29 Aug 2010

Church head tried to stall sex abuse revelation

6:01 pm on 29 August 2010

The former head of the Catholic Church in Belgium tried to stop a victim of sex abuse from going public with his story, church officials have confirmed.

During a meeting in April, the BBC reports, Cardinal Godfried Danneels advised the victim to delay a public statement until the bishop who abused him had retired.

Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who was also at the meeting, admitted to the abuse in April and resigned.

The victim recorded the meeting and released the tape to Belgian media. On the tape, the cardinal tells the abuse victim: "It might be better to wait for a date in the next year, when he is due to resign.

"I don't know if there will be much to gain from making a lot of noise about this, neither for you nor for him."

Cardinal Danneels, who retired in January, has been questioned as a witness in an investigation into sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in Belgium.

Over the past year, allegations of abuse levelled against Catholic priests have surfaced in many countries.