A friend of mine many years ago knew a priest who was accused of sexual abuse. The priest denied it with tears, saying it was all a fabrication. My friend believed him and hired the best defense lawyer in town and got the priest off.
Then the priest was accused again.
My friend asked him, “What gives?”
The priest responded, “You don’t understand, the kids enjoy it.”
Bishop Vangheluwe of Belgium was accused of abusing his nephew. The bishop admitted it and the nephew recorded the conversation.
But the statute of limitations had run out, and Vangheluwe could not be prosecuted. The Vatican has ordered Vangheluwe to leave Belgium, but the bishop continues to give interviews.
Bishop Roger Vangheluwe defended himself on television by saying the abuse he committed was only “superficial.”
Vangheluwe, who quit his post and went into hiding a year ago after admitting to molesting a nephew, confessed in the interview on Thursday evening that he had molested a second one.
In his interview, Vangheluwe told VT4 television he was sorry for molesting his nephews but did not consider himself a pedophile or see the acts as anything serious.
“It had nothing to do with sexuality,” he said. “I have often been involved with children and I never felt the slightest attraction. It was a certain intimacy that took place.”
“I don’t have the impression at all that I am a pedophile. It was really just a small relationship. I did not have the feeling that my nephew was against it, quite the contrary.”
“How did it start? As in all families: when they came to visit, my nephews would stay over,” Vangheluwe said.
“It began as a kind of game with this boy. It was never a question of rape, or physical violence. He never saw me naked and there was no penetration.
“I don’t in the slightest have any sense I am a paedophile. I don’t get the impression my nephew was opposed, quite the contrary,” he added, before admitting “I knew it wasn’t good, I confessed it several times.”
Imitating his spiritual ancestor, Archbishop Leonard has washed his hands of the matter:
Brussels Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, who is head of the Belgian bishops conference, has caused controversy by saying the Church had no obligation to compensate victims.
Pedophiles justify their actions to themselves by saying that the children enjoy it, that they are initiating them into sex, that it is a trivial mater and why does everyone have to get excited.
How widespread is this attitude among the clergy? A bishop has it.
Confession is also an issue. At one time the practice of auricular confession was rigorous. Penitents were not given absolution until they had demonstrated reform and performed the assigned penance. Then Alphonse de Ligouri emphasized mercy and easier penances.
An Australian priest had abused for decades and said he went to confession hundreds of times. He was given absolution hundreds of times. Something is wrong withtnat
What has gone wrong?
Serious sins need serious penances, not three Our Fathers.
There has also been a flattening of the concept of mortal sin, in which sexual fantasies are deserve hell as rape, incest, child abuse, and genocide.
The Catholic Church as a bigger problem than just pedophiles in the clergy.
If the Vatican laicizes Vangheluwe, they lose all control of him. What should the pope do?