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Belgian Archbishop: “AIDS Is a Kind of Immanant Justice”

Jim Burroway

October 15th, 2010
Belgian Catholic Primate Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard

Belgian Catholic Primate Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard

According to Flandersnews, the Belgian Catholic Primate, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, is about to publish a memoir in which he describes AIDS as a kind of “Immanent justice.” The news item contains very little information on the context of the remarks, but the Archbishop’s spokesman Jürgen Mettepenningen confirmed that those comments accurately reflect the Archbishop’s belief:

Jürgen Mettepenningen: “When the Archbishop spoke of homosexuality as a misunderstood form of sexuality I also sounded the alarm (to the archbishop). I thought that this could be formulated in a better way. But I don’t have the job of thinking for him. I am only his spokesman.”

The Catholic Church in Belgium is embroiled in a massive child sexual abuse scandal. Last June, police seized files on 475 cases last Juny, but a court declared the raid illegal and ordered the files returned. The Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vengheluwe, resigned in April after admitting he had sexually abused his nephew for years. In September, Bishop Guy Harpigny, the Belgian bishops’ spokesman on the abuse scandal, told Belgium Radio that the church is afraid to give a full apology for the sexual abuse of children by its priests as this could open the door to compensation claims.



Leonardo Ricardo
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

The Archbishop ought bury his head, in shame, in a more enligtening book…his fictional blame-spreading won´t cover up his desperation…more lies won´t cure his spiritual illness (not to mention lack of moral authority)…the whole of the Roman ¨blockade¨ of truth degenerates reality to fit some idealistic notion of twisted right vs. wrong…cowards all.

Doctor Whom
October 15th, 2010 | LINK

This is why so many people have such a hard time accepting the Roman Catholic institution’s teaching authority on sexual morality. Something about specks, beams, and eyes comes to mind, as does something about knowing every tree by its fruit.

October 15th, 2010 | LINK

I hope he doesn’t mean that the AIDS-triggered, premature deaths of millions in Africa – Christians and non-Christians, adults and especially children – is some kind of justice. I would be tempted to ask him if it has something to do with Africa being so homophobic.

October 15th, 2010 | LINK

Who the cares what men who wear frilly dresses, gaudy jewelry and patent leather pumps say, especially when they have an “all powerful” imaginary friend who guides them thru his magic book of fairy tales?

October 15th, 2010 | LINK

So their position is that we should take advice about sex from people who would be celibate if they didn’t spend so much time raping children.

How about… no.

Lynn David
October 16th, 2010 | LINK

I think the correct phrase he used was that AIDS was a “sort of inherent justice” which I’d say is even a worse statement. This is the same fool who said, “homosexuality is not the same as normal sex, in the same way that anorexia is not a normal appetite.”

“If God exists, maybe he could provide a punishment for someone who utters such nonsense,” said Rudy Demotte, prime minister of Belgium’s southern Wallonia region.

October 16th, 2010 | LINK

I think the Archbishop’s original statement was in French, and I’m not sure what adjective he used. Regardless, “immanent” and “inherent” are basically synonymous in this context. “Immanant” (which appears in the headline here) isn’t the correct spelling of the word we’re discussing!

This follow-up article uses the same formulation of “a kind of immanent justice”, though this one uses both “intrinsic justice” and “inherent justice”, so I suspect it’s just a question of the translator’s preference.

Re: Franck’s comment, the Archbishop has clarified that he does distinguish between “good AIDS” and “bad AIDS”:

“AIDS is not a punishment by God, but a logical consequence of changing sexual contacts”, André Léonard explains. “I was not talking about AIDS caused by blood transfusions or as an illness that you are born with.”

The Archbishop made a comparison with smoking to explain his words: “If someone gets lung cancer through smoking, the cancer is a kind of immanent justice. The person in question was aware of what he did, and his choices have a consequence.”

October 18th, 2010 | LINK


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