Pope Decries Belgian Raids

pope-benedict-xviPope Benedict XVI has voiced his opposition to a series of raids conducted by Belgian police in connection with sex abuse allegations involving members of the Catholic Church. In a strongly worded message, the pope said the raids on the home of a retired archbishop and the graves of two other prelates were “deplorable.”

Benedict said in the message addressed to Belgian Bishops’ Conference head Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard that he supports all bishops in the country, saying that the situation in Belgium is a “sad moment.”

Police swooped down on the home and office of former Archbishop Godfried Danneels on June 24, taking with them the prelate’s personal computer and documents. The raids occurred while the Belgian Bishops’ Conference was holding a meeting. The nine bishops in the meeting were reportedly asked to surrender their cellphones. The church leaders were also held for nine hours.

It is not clear if Danneels is being investigated for sex abuse.