Rome, Italy, May 7, 2010 / 17:05 pm
Speaking about the current climate within the Catholic Church of Belgium to the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper, Archbishop Andre-Mutien Joseph Leonard highlighted the importance of formation for the priesthood. Celibacy, he underlined, is not the cause of sexual abuses and greater focus needs to be put on priestly formation to avoid future tragedy.
The primate of the Belgian Church spoke to the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper while in Rome for the Belgian bishops’ “ad Limina” visit to the Holy See.
In response to a question about whether the cases of sexual abuse that have come to light in the Church are due to faults in the process of forming priests, the archbishop said “investigating the causes is always difficult.” “However,” he added, “I’m convinced that it is not correct to trace certain deviant attitudes back to the celibacy of priests.”
Archbishop Leonard pointed out that no one calls marriage a “source of mental imbalance” although the majority of cases of sexual abuse of minors take place in the home.