Belgian Church fears apologising for abuse - bishop

Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:05pm GMT

Asked about an apology, the bishop told Radio 1: "As an institution I must accept that I am responsible, albeit for things that happened in the 1960s, and that is why, in the name of the church, I ask the victims for forgiveness.

"The news conference yesterday was a missed chance for a 'mea culpa'. Maybe the church was too concerned with itself."

Harpigny said the Vatican would soon make a decision about Roger Vangheluwe, the bishop of Bruges who resigned in April after admitting he had sexually abused his nephew for years.

The bishop suggested last week that Vangheluwe, who is in hiding, be tried under church law. Critics have since called for him to be defrocked, something only Pope Benedict can do.

Harpigny said a decision should come later this year.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Tom Heneghan and Philip Pullella; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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