In Belgium, police raided Catholic offices over sex crimes. Vatican shocked

Here’s the thing the Catholic Church never got about the child rape scandal: Catholic priests around the world were committing crimes when they raped children. Their actions were illegal. Criminal. But, the Catholic Church thinks it exists in some kind of alternate universe where its priests don’t have to face prosecution. Unfortunately, over the past decades, too many public officials have enabled the criminals in the Church to slide by.

Finally, in Belgium, priests and those who abetted the crimes are being treated like the criminals that they are. Yet, the Vatican is shocked. Get over it, Benedict. Many of your employees should be in jail. And, good for Belgium:

An extraordinary series of raids on the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium provoked sharp criticism from the Vatican on Friday, with the church expressing “shock” a day after Belgian investigators interrupted a bishops’ meeting at the church’s Brussels headquarters, detaining clerics for nine hours, and opened an archbishop’s grave at a cathedral north of the city.

The Belgian civil law-enforcement authorities seized documents and other potential evidence related to allegations of sexual abuse after searching the headquarters, the home of a recently retired cardinal and the offices of a commission established by the church to handle abuse complaints. The grave was opened at the St. Rombouts Cathedral, north of Brussels, Jean-Marc Meilleur, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Brussels, told The Associated Press.

The aggressiveness of the raids — coming after hundreds of complaints of sex abuse had been lodged with the Belgian church’s special commission within a few months — represented a major departure in Belgium’s investigation of church-related sex crimes.

What’s shocking is that it’s taken so long for law enforcement officials around the world to act. No wonder the Church felt immune.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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