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June 25th, 2010
11:24 AM ET

Vatican expresses shock over police raids following sex abuse claims

The Vatican is expressing "shock" over the manner in which raids were carried out Thursday in Belgium following accusations of child sex abuse involving church figures.

The Vatican in a statement Friday registered "strong shock for the manner in which some of the raids were carried out yesterday by the judicial Belgian authorities" and expressed indignation that two cardinals' tombs were violated.

"We also express our regret at some of the infringement of confidentiality, that those victims on whose name the raid were conducted have the right to."

The Vatican also reaffirmed its "strong condemnation of any sinful and criminal abuse of minors by members of the Church" and cited "the need to repair and confront such acts in conformity with the law and teachings of the Gospel."

Police raided the headquarters of the Belgian Catholic Church and searched for important documents in relation to their investigation, police spokesman Jean Marc Meilleur said on Thursday.  They also raided the home of  Godfried Danneels, the former archbishop of the Mechelen-Brussels archdiocese, according to several media reports.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sex abuse

soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. JRyan

    Don't spend decades hiding the fact that your employees are diddling children, don't have to worry about how they come looking for evidence later....that's what my mom always taught me.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  2. no one

    this needs to be the "norm" not the "exception". the catholic church needs to be held to the same laws as everyone else on the planet. wearing a funny hat does not mean you are in any way exempt from the law.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  3. relians

    hopefully this is the start. these people need to be treated like what they are, just another corporation stealing from people. it would be good to remove the tax free status from these types of businesses.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Tim

      Yes Yes Yes. I think all churches should have their tax exempt status removed. What makes them so special? How about the scientologists? What a bunch of freaks of nature these people are. I live near Clearwater FL and can tell you that this group could not be further from a religion and yet they get the tax exemption.

      June 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  4. Bill

    Remember this the next time you go to a Catholic church to worship:

    Priest's privacy, and the Church's reputation is more important than stopping pedophiles.

    I'm sure Jesus would agree. He ran around protecting the clergy's reputation instead of healing the sick, right? Totally his M.O.

    The Pope, the Church, the cardinals. They REFUSE to stop the abuse. They ENABLE the abuse. So as far as I can tell, they WELCOME the abuse. By attending their churches, by giving them money, by listening to their lies, YOU are participating.

    A pedophile's privacy and reputation is not worth more than a child's innocence.

    Pretty damned pathetic that an athiest has to give your Pope a lesson on morality.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Isis

      Bill,

      That was a very insightful comment, particularly the way you phrased - basically a complicit participation - by giving money to the Catholic Church, etc. I am not Catholic, but I do know, in my life there are many, many good Catholics. Many this is just like Politics - the worst ones rise to the top, and we all down here are Great and Wonderful. LOL.

      As for being an atheist, well, that's your chose - I practice Paganism, Buddhism and am an Astrologer. My mom's a devout Christian. I DO KNOW, there is a "Spiritual Basis" to our Universe. And you probably have that somewhere inside you, because God obviously made you very smart. love Isis

      June 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mer

      I completely agree =)

      Tho I have to say – it's really not surprising that an athiest has a better moral compass than organized religion. Just look at history – most of humanities worst atrosities have been done in the name of one God or another.

      The world needs more agnostics & athiests

      June 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  5. MST

    Robert, if you truely have such hate in your heart then it is you who should be concerned about your own soul. Or is hate not considered a sin in your religion?

    June 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  6. swampman61

    The church not just catholics should be burned to the ground this Corperation has nothing to do with God it worships Money and money only.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • TruthAndJustice

      They worship Mary too, don't forget that. lol!

      June 27, 2010 at 4:36 am |
  7. Isis

    What I have never been able to figure out is WHY "Catholic Priests" who abuse children are not thrown into prison with the rest of the Pedophiles. They end up "moved" by the Pope or Cardinals to some different jurisdiction. And I write this as an American.

    I am thankful for the Belgium Police (God Bless 'Em) for protecting children allegedly abused and treating those Priests like any OTHER citizens. Amen !

    June 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  8. Dain Rudolph

    Gospel? what Gospel? They are preachng a Gospel that's far from what Jesus preached otherwise their so called priests wouldn't be doing these things. Shocked? Can't wait untill God makes it fall, then they will be shocked. Tell me why are people still going to this church again? Can anyone say Blind???

    June 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • SurprisedByTruth

      "They are preachng a Gospel that's far from what Jesus preached otherwise their so called priests wouldn't be doing these things." – First, It is Ironic that you bash the majority of good priests because of the minority of bad ones. Second, in the holy Gospels Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior chose 12 apostles. Judas whom Jesus chose betrayed Him 'the Word made Flesh'. Judas had the free will not to betray Divinity but he did. Furthermore, Christ called Judas to holiness as his apostle but Judas said no and turned his back on the Divine Savior. Lastly, based on your statement Jesus preached a 'far from' Gospel for Judas to betray him because that would mean 1 of 12 was a traitor to omnipotence Himself. We have had many a Judas in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic church from day one. But we have also had many devoted disciples who have been martyred for faith. Let us read from the early church for inspiration – "Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." –St. Ignatius of Antioch A.D. 110

      June 25, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  9. Burbank

    The Vatican is shocked?? I guess the police are supposed to call first and tell them they are coming so they can have time to hide the evidence? Give me a break!!!

    June 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  10. Dan

    They are shocked because they thought they were above the law.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  11. Kate in San Diego

    I don't think they care at all about the victim's privacy.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • Isis

      Kate, you are a wise woman.

      They don't care AT ALL about the "victim's privacy". They care about THEMSELVES, or else a real Christian would have ferreted out child abuse - the greatest abomination, I feel in society - long, long, long ago. Yes, they are wolves in sheeps clothes, many of them, and that lame excuse about "privacy" is so transparent.

      June 25, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  12. deservedly so

    you had it coming to you Vatican, don't act so surprised. you did not answer to accusations, people are mad. they should be.
    Hear no evil, see no evil.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • brad

      they turn gods grace into sin when they abuse like this sad day when god is provoked to prove himself among ungodly then we will see who is our shield and deliverer not a god that protects unrepentant child abusers even the pharisees werent raping children openly and they werent worthy this bunch has devils in them period if you think not you know not the truth if you seek god seek him in truth and love this is like the pharisees but worse they even want to be called holy father jesus said call no man on earth your father we have one father god in heaven so that clears that up clearly if u have eyes and ears

      June 25, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  13. KamranGCW

    I think the Vatican should go and "vatican" themselves!!!

    June 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Bird

      that doesn't make sense

      June 25, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  14. paul

    the catholic church in no means is above the law, and they need to get over it and remove those that abuse and put them in jail.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • mark

      indeed..gone are the days when they could give brazil to portugal and everything else to spain...but perhaps old habits die hard (not a put down on nuns) 🙂

      June 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  15. tamars

    Comment to Joseph's reply: That would be BABYLON (the city state in Mesopotamia). Perhaps you will follow your own unkind advice and study spelling.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  16. Robert Vulich

    The Roman Catholic Church wouldn't know the Gospel of Christ if it hit them in the head! That foul organization is taking so many millions to Hell.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • Brad

      God, is that you condeming the Catholic people? idiot!

      June 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Jason B.

      Hey now...don't condemn all Catholics. Some of us actually think for ourselves instead of blindly following the Church.

      June 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • adventtruth

      They know it; they just chose to oppose it whilst pretending that they teach It. They have perfected the dark art of making truth a lie and lies the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)l

      June 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Petel2

      Billions. The parishioners still support them over the victims.

      June 26, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • jonathan

      YOur wrong Robert....many people are already going to hell...The Catholic Church is at least giving them some comfort on their way there..:)

      June 27, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  17. Cindy

    The abuse of children is a tragedy and hardly something to gloat over or joke about. Grow up and try to feel something real like compassion for the people involved in this situation rather than using it as an opportunity to make unfunny, snarky comments. Also, dear Jay, it's unlikely that mocking a person's faith is what will cause them to abandon it. Perhaps you could be salt and light and help lead the poor, "misguided" Catholics you seek to "inform" to the true faith as you, yourself see it. Pax.

    June 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • Matt

      Cindy, perhaps if Catholics actually taught people the bible in the past thousand years instead of keeping it in Latin, a lauguage they did not understand, and if they didnt burn people in fires because they owned a bible. Then it might mean something to belong to such an organization. You would condem the KKK for the things that there organization did, perhaps you should look at the organizations you join, and what they have done before defending them.

      June 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • MikinAZ

      But Cindy, belief is supernatural all knowing all powerful dieties is lunacy – and must be condemned for what it is...a form of mental illness. We can no longer sit by and allow those with religeous beliefs to walk around as if its ok. We can no longer allow ourselves to elect officials who govern based on "faith".

      June 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Sgstuck

      "true faith" seems to be a bit of an oxymoron in this case.

      And many non-Catholics do indeed feel compassion for the victims of child-abuse, which is precisely WHY we are hostile towards the Church for their mis-handling (to put it quite lightly) of the problem.

      June 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • brad

      i agree to know jesus would be to care for good and bad and want good things for both as all have fallen short of gods glory and therefore is one way to the father his son who he sends not to condemn the world but rather to save as many that repent and be baptised shall live so to you who havent known christ there is still hope for you in the lord of glory even though the time is upon us as in the flood so will he rise to shut the door seek why you may find him ask it shall be given you knock he shall open

      June 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
    • Ian

      @sgstuck: I agree with part of your statement and disagree with the other. I see nothing wrong with having and myself do believe on God though certainly not in the dogmatic view of pretty much every denomination. That being said I feel fundamentalism of ANY kind is dangerous whether it be Islamic, Catholic, Baptist, etc. People stuck in fundamentalism seem to behave in contrast to what I feel the overall message of religion is. And as for your feeling of Gov't leaders should not base their governing on belief: I am in 100% agreement. We can't legislate morality people! This is the United States and we all have different beliefs and morals. The idea is allow freedom totally not just freedom as long as it agrees with a leaders personal faith that infringes on others rights. Prohibition anyone?

      June 25, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • ChemMJW

      Sgstuck, are you equally hostile to Protestant denominations, school teachers, sports coaches, and any of the other random subsets of society that molest children at exactly the same (vanishingly small) rate as Catholic clergy? You see, if you're not, if you for some reason have singled out Catholics for special scorn, then you're not really such a bleeding heart pro-child-welfare crusader, you're simply an anti-Catholic biggot. Let those among the Catholic hierarchy who committed crimes be punished appropriately, and let that be in the end of it. No need for hysterics and other teary emotional rants that somehow suggest that Catholic clergy commit abuse at a rate ahead of society in general. They don't, studies show.

      June 25, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Govner

      The Consitution does not require animosity toward religion. It requires that no one religion is required by the government. A leader can certainly make decisions based on their personal beliefs. I am sure the agnostics and atheists would make decisions based on their own morals and ethics if they were the President or any other community leader. The US government was not founded on Christianity, but it was founded on the belief of a higher power or God. Most religions all believe in the same God, they differ in how they believe they will achieve eternal life.

      June 25, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • Sgstuck

      ChemMJW- if you noticed, I tried to show that my displeasure was with the church's HANDLING of the issue at hand, not necessarily their possibly-not higher than usual rate of molestation.

      What also upsets me about many Christians in this country is the hypocrisy-I enjoy "sinning" just as much as many Christian preachers, the difference is that I'm open about my acts and I'm not claiming authority on moral issues or
      condemning others for their ways (unless there ways are demonstrably harmful to others)

      June 25, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • jonathan

      Hey???? What's wrong with a little persecution....Jesus said to rejoice, and be exceeding glad..:)

      June 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  18. Joesph

    That is the Whore of Babalon.
    If you cannot get it right, Go back and study it,
    You might find out that it is NOT refering to the Catholic Church.

    June 25, 2010 at 11:55 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      Double Fail for pointing out a fail and failing yourself.

      June 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • jonathan

      You mean mystery Babylon...

      Looks like the Roman Catholic Church to me....

      it's biggest sin is PRIDE!

      She has daughters which would be the protestants...the only one's immune are those who are like the firstfruits..

      June 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  19. WOO!!

    Oh no I'm so shocked they raided it in such a manner; they didn't have time to hide everything!

    June 25, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  20. nachooooo libre

    i hope they find some really good condeming things so that this type of thing can happen again and again

    June 25, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • Ituri

      FINALLY!

      Its about time we stopped "respecting" church ground and treated them like the criminals they are and knowingly harbor.

      NOBODY is above the law, not any person or church or religion. Its past time the religious freebies stopped. Religions have proven time and again that they cannot, nor will they voluntarilly, police themselves. Time to make them suffer for their sins and hubris.

      June 25, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Ego

      Sorry? Religion is not above the law? Where did the law even find a basis to even exist? Psh...ignorant and arrogant statement.

      June 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      There was informal law before religion. Without such, society could never have formed. Tribes banded together to overcome mutual threats. Look up the hierarchy of needs. There can be law and morality without a god.

      June 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • hang-them-high

      I think what nacho was saying that the condemning evidence will help prevent this from happening again when it is proven, yet again, that the church hides the fact that they employ a bunch of pedophiles to conduct 'the Lord's business' and teach right and wrong and religious morality to the masses. I personally would like to see the collective catholic church (intentionally in lower case here) keep their pants zipped and prosecute their so-called victims (in truth those who perpetrated such crimes against helpless children).

      June 25, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • Boodyism

      Jesus, save me from your followers!!!

      June 25, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
    • mathi

      None of the paperwork recovered will be permissible in couert, they srewed up the raid.

      June 25, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Mickey D

      Sheesh, imagine that?
      The church is upset because the cops forcefully entered and violated the offices.
      Then again, the priests forcefully entered and violated the orifices.
      Doh!

      June 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • Bill M

      How I wish I could have seen it on YouTube! AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!

      No sanctuary for religion!!!!

      June 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
    • lisaada

      Why is this NOT happening in America?? These men are criminals and should be punished under the law like anyone else. There's nothing 'special' about them. Sexual predators-irregardless of what they do for a living- are scum and how the US perpetrators of these crimes are getting away with it. WHY???

      June 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
    • jonathan

      sorry to rain on you parade of responses below but the fact is religion is above the law...That's what religion is all about ...transcending the law, about prevailing above judgement, or justice...obtaining mercy...That's what Jesus came to do..To pay the price that we could never pay...The Law is a necessary response to actions we take..but mercy is an escape from those actions, which we deserve to face...This is why you come to the priests seeking forgiveness; but you seem unwilling to forgive them...Why????? Jesus said if you do not forgive men their trespasses then Your Father in heaven will not forgive you your trespasses...Now that's a law you cannot escape...Think about all your confessions in the confessional...Think about all your sins you want forgiven.....

      In no way am I justifying what the priests have done..they have created one more great, great barrier and wall for The great and everlasting and almighty God to overcome..

      June 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • JoeD

      Religion has become a big business and has less concern for morality than for profit. This pope stifled John Paul's reforms and made the Catholic church's symbol a cash register.

      June 28, 2010 at 7:41 am |
    • Bubba

      You fellas need to understand that this is why we are fighting with radical Islam right now: they consider civil law to be heresy. Every law must be based on the Koran. As soon as we ditch our civil law and put our country under the rule of one church, they will have no quarrel with us. In America, religion is subject to the law; move if that's too evil for you.

      June 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.