From the Second World War until the 1980s, around 30 thousand children in Belgium were sold by the Catholic Church without their mothers’ knowledge. The shocking data emerges from the podcast «Kinderen van de Kerk» (Sons of the Church) produced by the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
Adopted mothers and children testified to the facts for the first time. For decades, young, single, pregnant women have been forced to entrust their children to adoptive parents. The latter often paid for them.
The Minister of Justice, Paul Van Tigchelt, specified that four priests had already been suspended and removed from the Church from the list of ministers paid by the Ministry of Justice. And investigations are still ongoing into four other priests who may be involved in the scandal.
The minister also highlighted the ongoing work carried out by the parliamentary commission of inquiry responsible for investigating the treatment of sexual abuse committed inside and outside the Church, as well as the adoption of an amendment that allows for the recognition of illegally adopted children as victims of human trafficking.
«What happened is despicable. These facts must be examined thoroughly,” said Van Tigchelt, who now fears the possible limitation of the facts. The minister also asked for adequate preparation for the visit of Pope Francis, expected to Belgium in 2024, and considered it appropriate to carry out an investigation.