Belgium condemned for archbishop raid

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The Independent Online

The Vatican says it is astonished and outraged that Belgian police investigating priestly sex abuse conducted raids that also targeted the graves of two archbishops.

The Vatican summoned the Belgian ambassador to the Holy See to convey its anger over the raids, which included the home and offices of the retired Archbishop of Belgium.

In a statement, the Vatican said any sinful and criminal abuse of minors from members of the Church must be condemned and repeated that there is a need for justice and amends.

But it added: "The Secretariat of State also expresses astonishment at the way in which the search took place." It expressed "outrage over the violation of the tombs".

On Thursday, police raided the home and former office of the Archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, Godfried Danneels, taking documents and the prelate's personal computer.

Police and prosecutors did not say if Archbishop Danneels was suspected of abuse himself or simply had records pertaining to allegations against another person.

Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, Belgium's current Archbishop, condemned the search of the cathedral, calling it stuff for "crime novels and The Da Vinci Code". The Brussels prosecutor's office said the raids followed recent statements to police related to the sexual abuse of children within the Church.