A parliamentary inquiry will be held in Belgium into abuses in the Roman Catholic Church. This is what the majority in Parliament decided after the TV series Lost, VRT, where victims of abuse tell their stories.
The investigation will focus on the victims. “They will be allowed to express their opinions and we will take the necessary time,” faction leader Servis Verherstraten of the Christian Democratic Party CD&V told VRT.
The investigation committee will cooperate with the Supreme Judicial Council. The survey could begin as early as the end of this month.
Abuse at the church twelve years earlier was also investigated. The recommendations made by the House committee will be reconsidered at that time. The extent to which the Church can be held responsible for the consequences of abuse is also examined.
There was an uproar in Belgium last month after the four-episode documentary series. Hundreds of thousands of people watched it. The documentary’s frank personal testimonies from victims led to anger, disgust, sadness, and the revocation of people’s registration as Catholics.
Church and state
One of the victims who spoke was a cousin of former bishop Roger Vangelowe of Bruges. These violations became known in 2010, but the Vatican remains silent about them. Bishop of Antwerp Johan Bonny called for Vangeloi to be removed from his position by the Vatican.
There are also calls to reconsider government funding of the church. In Belgium, the entanglement between church and state is reflected in financial affairs. The government pays the salaries and pensions of priests and is responsible for maintaining churches and buildings.
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