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Belgian bishop asks not to be made a cardinal, out of concern for abuse victims

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Belga via AFP

I.Media - published on 06/16/22

The Pope has accepted the request of Bishop Luc Van Looy to renounce the red hat.

Bishop Luc Van Looyan, bishop emeritus of Ghent, Belgium, has asked Pope Francis to dispense with his nomination as a cardinal, the Belgian bishops’ conference announced June 16, 2022.

Pope Francis included the 80-year-old Belgian prelate in the list of names he announced on May 29 to be created cardinals at the end of August.

According to the Belgian bishops, this announcement “has provoked many positive reactions, but also criticism of the fact that, while bishop of Ghent (2004-2020), he didn’t always react forcefully enough to abuses within pastoral relationships.”

In order to prevent “victims of such abuses from being hurt again as a result of his becoming a cardinal, Bishop Van Looy has asked the Pope to dispense him from the acceptance of this appointment. Pope Francis has accepted his request,” the bishops said.

In addition to Bishop Van Looy, four others on the list of those to be made cardinal are past their 80th birthday and thus already too old to vote in a conclave. They are two prelates and two priests: Archbishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal of Cartagena (Colombia); Archbishop Arrigo Miglio of Cagliari (Italy); Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S.J. – Professor of Theology; and Msgr. Fortunato Frezza – Canon of Saint Peter’s Basilica.

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