In an unusually personal message, Pope Benedict XVI issued a sharply worded statement on Sunday excoriating Belgian authorities for their “deplorable methods” in investigating allegations of sexual abuse by priests. The pontiff’s words follow an extensive raid by Belgian police of the nation’s church, in which they seized computer files of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference, searched the home and office of former Archbishop Godfried Danneels, and detained a meeting of bishops for nine hours in Brussels. Benedict warned that the case should be handled by “both civil and canon law,” and expressed his support for the current archbishop, André-Joseph Léonard.
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