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Pope appoints new bishop for Belgian Diocese of Bruges

.- Pope Benedict named Bishop Jozef De Kesel as the new bishop of Bruges on Friday. He will replace Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe who stepped down upon admitting to having sexually abused a minor.

The vacancy was left in the Diocese of Bruges after 73-year old Bishop Vangheluwe's resignation was accepted by the Holy Father on April 23. He admitted his guilt in abusing a minor as a priest and, later, as a bishop saying that amidst the "media storm" of recent months he could no longer keep his crimes secret.

Bishop De Kesel, the newly-nominated Bishop of Bruges, will soon take control of the diocese. He had been serving as the Titular bishop of Bulna, Belgium and as an Auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels since his consecration in 2002. He was also the vicar general for the Vicarate of Brussels.

Within the Belgian Bishops' Conference, he is the head of the Inter-diocesan Commission for the Liturgical Pastoral Care in the two languages of Belgium, Flemish and French, and the bishops' delegate to the Commission of Episcopates of the European Community.

Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Primate of Belgian Catholics Andre-Joseph Leonard said in a press conference to mark the occasion of the nomination that he was happy Benedict XVI had chosen a bishop to head the diocese after it had been weakened with the resignation of Bishop Vangheluwe.

Bishop De Kesel said that he would miss his archdiocesan post after "eight beautiful years" there, but is looking forward to entering into his new charge. Conscious of the difficulties in what he called the "well governed" Diocese of Bruges, he said that it would be "a walk of faith and hope."

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