Pope on Raids of Belgian Church Offices

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the letter Benedict XVI sent today to Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard of Malines-Brussels, and president of Belgium’s episcopal conference, regarding the raids carried out Thursday by police on the archdiocesan cathedral and on Church offices. Officials report that the police were looking for documents regarding the sexual abuse of minors.

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To our Venerable Brother
Monsignor André-Joseph Léonard
Archbishop of Malines-Brussels
President of the Bishops’ Conference of Belgium,

In this sad moment I would like to express my particular nearness and solidarity with you, dear brother in the episcopate, and with all the bishops of the Church in Belgium, in the wake of the surprising and deplorable manner in which the searches were carried out in the cathedral of Malines and the place where the Belgian episcopate was gathered in a plenary session that, among other things, was also to have treated matters connected with the abuse of minors by members of the clergy.

Many times I myself have stressed that these grave deeds must be dealt with by the civil and canonical orders, with respect to their reciprocal specificity and autonomy. In this sense I desire that justice take its course, with a guarantee for the fundamental rights of persons and institutions, in respect to the victims, in recognition without prejudice of those who are committed to cooperate with it and in the rejection of all that casts a shadow on the noble work assigned to it.

Assuring that I accompany the journey of this Church daily in prayer, I very gladly convey my affectionate Apostolic Benediction.

Vatican City, June 27, 2010

[Translation by Joesph G. Trabbic]
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