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Belgian Cardinal Cleared of Porn Charges

Calls for Investigation Into Media Leak

BRUSSELS, Belgium, JULY 12, 2010 (

The Brussels public prosecutor's office confirmed Friday that Cardinal Godfried Danneels, retired archbishop of the city, did not download pornography to his computer.

The authorities' clarification, however, comes after the "Het Nieuwsblad" newspaper accused the cardinal of using pornography.

In fact, authorities affirmed that a pornographic picture on the cardinal's computer was downloaded automatically.

Jean Marc Meilleur, spokesman of the office of the public prosecutor, confirmed the existence of the "suspicious" photograph, but clarified that "anyone who surfs the Internet can find this type of photograph among his temporary files."

Cardinal Danneel's spokesman, Hans Geybels, announced that legal action will be made regarding the accusation being sent to the press. He has called for a serious investigation to clarify what happened.

This case comes on the heels of a similar violation, when the press was told that the archbishopric of Malines-Brussels was linked to a serial killer, Marc Dutroux. That information was also subsequently shown to be falsified.

The Church in Belgium was also victim of a police raid on offices and the cathedral of the Brussels Archdiocese, as authorities sought material related to sexual abuse.

In addition to holding the country's bishops for nine hours, the police drilled holes in the graves of Cardinals Jozef Van Roey and Leon Suenens, deceased archbishops of Malines-Brussels, located in the crypt of the cathedral.

Benedict XVI later expressed his "surprise" at the raids, which he said were carried out in a "deplorable manner."