|Fr. Charles Delhez, S.J.|
On a recent visit to Belgium I read a leaflet by a Jesuit priest, Fr Charles Delhez; reviewing the (proven) scandal of the Bishop of Bruges he appealed, as I do here, for justice: justice not only for the victims of sexual crimes, but also justice for accused priests – who may be innocent. We know of false memory syndrome, where unscrupulous and unregulated psychotherapists act upon vulnerable young people to unearth supposed memories of familial incest, causing trauma and breakdown in ordinary families. The same syndrome can operate within the clerical sphere. Add to it the temptation of receiving a large sum of money, the tricks of memory after the passage of time, the wish for revenge and the harbouring of a grudge and you have, as I indicated above, a minefield for the police to navigate. Fr Delhez referred to the notorious affair of Outreau in France, where 13 people, including a priest, spent three years on remand before the accusations of children against them were found to be lies and fantasy and they were acquitted. I myself know an elderly English Jesuit priest accused in this way by a former pupil of the school he taught at, and who was also later acquitted of any wrongdoing. He suffered deeply in the meantime.
Link (here) to the full blog post at the Catholic Herald