Belgian bishop resigns after complaint filed

Posted Apr 23, 2010 by Bart B. Van Bockstaele
Flemish Catholic bishop Roger Vangheluwe has resigned after his nephew filed a complaint three days ago with the commission for sexual abuse of children by the clergy.
Bishop Roger Vangheluwe  Brugge diocese
Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, Brugge diocese
De Standaard, a leading Dutch-language Belgian newspaper, reports that the resignation of paedophile Catholic bishop Roger Vangheluwe may not have been motivated by feelings of guilt and difficulties to "heal," as suggested earlier. The victim of the sexual abuse has demanded for many years that the bishop resign.
There have been several scandals about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church of the Netherlands over the past few months, which have encouraged a number of Belgians to come forward and to file complaints. During the past two years, the commission handling complaints of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church of Belgium did not get a single complaint, but during the past few months, it has received 20 complaints.
One of these complaints was filed by a man who is a nephew of Bishop Vangheluwe, and who claims that he had been abused by the bishop for several years. Only this week did he file a complaint after many years during which he had asked the bishop to resign several times.
The bishop said in his statement that he has apologised several times to the victim and the family, but he did not resign.
Because of the current scandals in the church, the victim said he felt that old wounds were being reopened. He wanted to talk, and Bishop Vangheluwe agreed to a meeting on April 5. Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the former head of the Belgian Church and a personal friend of Bishop Vangheluwe, was present at the meeting, and not current archbishop André-Mutien Léonard.
The conversation ended with Cardinal Danneels offering to have a second meeting. That meeting did not take place and the victim then filed his complaint on April 20.