Roger Vangheluwe said he was ‘enormously sorry’ for the abuse
The longest-serving Roman Catholic bishop in Belgium has resigned after admitting sexually abusing a boy for years. Roger Vangheluwe, 73, said that he was “enormously sorry” for molesting the boy from before he was made Bishop of Bruges in 1985.
The Vatican accepted his resignation only a day after a lawsuit was filed in the US against Pope Benedict XVI over sex abuse committed by an American priest.
The Catholic Church is reeling from the departures of several senior figures over abuse scandals, including Walter Mixa, a senior German bishop close to the Pope, who resigned on Thursday after admitting beating children at an orphanage.
Mr Vangheluwe is the most senior cleric to step down over child sex abuse during the crisis. In a statement read by the head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, Archbishop André-Joséph Leonard, the bishop said: “When I was not a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy. This has marked the victim mentally forever. The wound does not heal. Neither in me nor the victim.”
Church officials said that Mr Vangheluwe would not be prosecuted because the crime had not been reported within the country’s statute of limitations, understood to be ten years after the victim turns 18 for cases of child sex abuse.