The Belgian police raid on St Rambout's Cathedral is quite unprecedented and very worrying. I understand that the Church is being persecuted for all of the wrong reasons, but it does appear that the State in Belgian has gone way over the top in their methods of investigating the child abuse scandal there. Drilling into tombs and violating the dead is, well, uncalled for. Exactly what on earth did they hope or expect to find in the tombs of two dead Cardinals?! "We got the evidence! We found the papers documenting child abuse in his decaying hands! Talk about taking secrets to the grave. This stuff is dynamite!"
Courtesy of BBC
Courtesy of BBC
The Vatican has stepped up its criticism of raids by Belgian police investigating alleged child sex abuse, calling the detention of priests "serious and unbelievable". Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, said "there are no precedents, not even under the old communist regimes". He claimed the priests were held for nine hours without eating or drinking. Several buildings of the Belgium Church were searched on Thursday. Bishops holding a meeting there were barred from leaving the premises for several hours. "It was sequestration, a serious and unbelievable act," said Cardinal Bertone.
Police in Leuven seized nearly 500 files and a computer from the offices of a Church commission investigating allegations of sex abuse. They also searched the Church's headquarters, the Brussels archdiocese in Mechelen, north of the Belgian capital. Prosecutors have said the raids were over alleged "abuse of minors committed by a certain number of Church figures".
On Friday, the Vatican voiced "astonishment" at how the raids have been carried out, saying police had drilled holes in two archbishops' tombs. The Vatican said the raids had led to the "violation of confidentiality of precisely those victims for whom the raids were carried out". The Vatican has summoned the Belgian ambassador to the Holy See to voice their anger at the incident. The Catholic Church in Belgium has apologised for its silence on abuse cases in the past.
I sincerely hope this isn't the beginning of the 'best excuse for persecuting the Catholic Church since there was a big fire in Rome' being used for a good old Communist-era hounding, persecuting and crushing of the Church by an increasingly arrogant and strong-armed State. We know how many laws are made in Europe which affect all of us.