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Belgian report Belgian report
by Euro Reporter
2010-11-08 09:09:28
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Belgium's embattled archbishop gets pie in face at All Saints service, won't press charges

Belgian media says the country's ultraconservative Roman Catholic archbishop was hit by a pie in the face during an All Saints Day service. Footage of the incident released Saturday showed a young man approaching Archbishop Andre Leonard on Monday and smacking him with a pie. A church official says the archbishop will not press charges against the unknown attacker.

The incident came amid growing turmoil within Belgium's Roman Catholic Church, which faces an investigation into hundreds of cases of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. Leonard himself shocked Catholics by sympathizing with priests accused of paedophilia and by saying that homosexuals deserved to get AIDS. On Tuesday, Leonard's spokesman quit his job, saying he could no longer speak for a "loose canon."


Head of Belgium's Catholic Church sparks fury after he brands gays a 'travesty of nature who deserve Aids'

The head of Belgium's Catholic Church has sparked fury after he claimed the Aids epidemic was 'intrinsic justice' for homosexuality. Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard also argued that retired Catholic priests suspected of paedophilia should be spared criminal punishment. Archbishop Leonard's own spokesman has now quit in protest at his former employer's comments, which come as the church in Belgium reels in the face of allegations of decades of sexual abuse of more than 450 children by priests.

'Monsignor Leonard at times acts like a motorist driving on the wrong side of a motorway who thinks all the other motorists are wrong,' said his former spokesman Juergen Mettepennigen. 'I neither wish nor want to continue working as his spokesman.' Writing in a new book of religious thinking, Archbishop Leonard said of homosexuality and HIV: 'When you mistreat the environment it ends up mistreating us in turn.  'And when you mistreat human love, perhaps it winds up taking vengeance. 'I'm saying that sometimes there are consequences linked to our actions, and that this epidemic is a sort of intrinsic justice.'

And speaking on Belgian television last week, the head of Belgium's Catholic Church said priests suspected of sexually abusing children should be spared judicial redress. 'Priests who abused children in their care must be made aware of what they did but if they're no longer working, if they have no responsibilities, I'm not sure that exercising a sort of vengeance that will have no concrete result is humane,' he claimed. A petition has now been launched to have him sacked as Chancellor of the Catholic University of Louvain while Catholic officials have distanced themselves from his remarks.


Belgium's IBt sees delay for U.S. plans

In December shares in the Belgian company rose as much as 3.2 percent after it signed a deal with California-based Core Oncology to enter the United States, the world's biggest market for its radiation-emitting anti-cancer implants. "There is no possibility for us to now say exactly when (the U.S. expansion) will happen or in what form," Paul-Emmanuel Goethals, head of investor relations, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Asked why it had scaled back the U.S. plans, Goethals said it had been busy with "many other things", pointing to its SmartSeed product, but declined to comment further. The accord had been part of IBt's plan to re-enter the U.S. market, two years after closing its loss-making operations in the region. Talks were initially expected to show results in the first half of the year. Former Chief Executive Francois Blondel, who stepped down in March following a takeover, told Reuters in an interview in January he hoped to make a "significant" investment in the United States this year.

However Goethals declined to comment on whether IBt would continue with Core Oncology. He said it still planned to enter the United States, but could not disclose a timetable. Blondel stepped down following a takeover of the company by two shareholders. IBt earlier increased its 2010 revenue forecast, saying it expected to see additional income from a partial completion of deliveries to its Russian venture in the fourth quarter.

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