The Catholic Church in Belgium has admitted that a Cardinal attempted to prevent a sex abuse victim from going public with his story.

The incident happened at a meeting last April when the former head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, asked the victim to delay making a public statement until the bishop who abused him had retired.

The Bishop later admitted to the abuse and resigned.

In transcripts, published in De Standaard yesterday, Cardinal Danneels suggested the victim should make no public statement about the abuse until Bishop Roger Vangheluwe retired the following year.

He told the victim he believed a public announcement would not serve the interests of the victim or the bishop, the transcripts said.

‘I don't know if there will be much to gain from making a lot of noise about this, neither for you nor for him.’

Bishop Vangheluwe resigned after admitting having abused the victim for a number of years, both as a priest and a bishop.

Danneels retired in January and has been questioned as a witness in an investigation into sexual abuse by the church in Belgium.