Belgian Catholic church to ‘screen’ for paedophile priests

2011-09-20 10:40

Brussels – Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church is to conduct psychological tests on candidates for priesthood to weed out any with paedophile tendencies, the head of the church said.

“The church must do a better job to protect children,” Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard told VTM television late yesterday in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal that has shaken the Belgian Catholic Church.

Men who enter a seminary will be “screened” and they will have follow-ups with psychologists, Leonard said, adding that a code to prevent child abuses was prepared by bishops and will be published soon.

After similar scandals in the United States, Ireland and Germany, the Belgian church was rocked in April last year with revelations that the bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, had abused a nephew for 13 years.

A church-backed commission later discovered nearly 500 cases of abuse by priests since the 1950s, including 13 known suicides among victims.

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