Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels dies


This 11 September 2010 video by Australian broadcasting organisation ABC says about itself:

Pedophile Horrors in Belgium In Church, Politics, Social Services

No congregation escaped Belgian sex abuse. “It’s the Church’s Dutroux”, referring to mid-1990s trauma in Belgium + arrest of serial rapist / child killer Marc Dutroux, serving life for six rapes and four murders.

Read more here.

The video is also about the ‘Legionaries of Christ‘, an international Roman Catholic order, founded by a pedophile priest with close connections to Pope John Paul II.

Translated from Belgian (Roman Catholic) daily De Standaard today:

Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop Emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, died Thursday morning in Mechelen. Cardinal Jozef De Kesel reports this. Danneels was 85 years old. …

The role that Danneels played in the abuse case of Bruges bishop Roger Vangheluwe in 2010 is a blot on his career. Recorded conversations that Danneels had with Vangheluwe and a victim showed that Danneels had tried to cover up the affair.

The Standaard might have added the discovery during a police raid in Danneels’ archiepiscopal palace of secret photos about the scandal of Belgian child rapist and murderer Marc Dutroux.

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Belgian carnival anti-Semitism conflict


This 5 March 2019 video says about itself:

Belgium: anti-Semitism row over stereotyped Jews in carnival float

A float featuring stereotyped Jewish figures at a carnival near Brussels has been widely criticised as anti-Semitic. The float in the town of Aalst, 25km (15 miles) from the European Parliament, featured the grinning figures of orthodox Jews standing on large piles of money. Local Jewish organisations said it was “typical of Nazism of 1939“.

Anti-Semitic carnival float in Mainz, 1939 nazi Germany. Belga photo

This photo shows an anti-Semitic carnival float in Mainz, February 1939 nazi Germany. It shows an anti-Semitically stereotyped Jew, with the caption ‘Purely Aryan’ on his hat. A sign says: Aryan business. The float mocks Jews who, according to nazi propaganda, cheated, claiming falsely that their businesses had become ‘Aryan’.

That 1939 nazi float photo ‘is a black and white version of the recent Aalst carnival float’; Christoph Busch says. According to Busch, there were many more similar anti-Semitic carnival floats in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mr Busch is the director of the Holocaust memorial museum in the former SS Mechelen transit camp. During World War II, the German occupiers deported from that camp over 25,000 Belgian Jews and Roma to the nazi death camps. Only 1,240 of them survived.

Translated from Belgian daily De Standaard today:

The European Commission also calls the float with Jewish caricatures in Aalst “unthinkable.” But mayor Christoph D’Haese continues to defend his carnival revelers.

Anti-Semitic or carnivalesque?

By our editor Simon Grymonprez

“This is purely anti-Semitism. Even if it was not their intention to be anti-Semitic, then this testifies to a lack of historical awareness and good taste.” Hans Knoop, the spokesman for the Forum of Jewish Organizations, does not mince words: the float that passed this weekend through the town center of Aalst went too far for the Jewish community.

The Aalst carnival group De Vismooil’n came up with a float with caricature dolls of Jews, with big hook noses, curls and a cash box. With this, De Vismooil’n wanted to make clear: this year we are saving our money for a more beautiful float next year.

The Forum of Jewish Organizations and the Coordination Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium promptly filed a complaint with the federal Equal Opportunities Center Unia. They will also ask the United Nations to remove Aalst Carnival from the list of immaterial cultural heritage.

… The carnival revelers claim it was humour, but Busch does not find that an argument. “This is dehumanizing and hurtful to the Jewish community. It may not be intended in an evil way, but this contributes to anti-Semitism. You give anti-Semitism a legitimacy in the form of entertainment.’

… D’Haese continues to defend his carnival revelers.

D’Haese is the mayor of Aalst. Of the right-wing N-VA party. However, fellow (Jewish; Antwerp city) N-VA politician André Gantman does consider the float anti-Semitic.

UMESCO condemns Aalst cardinal float: here.

The Belgian anti-racism watchdog says that the float did not break the law.

The Belgian Guys Who Made The Anti-Semitic Carnival Float Aren’t Sorry: here.

Accusation of anti-Semitism in Belgium


This tweet by CIDI in the Netherlands is about a carnival float in Aalst, Belgium, accused of anti-Semitism.

A few years ago, there was a better carnival float in Germany. And a better one in the Netherlands.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Anger about Belgian carnival float with caricatures of Jews

A carnival float in the Belgian city of Aalst with dolls picturing stereotype orthodox Jews with hooked noses and money bags has aroused the anger of Jewish interest groups in Belgium and the Netherlands. The Belgian Forum of Jewish Organizations (FJO) and the overarching Coordination Committee have filed a complaint with the authorities involved and the Belgian racism watchdog Unia.

The latter reported last week that the number of reports of anti-Semitism in Belgium almost doubled in the past year from 56 in 2017 to 101 last year. In the years before, the number of reports fluctuated.

The Jewish organizations compare the float with stereotypes like in nazi newspaper Der Sturmer. “The crooked noses and the suitcases with money are typical of the nazism of 1939“, the FJO writes on its website. Humour must be possible, but according to the organization a limit has been crossed here. The Dutch Center for Information and Documentation Israel [CIDI] shares these objections.

Sabbath year

The carnival group De Vismooil’n made the Jewish caricatures because of a ‘sabbatjoor’, a sabbatical year. In Belgian carnival jargon this means that they are more economical this year in order to have a more expensive float next year. …

The mayor of Aalst

Christoph D’Haese, of the right-wing N-VA party

supports the carnival group. He tells Het Laatste Nieuws daily that they “had no intentions to hurt”.

See also here.

Belgian child abuse bishop attacks survivor


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Belgian bishop quits after admitting abuse, presser

(23 Apr 2010)

SHOTLIST

1. Wide of Brussels skyline
2. Town hall tower, church behind
3. Pan of Belgian newspaper headlines showing front page pictures of bishop of Bruges
4. Close of headline reading: (Flemish) ”Sex scandal in Bruges”
5. Close of headline reading: (French) ”A Belgian Bishop Resigns”
6. Close of Bishop Roger Vangheluwe‘s photograph in newspaper
7. Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels arriving at press briefing
8. Close of journalist taking picture with cell phone
9. Wide of press conference and zoom on Archbishop Leonard
10. SOUNDBITE (French) Peter Rossel, Spokesperson for Bruges Diocese reading statement written by Roger Vangheluwe, bishop of Bruges: “When I was not yet a bishop, and some times after, I sexually abused a young person from within my close entourage. This has marked the victim forever. During these last decades I have on numerous occasions recognised my fault towards him and his family and I asked for forgiveness.”
11. Cutaway of photographs
12. SOUNDBITE (Flemish) Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Head of the Catholic Church in Belgium: “The Pope immediately accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Bruges, the Pope is at this moment making it public in Rome. The church underlines that in this matter there is no middle way. We hope in this way to be able to contribute to the recovery of the victim.”
13. Wide of press conference
14. SOUNDBITE (French) Peter Adriaenssens, President of the Church Commission on Sexual Misconduct: “Let’s say that since the beginning of what happened in the Netherlands, etc, and the growing storm, we received twenty calls. But this commission did not start a few weeks ago, it started ten years back.”
15. Wide of speakers, zoom in of Archbishop Leonard”s ring
16. SOUNDBITE (Flemish) Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Head of the Belgian Church: “It (the Church) needs clarity, humility, respect for the victims, and I would like to launch an appeal – which I will repeat in writing for my church and it will have repercussions in Belgium – that when someone had in his past this kind of thing, sexual abuse, this person should never agree to become a bishop or a priest. When someone is about to be ordained as a priest or to receive an Episcopal ordination and knows that he has skeletons in the closet of his past, his first duty is to refuse ordination.”
17. Wide of journalists around Archbishop Leonard

STORYLINE

Belgium’s longest-serving bishop resigned on Friday, saying he was “enormously sorry” for having sexually abused a young boy about 25 years ago. The resignation of Roger Vangheluwe, 73, the Bishop of Bruges since 1984, was the first from Belgium since a child abuse scandal began testing the Catholic Church several months ago in Europe and the United States.

At a news conference, Peter Rossel, spokesperson for the Bruges Diocese read a statement written by Roger Vangheluwe, bishop of Bruges, in which Vangheluwe announced his resignation and admitted to sexual abuse. “When I was not yet a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy“, Vangheluwe said in the statement. He did not attend the news conference, but said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted his resignation. “This has marked the victim forever”, Vangheluwe’s statement said, adding that he repeatedly has asked the victim and his family for forgiveness. “I am enormously sorry,” the statement said.

Translated from Belgian (Roman Catholic, ‘center right’) daily De Standaard, 27 February 2019:

Kris Verduyn, a man who claims that he was sexually abused 25 years ago by the then Bruges bishop Roger Vangheluwe, says that his statements stand. What happens now, he calls ‘sad and outrageous’.

In the buildings of the Brussels federal judicial police, on Wednesday morning the interrogation took place of Kris Verduyn, a man who claims that he was abused sexually 25 years ago by the then Bruges bishop Roger Vangheluwe. The man was interrogated as a suspect after the former bishop filed a complaint for slander and defamation.

“It is sad and outrageous”, Kris Verduyn said afterwards. “I do not understand how he dares to do that.”

According to Verduyn, he was forced to have sex with Vangheluwe in 1992. That, he says, happened at his sister’s confirmation celebration, when Verduyn was 10 years old and acted as an altar boy. Two years ago the man was confronted with Vangheluwe, who denies the allegations.

‘If it would not be so dramatic, then it would be ridiculous’

‘My statement stands. I do not deviate one centimeter from it’, Kris Verduyn said on Wednesday after completing his interrogation by the federal police. “I have been abused and I am not the only victim. I am also here in the name of those other victims. He is a serial offender and must now bear the consequences of his actions. It is easy to dismiss everything when you are a perpetrator. Facts have been proven and he has also confessed in Operatie Kelk.

Operatie Kelk, Operation Chalice, were searches by Belgian police to find out whether the Catholic Church had covered up child abuse. Police then, eg, discovered secret photos about child abuser and murderer Marc Dutroux at the archbishop’s palace. On 23 April 2015, the Liège court of law convicted Archbishop Léonard for covering up a sexual abuse case.

My statements are not lies unlike what he wants to make out.”

“If it would not be so dramatic, then it would be ridiculous”, said Walter Van Steenbrugge, lawyer at Kris Verduyn. “Mr. Verduyn has made his statement, he is greatly affected by the fact that he was first abused and is now being depicted as a liar. It is unbelievable that someone who has made confessions [of child abuse] is now attacking and people who have already experienced so much, still have to suffer all that misery.”

The lawyer also questions the long duration of the judicial investigation and the attitude of the Vatican: “His confessions are 9 years old and there is clear evidence, but we get no explanation why it takes so long. No one moves in Rome, Mr. Vangheluwe is still in office. They had better act against him than to make hollow statements as they have done in the recent days.”

Also translated from De Standaard, 22 April 2017:

“Uncle Roger said: ‘You are the only one, the angel.’ I do not know if I should believe that. I’m really sure it was not true’.

For fifteen years Mark Vangheluwe was abused by Roger Vangheluwe, his uncle-priest and later bishop. He wrote a book, Letter to the Pope, about his life and being abused. It is also about his wife, whom he calls ‘the queen’, and his three sons, ‘the successors’. For the first time, Mark Vangheluwe talks to the press. Once and then never again. “I have become who I am now through what he has done to me. You can not escape that.” …

His bishop uncle abused him from when he was 5 till he was 19.

UPDATE: according to my stats, there have been several visits to this blog post from Vatican City. One should hope that them reading this small blog may contribute to improve this sad situation.