Bishop Lucas Van Looy declines cardinal honor from Pope Francis due to abuse

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An earlier model of this story acknowledged that the Diocese of Ghent didn’t intervene to cease the actions of the accused clergy within the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Ghent. Bishop-Accountability acknowledged Bishop Lucas Van Looy notified civil authorities in 2014.

When Pope Francis in Could introduced strongly to create 21 new cardinals, one title stood out for a gaggle of clerical abuse advocates in Belgium: Lucas Van Looy. After going through weeks of strain about data and dealing with circumstances of abuse, the present cardinal candidate has requested Francis to not settle for the consideration – a unprecedented request that was accepted by the pope.

The convention of Belgian bishops acknowledged that Van Looy’s request was made to “stop victims of such abuse from additional hurt.”

For a church severely affected by years of abuse scandals, the episode demonstrates the far-reaching penalties that may be inflicted after church leaders are tied to the abuse case. In addition they raised questions concerning the Vatican’s course of for analyzing the data of these chosen by Francis to be cardinals – positions that point out a great age of service to the church.

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“Everybody in Belgium is aware of about that,” mentioned Lieve Halsberghe, who advocates for victims of clerical abuse within the nation. He asserted that Van Looy’s demand “didn’t come from his conscience. It got here as a result of there have been protests from human rights teams.

The Vatican didn’t give its personal assertion on the problem, and a spokesman didn’t reply to a request for remark.

The Belgian bishops ‘convention mentioned Francis’ preliminary determination to call cardinal Van Looy had induced a “constructive response”. However there was additionally criticism, the convention mentioned, “the truth that he didn’t all the time react energetically sufficient” towards “abuse in pastoral relations” when he served as bishop of Ghent from 2003 to 2019.

Van Looy is considered one of 21 people chosen by Francis to honor, a motion that might be inaugurated – for 20 others – in the course of the consistency in August. Though Van Looy has been made a cardinal, he may have been capable of take part in any future conclave because of his age, 80. (Solely cardinals youthful than 80 can assist to elect the subsequent pope.)

The Belgian bishops’ convention didn’t give particulars concerning the wrongful allegations by Van Looy.

His title has appeared on a number of information accounts up to now, nonetheless. He’s listed on the net web page of, the clearinghouse for clerical abuse data, on a web page devoted to bishops who mismanaged circumstances. The positioning mentions Belgian predatory monks who’re accused of abuse each within the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Ghent.

Van Looy didn’t lead the diocese of Ghent when the allegations first arose, however after he grew to become bishop, the diocese despatched Congolese victims $ 25,000 in 2005. He, nonetheless, didn’t step in to tell civil authorities concerning the actions of pastors – working at nonprofits to assist orphans from genocide in Rwanda – till 2014, Bishop -Accountability mentioned in a press release Friday.

Though Van Looy personally spoke concerning the abuse violence, describing the “inhuman struggling” of the victims, he additionally admitted that he didn’t inform justice authorities concerning the six letters he acquired concerning the case, in response to Belgian media accounts from 2010. Van Looy cited the letters it was “much less hit” as a result of the accusation was to a retired priest.

Van Looy is a part of the Salesians of the Don Bosco non secular order. The Belgian salesian was concerned in a scandal brought on by the CNN 2019 investigation right into a Belgian priest, convicted of abuse in a Ghent court docket, who was then despatched to the Central African Republic, the place he was accused of additional abuse.

Belgium has confronted a tsunami that destroyed revelations linked to abuse, a lot of them effervescent to the floor in 2010, below a frontrunner described as one of the troublesome crises within the historical past of the Belgian Catholic Church. A report launched in 2010 described tons of of circumstances over fifty years and acknowledged that 13 victims had been inspired to take their very own lives after trauma.

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