April 23, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY:


DECLARATION OF U.S. LAWYER CONCERNING SEX ABUSE CASE

VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - With reference to the lawsuit against the Holy See which lawyers in the United States have filed at a federal court in Milwaukee, in the name of a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy, the Holy See Press Office reiterates a declaration released by Jeffrey Lena, the Holy See's attorney in the U.S.A., the complete text of which is given below:

  "First and foremost, sympathy is due to the victims of the criminal acts committed by Fr. Lawrence Murphy. By sexually abusing children, Murphy violated both the law and the trust that his victims had placed in him.

  "While legitimate lawsuits have been filed by abuse victims, this is not one of them. Instead, the lawsuit represents an attempt to use tragic events as a platform for a broader attack - this one dependent on re-characterising the Catholic Church as a worldwide 'business enterprise'.

  "The case against the Holy See and its officials is completely without merit. Most of the complaint rehashes old theories already rejected by U.S. courts. With regard to Murphy himself, the Holy See and its officials knew nothing of his crimes until decades after the abuse occurred, and had no role whatsoever in causing plaintiff's injuries.

  "Given its lack of merit, the lawsuit - together with its de rigueur press conference and news releases - is simply the latest attempt by certain U.S. lawyers to use the judicial process as a tool of media relations.

  "If necessary, we will respond more fully to this lawsuit in court and at the appropriate time".

 

DECLARATIONS CONCERNING RESIGNATION OF BISHOP OF BRUGES

VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - Given below are the texts of two declarations, one by Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium, concerning his resignation from office, and the other by Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium. Both declarations were delivered during a press conference held at midday today in Brussels.

  "When I was still just a priest, and for a certain period at the beginning of my episcopate, I sexually abused a minor from my immediate environment. The victim is still marked by what happened. Over the course of these decades I have repeatedly recognised my guilt towards him and his family, and I have asked forgiveness; but this did not pacify him, as it did not pacify me. The media storm of recent weeks has increased the trauma, and the situation is no longer tenable. I profoundly regret what I did and offer my most sincere apologies to the victim, to his family, to all the Catholic community and to society in general. I have presented my resignation as bishop of Bruges to Pope Benedict XVI. It was accepted on Friday and so I retire".

  Declaration by Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels.

  "We are facing a particularly serious situation. Our thoughts go first and foremost to the victim and his family, some of whom have learned the shocking news only today. For the victim this has been a long Calvary, which has clearly not yet ended.

  "As for Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, as a person he has the right to conversion, trusting in the mercy of God. However, as regards his function, it is vital that, out of respect for the victim and his family, and out of respect for the truth, he should resign from office. This is what he has done. The Pope immediately accepted the resignation of the bishop of Bruges, which is at this moment is being published in Rome.

  "The Church thus underlines the importance of not procrastinating in such cases. We hope to contribute to the rehabilitation of the victim.

  "The decision of the bishop of Bruges, and the calling of this press conference, express the transparency that the Catholic Church in Belgium rigorously wishes to apply in these matters, turning a new page with respect to the not-so-distant period in which the Church, and others, preferred the solution of silence or concealment.

  "It goes without saying that this event will cause great suffering in the whole Catholic community of Belgium, especially because Bishop Vangheluwe was considered a generous and dynamic person, much appreciated in his diocese and in the Belgian Church. We, his confreres, are aware of the crisis of trust this will provoke in many people. Nonetheless, we dare to hope that wisdom will prevail and that the bishops, and especially the priests, of this country will not be unduly discredited as a group, because the vast majority live a lifestyle coherent with their vocation, with a faithfulness for which I here publicly express my thanks".

 

AUDIENCES

VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

 - Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

 - Maria Voce, president of the "Focolari" Movement.

 - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Bruges, Belgium, presented by Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

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