Pontifigate: Flanders Ignites!

Mary Valle: It was a holy card from the bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, to the niece of his nephew with a message inside “on the importance of a healthy childhood” that so enraged his abuse-victim nephew; a close friend of his threatened to “email messages to all of Belgium’s bishops” spilling the beans. Vangheluwe, who resigned abruptly in April, is the first European to resign for abusing a child. He tersely acknowledged his molesting a “boy in my close entourage.” Maybe this is a translation problem, but suggesting that a prelate has an “entourage” which includes young boys is gamy at best. Also, the nephew had tried to bring attention to his abuse for nearly 25 years, enlisting the help of retired priest Rik Deville, who was “berated” by Belgium’s cardinal for bringing it up 14 years ago. De affaire Vangheluwe has kicked off a firestorm of “almost 500 people” complaining of abuse at the hands of priests; The bishop has retreated to a Trappist monastery, where awkward moments are most certainly now the norm.

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