Belgium hears ex-bishop Vangheluwe play down abuse
By BBC - BBC NEWS WEBSITE
Added: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 09:51:56 UTC
Former Belgian bishop Roger Vangheluwe has gone live on TV to talk about how he sexually abused two boys but does not see himself as a paedophile.
The Vatican has still to decide the ex-bishop's fate
Emerging from hiding, he revealed he had molested two of his nephews, and not one, as he confessed last year before resigning as bishop of Bruges.
He does not face prosecution because the abuse occurred decades ago.
"It had nothing to do with sexuality," he said, in comments that caused indignation among politicians.
Justice Minister Stefaan De Clercq said in a statement the Church authorities "had to take measures to stop the irresponsible behaviour of the former bishop".
"It is a slap in the face of his victims and all victims," the justice minister added.
The 74-year-old is believed to be living outside Belgium since being ordered to leave the country by the Vatican, which has yet to decide on his future.
A decision will be made "naturally taking into account the various aspects of this issue, starting with the suffering of the victims and the requirements of the justice system", Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP news agency earlier this week.
Wearing a blue smock over a black shirt, with no clerical collar showing, Fr Vangheluwe spoke to the Flemish-language VT4 channel's interviewer in a room at an undisclosed location.
"Of course I know that this was not good," he said. "I have confessed many times."
He had considered suicide but believed it to be a "cowardly act".
He described the 13 years of sexual abuse to which he had subjected one nephew from the age of five as no more than "a little piece of intimacy".
"How did it begin?" he said.
"As with all families. When they came to visit, the nephews slept with me. It began as a game with the boys. It was never a question of rape."
"I don't have the impression at all that I am a paedophile," he said. "It was really just a small relationship. I did not have the feeling that my nephew was against it, quite the contrary. It was not brutal sex."
Nick Cohen - The Spectator Comments
To be a racist in Britain, you do not need to cover yourself in tattoos and join a neo-Nazi party. You can wear well-made shirts, open at the neck, appreciate fine wines and vote Left at election time.
Brendan O'Neill - The Telegraph Comments
The rebranding of circumcision as 'child abuse' echoes the ugly anti-Semitism of medieval Europe
AFP - - Comments
Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm, a German court ruled
Katherine Stewart, R. Elisabeth... Comments
Religious Extremism In Public Schools: R. Elisabeth Cornwell & Sean Faircloth interviews author Katherine Stewart
NBC News - MNSBC Comments
A Roman Catholic church official was convicted Friday of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a groundbreaking clergy-abuse trial
Katherine Stewart - The Guardian 36 Comments
How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren
MORE BY BBC
BBC - BBC News - Scotland 97 Comments
"Governments do not have the authority to say what marriage is or to change its nature or to decree that people of the same sex can marry."
BBC - BBC News Science & Environment 45 Comments
Physicists have confirmed the ultimate speed limit for the packets of light called photons - making time travel even less likely than thought.
BBC - BBC News website 54 Comments
"The fact that I have had thousands of messages from around the world speaks for itself about the impact and the way people feel," he said.
BBC - BBC News website 154 Comments
A Jewish rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a stray dog it feared was the reincarnation of a lawyer who insulted its judges, reports say.