“I should have demanded the dismissal of Bishop Vangheluwe,” Danneels told the papers. Bruges bishop Roger Vangheluwe resigned in April, admitting that he had repeatedly sexually abused his nephew some 25 years earlier.
The victim produced a secretly recorded tape on which Danneels can be heard asking him to forgive the bishop or at least keep quiet until his retirement.
“I admit that I could have done more,” Danneels said during the newspaper interview. “Not a minute goes by that I don’t think about the victim’s tragedy.”
Belgian investigators are probing whether Danneels, the former head of the country’s bishop conference, knew of abuse allegations against priests in the past years and had kept them under wraps.
The 77-year-old left behind his position as bishop of Mechelen-Brussel in January due to his age.