Bird’s Eye View of the News
Another bad appointment: De Kesel waiting to receive his cardinal's hat in Rome on November 19, 2016
De Kesel had been appointed Bishop of Bruges in 2010, after Bishop Roger Vangheluwe had to step down because of the public uproar against him, a reaction to the news revealing he had sexually abused his own nephews for a long period when they were boys. Under the shelter of a criminal like Vangheluwe, pedophile priests mushroomed in the Bruges Diocese. Then-bishop De Kesel, therefore, had all the conditions to apply the policy of “zero tolerance” that the Vatican boasts to the press it is enforcing. But, unfortunately, the Bishop did not.
Let me report what he did. I take these facts from different credible sources, which I will report as I write. To facilitate the reading, I will list the name of each one of these pedophile priests with a short synopsis of what he did and what action De Kesel took in each case.
• Fr. Tom Flamez (sometimes referred as Flavez): convicted of abusing a minor and suspended from ministry for five years. A psychiatrist issued an evaluation that Flamez showed excessive arrogance, a major tendency to lie, manipulate and cheat and a total lack of the sense of culpability. Nonetheless, in 2014 Bishop De Kesel appointed him as pastor of the Middelkerke parish, alleging he must have a “second chance.” In face of the strong reactions of the media and the public, the priest did not take the assignment. (National Catholic Register,November 18, 2016)Another priest under criticism is Fr. Patrick Degrieck. I have in hand an article by Ferdinand Boischot from which I extract the following data. Fr. Degrieck is also “a noted pedophile friend and supporter.” He was ordained priest by pedophile Bishop Vangheluwe and is a close friend of pedophile Fr. Tom Flamez. He became a Church jurist in Bruges and Antwerp and professor of Holy Scripture in the Seminary in Bruges.
In addition, the Flemish daily De Morgen reported that 195 students testified that Flamez had loose morals and was always making sexual remarks to them. During a search, investigators found photos showing that students had slept with him. He was sentenced to jail because he got a 16-year-old boy drunk and began groping him. His sentence, however, was exchanged for a period of counseling and five years of supervised probation.
After the end of his probation, he was caught in an online scandal when he tried to “hook up” with a 13 year-old boy of his parish. (The American Conservative, November 1, 2014)
• Fr. Jeroen Claerhout: accused of sexual abuse in 2013. His tendency to pedophilia was known since 2009, when he was removed from dealing with children. He escaped jail because in the 2015 trial his lawyer admitted that Claerhout had had sexual intercourse with a young man, but alleged there was consent by both parties. He also alleged that the other party was already age 18 at the time. Thus, the case could not be qualified as pedophilia and the court did not sentence him.
De Kesel only informed civil authorities about this case after the news broke in the media. (ibid.) In 2015, when De Kesel was named as Archbishop of Brussels, a good-bye Mass was said for him in Bruges. Claerhout was the singer chosen to pay homage to De Kesel… (National Catholic Register, November 18, 2016)
• Fr. Marc Decuypere: accused of sexual abuse of boys in 2010 at Our Lady College in Assebroek where he taught from 1984 to 1990. He escaped prosecution due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. De Kesel allowed the priest to go to Brazil to minister to street boys as a Fidei Domum missionary.
In 2014, new charges were presented against Decuypere in Belgium. At the request of Belgian authorities, he was called back to the country. Only after that did De Kesel speak with him and suspend him from ministry. What was the outcome of this case? Decuypere returned to Brazil to work with the same street boys… (ibid.)
• Fr. Carmino Bohez: accused of sexual abuse and a series of deviant sexual behavior when he was professor at the major seminary of the Diocese. Bohez admitted the abuse and sent a letter of resignation to Bishop De Kesel. The Bishop met with him, qualified his behavior as “imprudent” and did not accept his resignation. Only after the media exposed the charges did De Kesel “immediately notify the Belgian authorities” and accepted Bohez’ resignation. (ibid.)
A new cartoon - a pedophile Bishop (Vagheluwe) finds resonance among the disillusioned Belgium faithful
• Fr. Antoon Stragier: accused of sexual abuse of several children in 2015. Although the Diocese was aware of his behavior since 2004, it did not punish him or warn the civil authorities, but adopted the tactic of moving the priest from parish to parish. De Kesel continued the same policy by putting Stragier in charge of the diocesan pilgrimages. Again, only when the news of his abuse became public was he “immediately dismissed”... (ibid.)
Fr. Degrieck speaks at the Gregorian University in Rome on pedophile priests as 'victims'
Degrieck gave a talk at the Center for Child Protection in the Gregorian University, Rome, on the topic “Secondary Victims” in child abuse. Secondary victims, according to the Card. Gotfried Danneels’ jargon, are the pedophile priests…
Concluding, I believe that these data draw a bleak moral profile of Bishop Jozef de Kesel, who Pope Francis hand-picked to become first, Archbishop of Brussels and, then, a Cardinal, that is, a potential future Pope or at least a man who shall elect the next Pope.
Is this choice not another clear symptom that Francis does not see pedophilia as something punishable when it is found in one of his friends?