Pope blasts police raids on Belgian Catholic Church

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Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday criticised the "surprising and regrettable methods" of police who raided Belgian Catholic Church property last week as part of a paedophilia probe.

The pontiff's criticism of the police search came in a message of support to Brussels Archbishop Andre Joseph Leonard, the head of the Belgian bishops' conference, published by the Vatican on Sunday.

"I want to express, dear brother in the Episcopate, as well as to all the Bishops of Belgium, my closeness and solidarity in this moment of sadness, in which, with certain surprising and regrettable methods, searches were carried out including in the Malines cathedral and in the premises where the Belgian episcopate was meeting in plenary session".

© 2010 AFP

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