Not only does the Roman Catholic Church have pedophiles in its ranks — as most people now realize, even if at one time they preferred not to — but it also has unrepentant pedophiles-in-denial in its ranks. Time magazine reports on a Belgian bishop who admitted to molesting his nephews but who insists he’s not a pedophile and says it was just a game (WebCite cached article):
The Belgian Catholic Church must have felt it hit a nadir last year when it had to face harrowing revelations of rampant child sex abuse among its priesthood. However, the church’s reputation is now at a new low, thanks to the ill-judged comments of the disgraced former Bishop of Bruges, who in April 2010 admitted to abusing his nephew. Belgians have been left in open-mouthed disbelief after the airing of a TV interview with Roger Vangheluwe in which he glossed over his history of abusing children.
Speaking on Belgian television on Thursday evening, April 14, Vangheluwe, 74, said he had in fact abused a second nephew as well. That would have been shocking enough: last year, when Vangheluwe initially owned up to the abuse — and stepped down as bishop — the move unleashed a flood of revelations by other victims of abuse in the church.
The former bishop downplayed what he did:
But it was no tearful confession that Belgians witnessed on Thursday. Looking relaxed and sometimes smiling, Vangheluwe described the sexual abuse as no more than “a little piece of intimacy.” While he claimed to recognize that he had done wrong and said he often went to confession about it, Vangheluwe played down his actions. “I had the strong impression that my nephew didn’t mind at all. On the contrary. It was not brutal sex. I never used bodily, physical violence,” he said.
Ah. I see. So in the ex-bishop’s mind, sex with minors is just fine, so long as it’s not violent. OK. Got it. I don’t agree, of course … nor do most of the world’s legal systems … but I got it.
Other Belgian bishops, to their credit, condemned Vangheluwe’s downplaying of his immorality and criminality, yet the ex-bishop remains a priest in good standing in the Church, and there is no known effort underway to defrock him. The Vatican seems happy to continue calling him one of its own.
Photo credit: Beliefnet.Tags: abuse, belgian catholic church, belgium, bishop, bruges, catholic church, catholic clergy, catholic clerical abuse scandal, child abuse, clerical child abuse scandal, denial, holy see, pedophile, pedophiles, priestly pedophilia, roger vangheluwe, roman catholic, roman catholic church, vatican, vatican city