Belgian cardinal says he should've asked bishop to resign
The former head of the Belgian Catholic Church on Tuesday admitted he should have asked for the immediate resignation of a bishop who had confessed to the sexual abuse of a minor.
Instead, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who headed the church between 1979-2009, tried to mediate between the former bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, and his victim, according to a taped conversation between the cardinal and the victim of the abuse that became public.
"Because I suspected there were dissensions within the family (of the bishop) I thought a pastoral approach was appropriate," Danneels said in an interview to several Belgian media.
"I now realise I should've immediately encouraged Vangheluwe to resign," he said.
Danneels in April took part in a meeting between the 73-year-old and several members of his family, during which Vangheluwe recognised sexually abusing his nephew for 13 years, while he was a minor.
The cardinal had asked the victim to accept an apology from Vangheluwe, or at least not make his allegations public until the bishop retired a year later.
Vangheluwe resigned two weeks later.
Belgium is one of the countries worst hit by a rising tide of revelations of paedophilia by Roman Catholic priests in Europe and North America.
© 2010 AFP