Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard
This past week, Belgian police raided the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Belgian, as well as the home and office of recently retired Archbishop Godfried Danneels, during an investigation into the sexual abuse of children.
Rorate Caeli provides the full text of Pope Benedict’s letter to Abp. André Joseph Léonard, Archbishop of Mechlin-Brussels and President of the Belgian Episcopal Conference, responding to the unfortunate series of events:
I wish to express to you, dear Brother in the Episcopate, as well as to all Bishops of Belgium, my closeness and my solidarity in this moment of sadness, in which, with certain surprising and deplorable methods, searches were carried out in Mechlin Cathedral and in places where the Belgian Episcopate were assembled in plenary session. During that meeting, aspects related to the abuse of minors by members of the clergy were to have been treated, among other things. I have myself repeated numerous times that these grave facts should be treated by the civil order and by the canonical order in reciprocal respect for the specificity and autonomy of each one. In this sense, I wish that justice will follow its course, ensuring the rights of persons and institutions, in respect for victims, with the recognition, without prejudices, of those who wish to collaborate with it and with the refusal of everything that could darken the noble duties that are ascribed to it.
As Rorate Caeli notes, there is a “one-sideness” and “tone-deafness” to the papal remarks. The impression is exacerbated by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone,
Godfried Cardinal Danneels home was raided in Belgium by police searching for evidence in the sexual abuse of children. Belgium police also raided the offices of the Archbishop of Brussels, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard. This came on the heels of Bishop Roger Vangheluwe’s abrupt resignation after admitting to homosexual relations with a boy this past April.
Cardinal Danneels is well known as creative in his interpretations on Church teachings. Cardinal Danneels participated in writing Sacrosanctum Concilium, a document which influenced the complete rewriting of the liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. Which in turned fueled the liturgical abuse that most Catholic in the West are still being exposed to.
Under his watch as prelate of Belgium, a once devout and vibrant Catholic country, Belgium’s Catholic faith has been all but eliminated. Abortion, euthanasia, and homosexual unions have been legalized under his watch. In addition church attendance and religious/secular vocations are at their lowest not seen since that part of Europe was pagan.