Belgian bishop resigns for child sex abuse

Belgian bishop has resigned after admitting sexually abusing a young boy several years ago, the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium announced on Friday.

Belgian bishop resigns for child sex abuse

The bishop of the Flemish city of Bruges has resigned after admitting sexually abusing a young boy several years ago, the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium announced on Friday.

Pope Benedict accepted the resignation on Friday.

Roger Vangheluwe was the first bishop directly implicated in sex abuse to resign since a fresh wave of scandals involving Roman Catholic priests.

"Before I was a bishop and for a certain time afterwards I sexually abused a young boy close to me," said Vangheluwe, 73, in a letter read out to reporters by a church official.

"The victim is still scarred mentally, the letter added.

While scant details were given on the abuse, the bishop assumed his role in 1985 and a church official said the time limit for criminal action against him had expired.

"In recent years I have many times recognised the wrong I did to him and to his family and I have sought their forgiveness," the bishop said in his letter.

But that was not enough, he added.

"I profoundly regret what I have done and offer my most sincere apologies to the victim, his family, the whole Catholic community and society in general," Vangheluwe continued.

"I presented my resignation as bishop of Bruges to Pope Benedict XVI. That was accepted on Friday," the letter concluded.

The bishop of Bruges is just the latest Catholic clergyman to be immersed in scandal worldwide.

The German diocese of Augsburg said Thursday that one of the country's most divisive bishops, Walter Mixa, had offered to resign after admitting to hitting children.

On the same day an Irish bishop apologised to the victims of clerical child abuse, after his resignation was formally accepted by the pope, admitting he should have challenged a culture of secrecy.

In Brussels on Wednesday, the Belgian church apologised as another priest lost his appeal against paedophile charges ranging over seven years.


Agencies

Last Mod: 23 Nisan 2010, 16:49
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