Cardinals Spokesman: No Coverup

A spokesman for Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium said the transcript of a meeting in April with a victim of clerical sexual abuse has been taken out of context. “There was no intention of any cover-up,” said Toon Osaer, spokesman for the cardinal, who retired in January as archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels. “The cardinal [now] realizes he was rather naïve to think he could help the family in question reach a reconciliation,” he said. “At that moment, however, the family did not want to make public something they had kept secret for 24 years.” Belgium’s Flemish-language dailies, De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad, published a transcript of the cardinal’s April meeting with relatives of the nephew of Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruge [pictured]. The unnamed nephew had been abused between the ages of 5 and 18 by his uncle. Osaer said, “This was a totally confidential meeting, and the family intended to keep it all within the family,” the spokesman said. “This is why the cardinal tried to see if a reconciliation was possible.”

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