The retired bishop of Ghent in Belgium, Bishop Luc Van Looy, has declined the honor of being named as one of the Princes of the church. He declined because of his insufficient response to cases of clergy sexual abuse during his period as a bishop of the church.
Cardinals are called the Prince of the church and they are the prime advisers to the pope. Although Van Looy is already too old to be the next pope as he is aged 80 years, he was still selected as a cardinal as a recognition of his service to the church.
The announcement of his appointment had raised positive reactions but there had also been criticism that he did not do much concerning sexual abuse during his pastoral work. The Bishop conference had however appreciated his decision to decline the honor and affirmed their commitment to fighting abuse in the church and placing the interests of victims first.
Van Looy is a priest of the Salesian religious order and was a bishop of the northwest Belgian diocese from 2004 to 2020. The Belgian Catholic Church has a bad record of sexual abuse among priests and also a cover-up of this crime.