Vatican names Belgian bishop's successor amid abuse scandal

25th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Vatican on Friday named a successor to the bishop of Bruges in Belgium, Roger Vangheluwe, who resigned after admitting child sex abuse.

In a statement, the Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI named Jozef De Kesel in place of 73-year-old Vangheluwe, who resigned in April after admitting sexually abusing a boy for years.

De Kesel was until now the bishop of the Bulna diocese and auxiliary at the Mechelen-Brussels archdiocese near Brussels, the Belgian Catholic Church headquarters raided by police on Thursday amid fresh accusations of child sex abuse.

The raid, involving dozens of officers and investigators, followed a string of accusations "denouncing abuse of minors committed by a certain number of Church figures," prosecutors said.

A Belgian committee probing priest paedophilia allegations has been flooded with hundreds of new complaints since Vangheluwe resigned.

Vangheluwe's resignation was the first at high level in Belgium related to the paedophilia scandal and allegation of cover-ups that have rocked the Roman Catholic church in Europe and the Americas in recent months.

The pope himself has faced allegations that, as archbishop of Munich and later as the Vatican's chief morals enforcer, he helped to protect predator priests.

In a bid to restore confidence within an increasingly sceptical flock, Belgium's bishops came together in May to publicly beg forgiveness from victims both for the actions of paedophile priests and for the Church's "silence" down the years.

© 2010 AFP

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