In a move that isn't playing too well in the court of public opinion, Pope Benedict has condemned Belgian police raids on church offices. The raids were conducted in the course of continuing sex abuse investigations; in addition to seizing files and a computer, the investigators also drilled holes into two cardinals' tombs in order to insert cameras looking for "hidden documents," according to the BBC. The Vatican has expressed "indignation over the violation of the graves" and the raids' "violation of confidentiality of precisely those victims for whom the raids were carried out." The pope also followed up with a letter to Brussels Archbishop Andre Joseph Leonard over the "deplorable methods" of the searches.
Critics are unimpressed with his horrified response.
- 'The Pope Is Shocked that Belgian Laws Apply to Priests,' writes Gawker's Jeff Neumann. He also wonders about a Vatican official's comparison of Belgium to a communist state: "So if Belgium is a big, bad godless commie state, what does that make the Vatican? A theocratic nest of child molesters and real estate fraudsters?"
- 'Violation?' You've Got to Be Kidding Me "Somehow, I'm not feeling any sympathy that the Church feels 'violated' by an investigation into a global sex abuse problem it conspired to conceal for more than a century," agrees Melissa McEwan at Shakesville. "And their affected concern for survivors," she continues, "is revolting. I would hope that no one yet suffers from the misapprehension that the Catholic Church is more concerned for protecting survivors' confidentiality than for protecting the anonymity of its abusive priests."
- 'They Just Don't Get It' Of course the police raided the buildings, says Joe Sudbay at Americablog: "That's often what police do when there's evidence of crime and a cover up." As far as he can see, these men of the cloth "really think their jobs as priests make them immune from the law." The abuse scandal, he says, "would have ended a long time ago if police in other countries treated the child raping priests like the criminals that they are."