Vatican City, Jun 28, 2010 / 17:10 pm
In a message to Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard after the June 24 raid of the Cathedral of Mechelen and the archbishop's office, Pope Benedict expressed his solidarity with the Belgian bishops for the "surprising and deplorable manner" in which the police search was carried out.
In a situation which has been compared to a Da Vinci Code plot twist, on June 24 in Mechelen, Belgium, a number of Belgian bishops participating in a plenary session were locked in their meeting room for nine hours by authorities while the archbishop's office and the cathedral were combed for information related to cases of sexual abuse in the archdiocese.
The Holy See's secretary for relations with states Archbishop Dominique Mamberti co-authored a statement the day after the occurrence in which he expressed his "great amazement" for the way in which the search was conducted.
The Pope's reaction to the incident was released by the Holy See's Press Office on Sunday afternoon. Benedict XVI said in his telegram to Archbishop Leonard that "in this sad moment" he wishes to express his "particular closeness and solidarity" to him and to those bishops under his supervision "for the surprising and deplorable manner in which searches were carried out in the Cathedral of Malines and in the site where the Belgian episcopate was gathered in a plenary assembly which, among other things, also intended to consider questions associated with the abuse of minors by members of the clergy."