Pope accepts sex abuse Belgian bishop's resignation

23rd April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Pope Benedict XVI on Friday accepted the resignation of Belgian Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who has admitted sexually abusing a boy, the Vatican said.

His resignation was accepted under a canon law provision for "illness" or unspecified "other serious reasons," the Vatican said in a communique.

Vangheluwe, 73, who headed the Bruges diocese, was the first bishop directly implicated in sex abuse to resign since a wave of scandals involving Roman Catholic priests began sweeping Europe and the Americas in November.

In May last year however then Bishop Georg Mueller resigned after admitting to sexually abusing a choirboy in Norway 20 years ago.

The case came to the Vatican's attention in January 2009, spokesman Federico Lombardi said earlier this month, noting that legal action against the German prelate was dropped because the statute of limitations had expired.

On Thursday the pope also accepted the resignation of Irish Bishop James Moriarty, named in a damning report that found Catholic authorities in the Dublin archdiocese concealed abuse of children by priests for three decades.

The resignation of Moriarty, also 73, was the fourth to be approved over the scandal in Dublin, Ireland's biggest archdiocese.

The investigation found Church leaders there did not report abuse to police until the 1990s as part of a culture of secrecy and an over-riding wish to avoid damaging the reputation of the Catholic Church.

One priest admitted to sexually abusing more than 100 children, while another confessed that he had abused children on a fortnightly basis over 25 years.

Similar revelations across the world have rocked the Roman Catholic Church, and one of Germany's top bishops, Bishop of Augsburg Walter Mixa, offered his resignation to the pope Thursday after admitting he beat children at a Catholic orphanage in the 1970s and 1980s.

© 2010 AFP

0 Comments To This Article