Belgian bishop denounces church's 'guilty silence' on abuse
Belgium's top Roman Catholic bishop has denounced the "guilty silence" of church officials in the paedophile priest scandal that has rocked much of Europe and the United States.
"For decades, the Church, like other institutions, has badly managed the problem of paedophilia in its ranks while it had an evangelical obligation to protect the dignity of these children," Leonard says in his Easter homily.
"With a guilty silence, it often gave preference to the reputation of certain men of the Church over the honour of the abused children. We must, by declaring the truth, restore their dignity which was abominably exploited," says Leonard.
"The recent letter of Pope Benedict XVI to Catholics in Ireland is an example of what must be done," he added, referring to the pope's pastoral letter expressing shame and remorse for the victims' suffering and admitting that Irish bishops made serious errors in responding to the sexual abuse allegations.
Leonard's comments also came as the pope himself faced allegations that when he was archbishop of Munich and later as the Vatican's chief morals enforcer, he helped to protect predator priests.