Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, the archbishop emeritus of Brussels-Mechelen and former primate of Belgium, has just published a book that will undoubtedly not go unnoticed in the Catholic world.
L’Eglise dans tous ses états: 50 ans de débats autour de la foi (“The Church in All Its ‘States’: 50 Years of Debates Around the Faith”) is presented as an autobiographical account through which its author delivers an uncompromising analysis of the events that have taken place in the Church over the past five decades — from the theological and pastoral drifts that marked the post-Vatican II period to the current debates surrounding the Synod on Synodality and the various sexual-abuse scandals that have arisen over these years.
Born in 1940 and ordained a priest in 1964, Archbishop Léonard was appointed bishop of Namur in 1991 and then archbishop of the Archdiocese of Brussels-Mechelen in 2010. He retired in 2015.
His reputedly orthodox views on matters of faith and his outspokenness have often earned him the wrath of the Belgian press. In 2013, feminist activists from the Femen group targeted him at a conference for equating homosexuality to a “block in normal psychological development” in a 2007 interview. The images of the archbishop in silent prayer while being copiously hosed down by the topless Femen demonstrators went viral.
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