Vatican Expresses Shock Over Raids in Belgium

Laments the Violation of Two Graves in Cathedral Crypt

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2010 ( The Vatican is expressing «shock» over a series of raids on Church offices in Belgium, which went so far as to drill holes in the graves of two former cardinals looking for secret documents regarding child sexual abuse.

The police arrived at 10:30 Thursday morning to the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels, where the bishops of Belgium were meeting for their monthly meeting. The authorities detained the bishops at the headquarters for nine hours as they searched the offices and the Cathedral of Mechelen.

At that time they drilled holes in two graves located in the crypt of the cathedral, and then sent cameras down in search of hidden documents.

In addition to the headquarters of the archbishopric of Brussels, the authorities seized some 500 confidential files In Leuven, Belgium, from the office of Peter Adriaensses, president of the commission for the treatment of sexual abuses. The home of former archbishop of Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, was also searched.

In a statement released today, the Vatican noted its «intense shock» over the incident, and noted its ‘indignation over the fact that there even was violation of the tombs of the very eminent cardinals Jozef Ernest Van Roey and Leon Joseph Suenens, deceased archbishops of Malines-Brussels.»

«Added to the consternation over these acts is the lament over some infractions of confidentiality, to which precisely these victims, for whom these investigations were carried out, have a right,» the noted added.

The bishops of Belgium stated in a communique that when the police arrived they announced that «there would be a search of the archbishopric, because of denunciations of sexual abuse in the territory of the archdiocese. No other explanation was given, but all the documents and mobile phones were confiscated and it was manifested that no one could leave the building. This state lasted, in fact, almost until 7:30 pm.»
«All were questioned,» the note continued. «Both the members of the episcopal conference as well as staff members. It was not an agreeable experience, but everything was carried out correctly. The bishops have always said that they have confidence in justice and in their work.

«The present search is accepted with the same confidence and because of this, for the moment, they abstain from making further comments.» 

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