Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


Danneels approved pedophilic catechism?

posted by Rod Dreher

That is the shocking allegation by Alexandra Colen, an orthodox Belgian Catholic, who details her long fight with Cardinal Danneels and the Belgian Catholic hierarchy (including the pedophile recently retired bishop Vangheluwe) over a pedophilic sex-ed book approved for Belgium’s Catholic schools. Excerpt:

His predecessor, the liberal Cardinal Danneels, who was very popular with the press in Belgium and abroad, was Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Primate of Belgium from 1979 until 2010. The sympathy for pedophile attitudes and arguments among the Belgian bishops during this period was no secret, especially since 1997 when the fierce controversy about the catechism textbook Roeach made the headlines. The editors of Roeach were Prof. Jef Bulckens of the Catholic University of Leuven and Prof. Frans Lefevre of the Seminary of Bruges. The textbook contained a drawing which showed a naked baby girl saying: “Stroking my p**sy makes me feel groovy,” “I like to take my knickers off with friends,” “I want to be in the room when mum and dad have sex.” The drawing also shows a naked little boy and girl that are “playing doctor” and the little boy says: “Look, my willy is big.”
The drawing also showed three pairs of parents. Those with the “correct” attitude reply: “Yes, feeling and stroking those little places is good fun.” This “catechism textbook” was used in the catechism lessons in the catholic schools, until one day I discovered it among the schoolbooks of my eldest daughter, then 13 years old. On 3 September 1997 I wrote a letter to Cardinal Danneels, saying:
“When I see this drawing and its message, I get the distinct impression that this catechism textbook is designed intentionally to make 13 and 14 year olds believe that toddlers enjoy genital stimulation. In this way one breeds pedophiles that sincerely believe that children actually think that what they are doing to them is ‘groovy’, while the opposite is the case.”
I told Cardinal Danneels that, although I was a member of Parliament for the Flemish-secessionist party Vlaams Blok, I was addressing him as a Catholic parent “who wishes to remain faithful to the papal authority and also wishes to educate her children this way.” I insisted that he forbid the use of this book in the catechism lessons: “This is why I insist – yes, the days of meekly asking are over – that you forbid the use of this ‘catechism book’ in our children’s classrooms.”
Today this case, that dates from 12 years ago, assumes a new and ominous significance. Especially now that I know that Mgr Roger Vangheluwe, the pedophile child molesting Bishop of Bruges, was the supervising bishop of both institutions – the Catholic University of Leuven and the Seminary of Bruges – whence came the editors in chief of this perverted “catechism” textbook.

More:

After I started my campaign against the Roeach textbook, many parents contacted me to voice their concerns. Stories of other practices in the Catholic education system poured in. There were schools where children were taught to put condoms over artificial penises and where they had to watch videos showing techniques of masturbation and copulation.
Because Cardinal Danneels refused to respond to requests to put an end to these practices, I and hundreds of concerned parents gathered in front of his palace on 15 October 1997. We carried placards with the text “Respect for parents and children,” and we said the rosary. Cardinal Danneels refused to receive a delegation of the demonstrators. “I shall not be pressured,” he said in the libertine magazine Humo on 21 October 1997. The Archbishop’s door remained closed when we demonstrated again on 10 December 1997.
… On 18 February 1998 we were at Cardinal Danneels’s door again, myself and a group of parents. Again the door remained closed. So on 18 March 1998 a group of two hundred parents went to the Papal Nuncio, the ambassador of the Vatican, in Brussels. But the Nuncio, who was a friend of Danneels, also refused to meet us. He had, however, alerted the police, who had several water cannons at the ready just around the corner.
Meanwhile Danneels’s friends in the press started a campaign against me. “Colen continues to pester the bishops,” was the headline in Gazet van Antwerpen. One evening Toon Osaer, Danneels’s spokesman at the time, phoned me to tell me that as a Catholic I had to “be obedient” to the bishops.

If this is true, then it certainly puts the Belgian police raid into context, does it not? And it also puts Benedict’s response into context — one that is not flattering to the Holy Father.
I am reminded of a Dutch Catholic mother I met eight years ago after mass in suburban Amsterdam. She told me about having volunteered to teach catechism to Catholic schoolchildren, and being sent to a diocesan training seminar for lay teachers. What she and the others got was just bizarrely heretical. She protested to the bishop, and got absolutely nowhere. In some parts of this world, lay Catholics who wish to be faithful to the Church’s teachings really are on their own.



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Rombald

posted June 28, 2010 at 10:39 am


I know nothing about this book, and would not wish to defend it, but don’t you think describing it as “paedophile” is too strong?
Apart from the one about being in the room when parents are having sex, which does sound really extreme, it seems to me that it is supporting small children giving themselves and others of their own age sexual pleasure. Personally, I feel uncomfortable about an outspoken defence of that – I’d rather people just acknowledged that it happened (don’t most children play “doctors and nurses!?). It’s ocntrary to Catholic teaching, which is obviously relevant in the context of teaching in a Catholic school. However, on what grounds do you call it “paedophile”.
Someone on this site a while ago described someone as paedophile for sexual involvement with teenage girls, well above puberty. Again, that’s behaviour of which I disapprove, for various reasons, but it’s not paedophilia.
I’m reminded of your description the other day of the East German regime as “slavery”. Don’t you think you could be more careful throwing around terms like this? I hope I’m not just being nerdy.



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John

posted June 28, 2010 at 10:39 am


This is absolutely disgusting. I don’t know that this puts the search and Papal response in context, though. It certainly puts Daneels in context. But the legality of a search (and I don’t know the specifics) must be analyzed separately from the reality of its subject (even if this disturbing). From what I have read, the Pope’s response was not directed to Daneels’ innocence, but to the propriety of the search itself. Just as in the US you are not allowed to search a criminal any way you want, so too the law must be followed even if the subject of the search is a disgusting individual.



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Rod Dreher

posted June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am


Rombald, no, I don’t think it’s too strong. What it does is to establish the idea that it’s appropriate for children to give and to receive sexual pleasure. That provides the justification for pedophiles, some of whom do not believe they are harming their victims, but rather “helping” them to experience something natural and good. This book undermines a strong and necessary taboo.
John, again, I don’t know the legal appropriateness of the Belgian police action; I don’t know enough to judge. But what Colen reports indicates that there may be a very deep and serious problem within the Belgian church re: downplaying sexual molestation of children. We should consider that it is possible the Belgian authorities uncovered information that made such an extraordinary and hostile move against the Church necessary.



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Peter

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:00 am


Have you seen the book? I’m sensing we are missing TONS of context.



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Beth

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:14 am


More details of the book’s contents can be found in this article by Alexandra Colen:
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4471



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Denis

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:27 am


Catholic traditionalism and excessive attachment to the traditional Latin Rite liturgy are the only unforgivable sins in the eyes of Cardinal Danneels and the Belgian institutional Church. Heresy, perversion, pedophilia, on the other hand…
This may be OT but the Danneels has enthusiastically opened up many of Churches to Muslim worship. Muslim groups have been allowed to remove, cover up, or otherwise desecrate Catholic statues, pictures, crucifixes, altars, sacramentals and any other “offensive” sign of Christianity.



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nnmns

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:31 am


Some of this surely has to do with unmarried men being given all this power over families, of which they know rather little.
I have no experience of catechism lessons but I’m pleasantly surprised they may include sex ed, though I would be even more surprised at real sex ed, which by roughly ten should include information about real birth control. Can you imagine an American diocese being wise enough to do that?
Apparently this sex ed book got into questionable territory but I think we know too little about it to be absolutely sure.



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kenneth

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:31 am


I read the other day how Benedict was apparently griping about how the police raid impinged on the Church’s ability to “handle it’s own affairs.” I guess the more things change, the more they don’t. Maybe it’s time for lay Catholic men and some priests of conscience to form something like the Mossad, and deal with these guys the way Mossad used to deal with PLO terrorists. “He seems to have just choked on his own pillow during the night, sir. He DID have a snoring problem….”



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John

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:36 am


Rod-saw your post about the raid after I commented. I still don’t know that, if true, the horror of this “catechism” and all the facts surrounding it add anything to the raid itself and the Pope’s comments. The legality of the raid under Belgian law, and the propriety of allowing the Church to also process the investigation (maybe they aren’t doing enough, but the facts of the article you quote doesn’t address that) seem to be the crux of the Pope’s complaint. I guess I just disagree with your use of “necessary” in the comment. Certainly these facts seem to show something seriously wrong with the Church there-again, if they are true.
Peter, I don’t see how context can make these passages any different. Nothing could justify it.



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crowhill

posted June 28, 2010 at 11:46 am


Is there any longer any reasonable doubt that the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by sexual deviants at the highest levels?
Is it even possible to take anything the Catholic Church says about sex seriously?



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MB

posted June 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm


I remember a book for young kids at around the same time – saw it in a Doubleday’s (now that dates me)and saw a laudatory review (though I forget which paper) – called Show Me! which had lots of pictures of children happily exploring themselves. It was supposed to make them proud of being boys/ girls – but was later removed as the publisher (don’t remember if the pub was Doubleday’s) found that – oddly enough! – it was being used by pedophiles to convince kids into sex. So this kind of thing was around and approved by the enlightened.



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Dan O.

posted June 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm


All sounds very unsavory… Course, I’d like to see first-hand accounts of evidence. As a disinterested observer (and one of Jewish descent), I’d not be inclined immediately to trust somebody out of Vlaams Belang.



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Lasorda

posted June 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm


As a Catholic, I find this outrageous. There is going to be a severe shortage of millstones somewhere. However, as a veteran of liberal private schools, this sort of thing is familiar to me. In the mid-eighties I took middle school sex ed at a fancy day school. The class was a parade of this sort of pedagogy. We learned that masturbation was healthy; even masturbation that included light masochism. We learned about playing doctor, touching, etc. We has long rap sessions about sexual fantasies and misconceptions about sex. We were instructed in the safer techniques of homosexual sex. I recall the class culminating in the teacher putting a condom on a banana. The mood reflected a culture that was liberating its children from the oppressive sexual attitudes of the World War Two generation. This sort of thing may not have existed in Louisiana, but it existed in Northern California. Reading the description above made me briefly wonder if the Belgian Catholic Church had borrowed its textbooks from my K-8 alma mater. In other words, I think this is a case of the Catholic Church following liberal cultural norms as opposed to a unique expression of its own pedophilic tendencies. That is the real scandal of this stuff. The Church abandoned its moral teachings for the immoral sexual attitudes of the world.



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Stijn R.A.J. Calle

posted June 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm


The questionmark in the title of the article should be omitted, or replaced by an exclamationmark. It is, sadly, true. He refused to act, after being informer many times.



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BobSF

posted June 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm


Rombald, no, I don’t think it’s too strong. What it does is to establish the idea that it’s appropriate for children to give and to receive sexual pleasure. That provides the justification for pedophiles, some of whom do not believe they are harming their victims, but rather “helping” them to experience something natural and good. This book undermines a strong and necessary taboo.
Rod, pedophiles will tell you they don’t believe they’re harming their victims. You shouldn’t believe them.
Anyway, you are wrong to apply the term “pedophilia” to what is described by this account (an account I’m rather skeptical of, too). The term is incorrect and is thrown around way too frequently, making it almost impossible to discuss anything related to the sexuality of anyone 20 years on down.



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Robert C

posted June 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm


Alexandra Colen is a conservative who has battled the liberal prelate Daneels for years. Scratch the surface there is more there than meets the eye. The artcile also omits though her obtained reaction from others members of the college of Cardinals who she solicited for a reaction who expressed support for her issue and pledges to assist. However, this book sounds similar to other European sex education publications. Interesting how when taken out of context it sounds disturbing. Perhaps the city of Provincetown’s new policy of handing out condomws to eight year olds without their parents permission also sounds alarming if taken out of context. or is it?



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Rod Dreher

posted June 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm


I suspect the Belgian authorities timed their raids to coincide with the bishops’ meeting — where they were kept sequestered while the raids were carried out — to prevent any of them from ordering documents destroyed.



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Random Nickname

posted June 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm


Dan O: “As a disinterested observer (and one of Jewish descent), I’d not be inclined immediately to trust somebody out of Vlaams Belang.”
With pedophile priests on one side and white supremacists on the other, you sort of treat it like the Iran-Iraq War: stand back and hope that both sides lose and end up weaker. Sadly, one side is going to win and it’s going to be awful either way.



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praesta

posted June 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm


Here in Quebec many conservative/orthodox Christians (whatever that means) have been fighting with the state for more homeschooling options. Parents that object to sex ed and the watering down of the state religion curriculum have nowhere to turn. I’m not intimately familiar with the sex ed curriculum in Quebec and Canada. However, I’m a firm proponent of parents’ rights to educate (or not educate) their children about morality and faith.
What’s particularly scandalous about the Belgian situation is the imposition of a controversial and potentially exploitative sex ed curriculum that explicitly contradicts Catholic teachings. A Catholic institution should teach the message of the Church. Those parents that disagree with these teachings might opt to educate their children in another institution or teach a different message at home. Parental educational autonomy is the only effective solution to controversial curricula in religious and secular institutions.



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SarahTX2

posted June 30, 2010 at 8:32 am


Odd comments. Is anyone troubled about the catechism? This is not “sex ed” and it is not a reason to pursue homeschooling. It is a criminal pedophilia enterprise preying on children right before your eyes. The level of negligence required to allow this crime to be perpetrated against children is astounding. That negligence is on the part of the parents first and foremost, the parents who are, after all, primarily responsible for the welfare of their children. The Catholic Church scandal won’t end until it envelops all elements of negligence which are taking place. Calling the priests to account, then the Bishops, and maybe even the Pope, are the first responses. Ultimately, who led these children to perverts? Who allowed this to prevail? Who, in the big picture, was supposed to be paying attention but saw things so unspeakable that they could only look away?



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Rory Connor

posted June 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm


I have gathered together a dozen different artcles on this scandal on my website http://www.irishsalem.com. The url of the relevant section is
http://www.irishsalem.com/international-controversies/europe/index.php
I have not had time to do a commentary yet but one thing that strikes me is the similarity to the Father Paul Shanley scandal in the USA. Shanley was a promiscous homosexual and also a “gay” icon in the 1960s and 70s. Many conservative Catholics complained bitterly to the Church authorities about him and eventually, in 1979, he was removed from his “gay outreach” project in Boston. He was not however, removed from the priesthood. Even his supporters acknowledge that he was probably having sex with adolescent boys who were about (or below) the age of consent but “liberals” didn’t bother about that at the time.
Then in 2002 Shanley was accused of having raped FOUR eight year children decades before. His 4 accusers – all of whom knew each other – declared that they had “repressed” their memories for decades but had just “recovered” them. All of Shanley’s gay and liberal friends believed this proposterous story and deserted him. He was convicted on Recovered Memory evidence alone and the Massacheutetts Supreme Court recently refused his appeal and affirmed the validity of this voodoo brain science.
Cardinal Danneels is no Paul Shanley in his personal life but there are certain similarities. Belgian liberals loved the “liberal” Cardinal and sneered at his conservative critics – like Alexandra Colen when she protested at this repulsive “catechism”. Now they have turned on the Church and see nothing wrong in desecrating tombs in order to search for hidden documents – straight out of the Da Vinci Code! The Belgian Church degraded itself by adopting the values of the world and now the world despises it and wants to destroy it. It is an end without honour or dignity.



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Perry Bulwer

posted June 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm


Rod, the link you provide at the top of the article is now dead. It seems the article you took those quotations from has been removed from that website, so it’s a good thing you quoted much of it. Dead links to news articles is one reason I started keeping a blog archive of news articles related to child abuse in religious contexts.



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Rory Connor

posted July 1, 2010 at 3:40 am


Perry
The article “The Fall of the Belgian Church” by Alexandra Colen is on my website. The url is
http://www.irishsalem.com/international-controversies/europe/fallofbelgianchurch-24jun10.php
and I have also linked it to its original publication in “The Brussels Journal”.
The reason the link at the top of this article no longer works may be because Alexandra Colen’s article contains a copy of one of the offending illustrations from the Begian catechism. This drawing showed a naked baby girl saying: “Stroking my pussy makes me feel groovy,” “I like to take my knickers off with friends,” “I want to be in the room when mum and dad have sex.” Panic about paedophilia has reached such a level that people may be afraid that showing the ilustration will attract paedophiles.
Yet in the 1990s Alexandra Colen was sneered at by the liberal media in Belgium because she objected to these illustrations and the message they conveyed!



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Robert C

posted July 2, 2010 at 11:35 am


Right on Roy. You hit the nail on the head not only about Colen & Daneels, but about Shanley also.



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Rory Connor

posted July 4, 2010 at 5:05 am


Robert
When Shanley was removed from his “gay” ministry in 1979 his liberal friends protested furiously. This was another homophobic act by the Catholic Church! Yet, when he was accused on ridiculous grounds in 2002, these same people quoted the objections made by traditionalists in the 1970s as proof that the Church “knew” all along.
Quote from a Reuters article in January this year when Cardinal Danneels was replaced by the conservative Archbishop Leonard:
http://www.irishsalem.com/international-controversies/europe/archbishopleonard-18jan10.php
“The long-awaited announcement of the successor to the retiring Catholic archbishop of Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, has sparked an unusual outcry in Belgium. The new archbishop, André-Mutien Léonard, is sometimes called “the Belgian Ratzinger” for his conservative views. Danneels ranks as one of the last liberal prelates in a Church hierarchy that has turned increasingly traditional under Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict.”
I suspect that the Belgian scandal will turn into an attack on traditionalists OR the Catholic Church in general. I would be VERY surprised if it results in a re-appraisal of the role of liberals and homosexuals in the Church.



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