The Belgian bishops' conference acknowledged its astonishment over an interview with Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, who admitted he sexually abused two of his nephews.
The bishops expressed “shock” in their statement and distanced themselves from the April 14 television interview with former Bishop of Bruges, Belgium.
Bishop Vangheluwe resigned last year after admitting to sexual abusing his nephew over a 13-year period, from the time the boy was five. In the recent interview, he revealed that he also abused a second nephew.
“It had nothing to do with sexuality,” Vangheluwe stated. “I don't have the impression at all that I am a pedophile.”
“It began as a game with the boys,” he added.
The bishops' conference responded April 15 stating that “(t)he interview is extremely offensive to the victims, their families and all who face the problem of sexual abuse.”
“It is slap in the face to the faithful as well. Everyone, ourselves included, is undoubtedly upset and troubled.”
“The tone of the interview is completely at odds with the efforts made in recent months to take the problem of sexual abuse seriously, listen to the victims and determine the appropriate measures to take,” they said.
Earlier this week, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered Vangheluwe to leave the country to undergo spiritual and psychological treatment.
The director of the Vatican's press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said the order was made by the Vatican congregation in order to determine the next steps that would need to be taken.
A definitive decision on Vangheluwe’s future will need the approval of the Pope he said.