I grew up in a part of America where hating Catholics and Catholicism was considered a great 'Christian' virtue by quite a few people.
As a result, this news from Belgium - I got much of my information from BBC - looked like more of that drearily familiar anti-Catholic sentiment, played out by latter-day Keystone Kops in Belgium.
Looks like the situation is a little more complicated than that.
An article in today's online National Catholic Reporter gives a brief overview of what's happened in Belgium recently, and Belgian culture.
I recommend reading the article.
Belgian Police: Determined to Look Good This Time?Apparently, the Belgian judicial system blundered in a high-profile sex-abuse case involving a Belgian serial killer, Dutroux, who abused and killed some children in the mid-1990s. He was tried in 2004.
I can see where something like that could be embarrassing.
It's understandable, that the Belgian police probably wouldn't want to seem lax about another alleged case of child abuse.
So they drilled into a couple of tombs in a Catholic church.
There's a little more to it than that. Seems that Belgian culture encouraged people to solve problems and discuss issues in private, behind closed doors. Belgian priests and bishops acted the same way.
So the Belgian police rushed in like gangbusters and carted away 50 computers.
The Belgian police may have had reasons for what they did, other than a sort of psycho-social disorder.
It does look like Belgium is going through a sort of transition from a 'keep things private' way of dealing with issues, to a 'transparency' approach. They may be justified in doing so.
But playing Tomb Raider in a Cathedral's crypt still doesn't feel quite right to me.
- "Belgian Police: Tomb Raider and the Cardinals"
(June 25, 2010)
- "Cultural forces at work in Belgian scandal"
Analysis, National Catholic Reporter (July 20, 2010)
A tip of the hat to lukecoppen, on Twitter, for the heads-up on the NCR story.