The New York Times is reporting on why the police raided Roman Catholic institutions this past week:
Four days after a series of police raids of Catholic institutions in Belgium that drew sharp criticism from the pope, the reason for the unusually aggressive operation has emerged: a formal accusation that the church was hiding information on sexual abuse lodged by the former president of an internal church commission handling such cases.
The declaration to the police set off four raids in which the authorities seized hundreds of case files from the commission’s current leader, detained a group of bishops for more than nine hours and disturbed the tomb of a cardinal where construction work had recently been done. Investigators drilled into the tomb and lowered a camera, but found only the remains.
Investigators are now analyzing more than two truckloads of seized documents, many related to 475 complaints lodged with the sex-abuse commission after the resignation in April of a popular bishop who admitted that, early in his career, he had molested a boy.
Mark Silk, at Beliefnet, commentsthat the Vatican is in meltdown:
I grant you that it isn't every day that the authorities hold a country's bishops for questioning for nine hours, confiscate their computers and cell phones, and drill into the sarcophagi of a couple of their deceased number. But when Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone protests that the Belgian bishops had been held without food and water when they haven't, and the Belgian bishops have to issue a correction, that's tells you the wheels are coming off the popemobile.