Belgium’s Bishops have Repeatedly asked Vatican to Laicize Abusive Bishop

Speaking at a Jan. 26 hearing of the Flemish Parliament’s committee investigating clerical abuse, Bruno Spriet addressed the case of Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who resigned as Bishop of Bruges in 2010 after admitting to sexually abusing a nephew.

Spriet, the general secretary of the Belgian bishops’ conference, said: “As we have communicated, his ecclesiastical file is in Rome. After all, according to canon law, only the Holy See can remove someone from the priesthood or episcopate.”

“In recent years, the Belgian bishops have written several times to the Holy See (in 2017 and 2019) to speak out more clearly about ecclesiastical sanctions against Roger Vangheluwe.”

“In their joint letter to Pope Francis in October 2023, they reiterated their demand for Roger Vangheluwe’s removal from ordained ministry. His record continues to weigh on us and on all of society.”

Spriet added: “We know that those responsible in Rome are aware of the magnitude of the scandal and are working for a solution. It will be difficult for Pope Francis to make a peaceful visit to our country in September until there is clarity on this matter.”

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