The bishops of Belgium have declared this coming Saturday, April 8th, as the “National Day for Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church”. A ceremony will take place, on the day, at 11 a.m. in the Basilique Nationale de Sacré-Coeur (the Roman Catholic Minor Basilica and parish church). This is located in the Koekelberg district of Brussels.
During the Service the Primate of Belgium, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel, the Bishop of Antwerp, Mgr Johan Bonny and the Bishop of Tournai, Mgr Guy Harpigny will all speak. Other senior clerics will also have the chance to say a few words.
Ingrid Rosschaert’s work, entitled “Esse est Percipi” (which translates as “Existence is a form of acknowledgement”, editor’s note), dedicated to the memory of all sexual abuse victims within the Catholic Church, will be unveiled on this occasion.
The ceremony, which will begin at 11 a.m., will last for an hour. It is set to conclude with a reception due to take place at 1 p.m.
The afternoon programme, which will end at 4 p.m., will be solely for victims and their spouses, accompanying adults, bishops, their superiors and other priests, as well as point of contact teams. Other members of the public will not be able to attend this part of the day.
There are various activities anticipated as well as the chance for small group discussions between victims, support teams and Catholic Church officials.
Per Tommy Scholtès, at present around 100 individuals have their names down for the lunch. He is the spokesman for the Episcopal Conference. Scholtès goes on, “No doubt more people will attend the morning ceremony, but equally it is very difficult for us to know precise numbers at the present time.”