Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based confederation of 165 national Catholic charities, has expressed sadness and outrage over incidents of child abuse by a Belgian Salesian priest who had been the national director of Caritas in the Central African Republic.
Caritas Internationalis in Rome released a written statement the same day CNN published an investigative report outlining new accusations against Fr Luk Delft, including his 2012 conviction in Belgium of two counts of child abuse and of possession of child pornography.
“Caritas Internationalis is assisting the local Caritas in the Central African Republic as it investigates the allegations, strengthens its safeguarding mechanisms and offers care and support to any possible victims and their families,” the statement said.
“Caritas Internationalis has asked all national organisations worldwide to vet their governance, staff, volunteers and international staff,” it added.
The national office of Caritas Internationalis in Belgium issued a statement saying it was “appalled by the serious accusations of child abuse against a staff member of the Caritas global network”.
Even though the unnamed staff member was not working for Caritas Belgium, it said, “the entire confederation of Caritas Internationalis is affected.”
It added that judicial authorities in Belgium were informed in June 2019.
The Caritas confederation also launched an investigation and a support system for victims. The Caritas Belgium statement added that an external audit had been launched to pinpoint what “negligence” had occurred to allow for the priest to be working for Caritas as well as to identify weaknesses in current prevention and protection policy.