17 dec. 2021
Letter to the Pope
Translation of the text on the back cover of the small book ‘Brief aan de paus’:
‘I need to tell you something, but powerlessness and especially shame hold me back. Doubt and fear also play tricks on me.
It is as if I am only now gaining possession of a piece of my memories and want to share it with you. Strange after so many years.’
Mark Vangheluwe decided to fight and break the silence after years of abuse by his ‘uncle bishop’. In 2010, with the announcement of one of the biggest scandals within the Roman Catholic Church, he unleashed a media storm that made headlines worldwide.
Meanwhile, he and his family lead a quiet life in a remote corner of Flanders, but shame and fear continue to haunt him. Until the moment he realises that he can decide on his own life, and finds the form and words to do so: a letter to the Pope.
I was forced into things that were not in my nature. As a result, I grew differently, developed differently, became different.
This is how I feel. Deformed.
I have been forced into too much. Far too much.’
1 Uncovered Abuse in the Catholic Church. Why Was it Ignored? | ‘Almost Famous’ by Op-Docs
27 aug. 2021
11 sep. 2010
Sep 11, 2010, AFP. No congregation escaped Belgian sex abuse. “It’s the Church’s Dutroux,” referring to mid-1990s trauma in Belgium + arrest of serial rapist / child killer Marc Dutroux, serving life for six rapes and four murders. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/20…
Sept 10, 2010. Paedophilia expert unveils harrowing testimony and documents cases in almost every diocese. Some of the most damning evidence of systematic child abuse by the Roman Catholic clergy to come to light was unveiled today by Belgium’s leading authority on paedophilia, who published hundreds of pages of harrowing victim testimony detailing their traumas and suffering.
The explosive report by Peter Adriaenssens in the town of Louvain, east of Brussels, lists evidence of 476 instances of child abuse by priests and bishops going back 50 years.
Adriaenssens was appointed by the church last year to head an independent inquiry into the scandal. Since April, when Roger Vangheluwe, the bishop of Bruges, resigned after admitting persistently molesting a nephew, the Adriaenssens commission has been inundated with evidence, with hundreds of victims coming forward.
He has since documented cases of abuse occurring in almost every diocese in the country and in virtually every school run by the church. “We can say that no part of the country escapes sexual abuse of minors by one or several [church] members,” said Adriaenssens.
“This is the church’s Dutroux dossier,” he added in reference to the notorious Belgian paedophile serial killer, Marc Dutroux, who kidnapped, tortured, abused and murdered six girls in 1995-6.
Speaking of the victims, Adriaenssens said that 13 had killed themselves, according to relatives, and another six had attempted suicide.
The 200-page report includes copious anonymous testimony from 124 of the victims “to honour their courage” in coming forward.
“There are days when I thank God for having the chance to speak,” testified one woman. “Four years of psychotherapy have taught me that silence kills. I have had enormous depressions, going as far as attempted suicide. At other times I think it would be wise to let sleeping dogs lie. But in the end I’ve chosen to speak … Since the resignation of the bishop of Bruges, I am living again in anxiety and fear. And I am far away. I’ve chosen to live far from my country, hoping that the past won’t rejoin me.” This testimony was from a woman abused in the 1980s, but most of the cases concerned young boys and teenagers, as well a documented case of a two-year-old boy being molested.
Another victim told of being repeatedly sexually molested by his parish priest for five years from the age of seven. “From being a violated child, I myself became, several years later, an abuser of adolescents and was sentenced to eight years in jail of which I served four and a half … The priest’s violations certainly strongly shaped my sexual identity and influenced my life choices.”
The evidence presented, said the daily newspaper Le Soir, was of “immense persistent suffering which neither the church, justice, nor society have been able to assuage … Adriaenssens has done what everyone else declined to do — listen to the victims, understand them, and give them the place they deserve.”
The abuse went back to the 1950s, was most common in the 60s and was tailing off by the 1980s, Adriaenssens said. Most of the victims were now middle-aged, but remained traumatised. Around half of the abusers had died.
The expert unveiled his report today because yesterday a Belgian court ruled that the material, seized by police in a highly controversial raid in June, was inadmissible in court because of the “disproportionate” police action and ordered it returned. In June they seized the commission’s files, raided the headquarters of the Belgian Catholic church, held cardinals and bishops for several hours, took their mobile phones, and carried away computers and documents.
They questioned Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who retired as head of the Belgian church and archbishop of Brussels in January. 2 weeks ago Belgian newspapers published tape recordings of Danneels seeking to hush up the case of Vangheluwe, the Bruges bishop. Vangheluwe’s nephew secretly recorded Danneels pressing him to keep quiet about his uncle at least until he retired next year. “I don’t think you’d do yourself or him a favour by shouting this from the rooftops,” the cardinal warned the victim, who replied angrily that his uncle had abused him for 13 years from the age of five. The recordings were made in April; the bishop resigned 2 weeks later, the most senior clergyman in the Catholic church to have quit after being exposed. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/…
9.10.2010. Sexual abuse of children reached all parts of Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church + drove at least 13 victims to kill themselves. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/11/wor…
24 mrt. 2010
6 Sexual abuse and rape can be the making, not the breaking of you | Lydia Ward | TEDxLeamingtonSpa
27 feb. 2017
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a member on the Board of Trustees and an Ambassador for the charity Safeline.Org, Lydia hopes this emotional account of her personal journey can help to empower fellow survivors.
Lydia is the founder of Velvet Evolution, a marketer and a psychologist with particular expertise in assessing communication styles and building emotional resilience. Her 15-year global business career includes high profile roles in the food and health & beauty industries. As a confidence coach and mindfulness teacher, she helps clients define success, identify their stress triggers and execute a mindful plan for change.
Lydia is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and is now a supporter of Safeline.Org as a member on the Board of Trustees and an Ambassador for the charity. A recently approved foster carer, she acts on stage at The Priory Theatre Kenilworth in her spare time. Confidence is the belief “I can do this”. Lydia embraces this value in every aspect of her life; she wants to empower survivors and others to do and feel the same – each and every day.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
28 jul. 2015
1. Wide of Belgian Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard arriving for news conference
2. Leonard sitting down
3. SOUNDBITE (French) Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels
“Last Friday, Professor Adriaenssens published a certain number of victim stories. These stories, and the suffering they contain, are frightening. They bring us face to face with what never, never should have happened. They deserve our most profound listening and the greatest attention to this human drama which has occurred.”
5. SOUNDBITE (French) Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels
“Personal attention for the victims is the first thing we have to re-establish. In the wake of Professor Adriaennsens’ report, we want to get involved and be completely at the disposal of the victims. We have to listen to their questions in order to re-establish their dignity and to help them heal the suffering they must have endured.”
6. Cutaway camera
7. SOUNDBITE (French) Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels
“In his report, Professor Adriaenssens has drawn different conclusions from the commission’s work. He expresses heavy objections about the past approach to the abuse problem as much in the Catholic church as in society. He expresses propositions to improve that approach. We want to draw lessons from the mistakes of the past.”
8. Close up photos of victims
9. Two victims holding photos of themselves when they were children while talking to media
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP (The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests)
++soundbite begins on close up of photo of victim as a child, tilt up++
“The priest started to abuse me when I was turning thirteen and I was so frightened and I didn’t understand. I mean, it was really painful and confusing and heart-breaking because I thought that, I mean I had been taught to revere the priest and to look up to the priest and when, on this one occasion, when he started to touch me and kiss me and take my clothes off, take my hands and put them down his clothes, I mean it was so devastating, I couldn’t say anything, I couldn’t speak out and so I can remember he said, ‘Stop shaking, I won’t hurt you.’ That’s what I remember.”
11. Wide of banner reading (Dutch) ‘Work group human rights in the church – 20 years fight’
12. SOUNDBITE (English) San Deurinck, Victim of priest abuse in Belgium
“Leonard has tried to cover up the story (of the abuse), to keep the victims quiet, and he has even tried to bring the price down. So, as a bishop he has done everything the bishops have done over many, many years. It is always possible, maybe by an intervention of the holy spirit he will see the light and do what he has to do and I hope he does, but I afraid he (won’t).”
13. Wide of church abuse victims in front of news conference venue
The Belgian Roman Catholic church on Monday acknowledged widespread sexual abuse over years by its clergy and promised to help victims heal and to punish the abusers.
Hundreds of sex abuse victims have come forward in Belgium with harrowing accounts of molestation by Catholic clergy that reportedly led to at least 13 suicides and affected children as young as two, a special commission said on Friday.
Professor Peter Adriaenssens, chairman of the commission, said the abuse in Belgium may have been even more rampant than the 200-page report suggests.
In response, Belgium’s Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard said on Monday that the stories “and the suffering they contain, are frightening.”
“They bring us face to face with what never, never should have happened. They deserve our most profound listening and the greatest attention to this human drama which has occurred,” he told reporters in Brussels.
You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you…
Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
24 jul. 2015
(23 Apr 2010) SHOTLIST
1. Wide of Brussels skyline
2. Town hall tower, church behind
3. Pan of Belgian newspaper headlines showing front page pictures of Archbishop of Bruges
4. Close of headline reading: (Flemish) ”Sex scandal in Bruges”
5. Close of headline reading: (French) ”A Belgian Bishop Resigns”
6. Close of Archbishop Roger Vangheluwe”s photograph in newspaper
7. Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels arriving at press briefing
8. Close of journalist taking picture with cell phone
9. Wide of press conference and zoom on Archbishop Leonard
10. SOUNDBITE (French) Peter Rossel, Spokesperson for Bruges Diocese reading statement written by Roger Vangheluwe, Archbishop of Bruges:
“When I was not yet a bishop, and some times after, I sexually abused a young person from within my close entourage. This has marked the victim forever. During these last decades I have on numerous occasions recognised my fault towards him and his family and I asked for forgiveness.”
11. Cutaway of photographs
12. SOUNDBITE (Flemish) Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Head of the Catholic Church in Belgium:
“The Pope immediately accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Bruges, the Pope is at this moment making it public in Rome. The church underlines that in this matters there is no middle way. We hope in this way to be able to contribute to the recovery of the victim.”
13. Wide of press conference
14. SOUNDBITE (French) Peter Adriaenssens, President of the Church Commission on Sexual Misconduct:
“Let”s say that since the beginning of what happened in the Netherlands, etc, and the growing storm, we received twenty calls. But this commission did not start a few weeks ago, it started ten years back.”
15. Wide of speakers, zoom in of Archbishop Leonard”s ring
16. SOUNDBITE (Flemish) Monsignor Andre-Joseph Leonard, Head of the Belgian Church:
“It (the Church) needs clarity, humility, respect for the victims, and I would like to launch an appeal – which I will repeat in writing for my church and it will have repercussions in Belgium – that when someone had in his past this kind of thing, sexual abuse, this person should never agree to become a bishop or a priest. When someone is about to be ordained as a priest or to receive an Episcopal ordination and knows that he has skeletons in the closet of his past, his first duty is to refuse ordination.”
17. Wide of journalists around Archbishop Leonard
Belgium”s longest serving bishop resigned on Friday, saying he was “enormously sorry” for having sexually abused a young boy about 25 years ago.
The resignation of Roger Vangheluwe, 73, the Bishop of Bruges since 1984, was the first from Belgium since a child abuse scandal began testing the Catholic Church several months ago in Europe and the United States.
At a news conference, Peter Rossel, spokesperson for the Bruges Diocese read a statement written by Roger Vangheluwe, Archbishop from Bruges, in which Vangheluwe announced his resignation and admitted to sexual abuse.
“When I was not yet a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy,” Vangheluwe said in the statement.
He did not attend the news conference, but said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted his resignation.
“This has marked the victim forever,” Vangheluwe”s statement said, adding that he repeatedly has asked the victim and his family for forgiveness.
“I am enormously sorry,” the statement said.
Vangheluwe had been due to retire next year.
The Head of the Belgian Church, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard confirmed that “the Pope immediately accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Bruges.”
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Op 13/08/2010 besliste de Kamer van Inbeschuldigingstelling van Brussel tot de nietigverklaring van de inbeslagname door onderzoeksrechter Wim De Troy op 24/06/2010 van de 475 meldingen van slachtoffers van seksueel misbruik aan de commissie Adriaenssens.
Op 27/08/2010 kreeg een VTM journalist inzage in dit vonnis en konden ze in prime-time als eerste dit nieuws bekend maken. In de studio gaf Peter Adriaenssens een reactie waarin hij zich ondermeer afvroeg door wie onderzoeksrechter De Troy ‘misleid’ was om deze inbeslagname te doen. Het was ondermeer Godelieve Halsberghe die door Danneels zou op de hoogte gesteld zijn van dossiers op een geheime bergplaats, nl. de crypte van kardinaal Mercier, verklaring die geleid heeft tot de inbeslagnames bij Adriaenssens, het Aartsbisdom en Danneels nadat in de cryptes niets was gevonden.
Op 22/12/2010 was het een anders samengestelde Kamer van Inbeschuldigingstelling die de inbeslagname van de dossiers bij de commissie Adriaenssens ongeldig verklaarde, op volledig dezelfde gronden als gebeurd was op 13/08/2010, en dit nadat nu ook de slachtoffers gehoord waren op een 2de KIB op 29/11/2010, iets waartoe het Hof van Cassatie op 12/10/2010 had besloten.
Over de geldigheid van de inbeslagname bij het Aartsbisdom en Danneels zal een nieuw samengestelde Kamer van Inbeschuldigingstelling voor de 3de maal moeten oordelen nadat op 03/09/2010 een eerste KIB de nietigverklaring uitsprak, op 22/12/2010 een 2de KIB de geldigverklaring besliste, die op haar beurt op 21/01/2011 op haar beurt door het Hof van Cassatie weer werd vernietigd.
9 sep. 2010
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