With its references to AIDS, the archbishop of Brussels caused outrage for storms, the action of a lawyer was rejected.
Brussels (kath.net / CBA / red) A court in the Belgian city of Antwerp has dismissed a lawsuit against Archbishop André-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels. The appellant did not prove to have been personally harmed by statements of the Belgian Bishops' Conference Chairman or insulted, Belgian media on site reported on Wednesday.
An attorney filed last year against Leonard because of his public statements about AIDS and homosexuality. The lawyer announced that he would appeal the decision to close the case.
Leonard had described AIDS as a consequence of misconduct, a form of 'immanent justice'. The comment had triggered a storm of indignation. Teachers of the Catholic University of Leuven, church newspaper chief editors and representatives of Catholic laity called for his resignation. In protest against Léonard, remarks came the then Speaker of the Belgian Bishops' Conference, Jürgen Mette Penningen. He likened the Archbishop with a ghost rider, holding on despite the warnings about his course from his navigation system.
In 2005, Leonard was interviewed by a French journal, "Monseigneur Leonard. Interviews with Louis Mathoux" where they talked about the disease AIDS. In the third question his interviewer asked whether he thought there was a connection between AIDS and punishment from God. Leonard had answered: it's just as much from pollution that might cause damage or, something such as alcohol abuse could cause damage to ones self, so too dangerous sexual practices (eg, multiple sexual partners and anal sex) lead to diseases such as AIDS. ONLY in this sense does he want to talk about "inherent justice".