VATICAN CITY, 27 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a message, made public today Sunday, sent by the Pope to Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, president of the Belgian Episcopal Conference, following the search of the cathedral of Mechelen and of the archbishopric which was conducted on 24 June.
"At this sad time I wish to express my special closeness and solidarity to you, dear brother in the episcopate, and to all the bishops of the Church in Belgium, for the surprising and deplorable manner in which searches were carried out at the cathedral of Mechelen and at the site where the Belgian episcopate was gathered in a plenary assembly which, among other things, also intended to consider questions associated with the abuse of minors by members of the clergy. On a number of occasions I myself have highlighted how these serious matters should be dealt with by both civil law and canon law, while respecting the specific nature and autonomy of each. In this context, I trust that justice may run its course in order to guarantee the fundamental rights of persons and of institutions, at the same time respecting victims, showing unconditional recognition for those who undertake to collaborate, and rejecting everything that obscures the noble goal with which justice is assigned.
"While assuring you that I accompany the progress of your Church with my daily prayers, I willingly impart an affectionate apostolic blessing".MESS/ VIS 20100628 (250)