to be able to respond to the verdict, but now we know nothing. This is beyond shameful. This is fundamentally at odds with one of the most important articles in the criminal code, which says that victims have the right to receive information about the state of their case. What’s now happening is the exact opposite, and in the context of these very delicate files of seriously aggrieved victims that is very strange.”

A positive side note is that all the files and items taken will have to be returned to the archdiocese, although the judge still need to officially announce that.

So, how further? Not in openness and clarity, I fear. Without a public verdict it will remain unclear if the raid was justified. The victims, who had submitted their cases to the Adriaenssens commission, are still in limbo, not knowing who, if anyone, will now help them.

Thank you, Magistrate Wim De Troy, for destroying what took courage and pain on the part of the victims to achieve.

Source.

A mosque in New York

Everyone will have heard of the plans that a mosque is to be built not too far from the place where the World Trade Center towers fell on 11 September 2001. Nor will the opposition in some quarters have gone unnoticed. Even our national madman, Geert Wilders, plans to protest the planned construction next month. You’d think he’d be too busy creating a coalition agreement he bears no responsibility for.

Anyway, back to the mosque (if only to keep the blood pressure down). I am, quite frankly, disappointed to see that Catholic websites, notably among them Rorate Caeli, join in the fear-mongering, painting a picture as if there is some holy war going on between Islam and Christianity. For the record, I am not a fan of Islam. I don’t agree with its tenets (I would have been a Muslim otherwise), and I think that it more easily leads to violence than most other faiths. But I will always support a Muslims right to express his belief and worship where he wants to (albeit not in Catholic churches, of course. Worship, but be sensible about it. Isn’t that one of the foundations of the Catholic faith>? I think so.

Photo showing the location of the proposed mosque relative to Ground Zero

Anyway, this mosque in New York, which won’t even be visible from Ground Zero, should be allowed out of the cherished freedom of religion that exists in the United States and most other civilised countries. And that freedom is not limited to Christianity, of course. It is thanks to this freedom, even though it is challenged more and more, that we Catholics can live our faith and worship in our own churches. To deny others the same right undermines the freedom we enjoy and renders it invalid. After all, freedom of religion is not a matter of faith or dogma. It is a legal measure, and as such not connected to any faith at all, and since it concerns all of society, that is where it belongs. Whether it is right or wrong can of course be discussed, like all legalities can, but as long as we make use of it and support it as Catholics, our protests when others want to exercise the same right have no basis in reality.

And as for the concerns that that mosque will tarnish the memories of those who died in 9/11? Rubbish. Any person capable of rational thought will realise that the terrorists acted out of terrorist motives. Perhaps their being Muslim made them more likely to be corrupted, but an unstable Christian runs the exact same risk. Look at the various crazy sects, founded on some misshapen form of Christianity, that exist.