Bock's People

Busting the Belgian Bishops — Pope Not Pleased

What about the Belgian cops kicking in the doors of a bishops’ meeting and arresting the whole lot of them, digging up two dead bishops to search for hidden documents and seizing Church computers?

The Pope is furious, we’re told.  He thinks the church has the right to investigate its own crimes of rape alongside the police, and he doesn’t like being told to back off.

The Pope, to put it plainly, still thinks Canon Law has some status in the world and some authority.  He thinks the crime of rape is not something to be investigated by policemen, but by priests.  And he does not like his priests being challenged by meddlesome cops.

The old attitudes remain, it seems.  Only this week in Ireland, despite all we have heard and seen over the last few years, the Catholic clergy are still not capable of knowing their place.  Last Saturday in the diocese of Cloyne, Bill Bermingham, a priest with responsibility for child safety, resigned.


Because, after he had a meeting with a woman who complained of sexual abuse by a priest, he gave his handwritten notes of the discussion to the man accused of the crimes, before this man had been interviewed by police.

He didn’t see anything wrong with doing this and believed it was permitted by Church guidelines.

Church guidelines!

Not civil law.  Not criminal law.  Not the law of this land.

Church guidelines permitted him to pass details of a complainant’s confidential discussion with him to the individual accused of the crimes.

Don’t you just love the way these guys keep failing to get the point?

No need to answer that.

The Pope, as I said, is hopping mad that his bishops could be held for nine hours and have their mobile phones confiscated, like ordinary members of the public.  He expressed his rage in Pope-speak, saying that crimes should be investigated under civil and canon law respecting their reciprocal specificity and autonomy.

In other words, the Pope thinks the private rules of his club should decide how a crime is investigated in a sovereign country, Belgium.  He even wrote to his bishops condemning the deplorable way the raid was carried out.  He’s horrified that his bishops might be as answerable to the law as any other citizen, but of course, that’s hardly surprising.  As I pointed out in a previous post, these guys are agents of the Vatican City and they don’t pledge their allegiance to the country of their birth.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the man who blamed homosexuals for clerical abuse, upped the stakes by evoking the Soviet era, saying things like this weren’t even done during communist times.  This was a studied insult to the power of a democratic state and a clear indication of what the Vatican thinks of democracy.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea if, instead of tip-toeing around these old geezers, our own police kicked in a few doors and dug up a few dead bishops?