the dutch magazine ‘Amsterdam’ published last Wednesday, September 27 accusations of abuse by several men who would have been victims in the 90s of the ex-bishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1996, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, from East Timor.
Ximenes Belo submitted his resignation as bishop in 2002 when he was only 54 years old, citing health reasons at the time, but the Dutch publication assures that the Vatican knew of the accusations and that they were also known in the Asian country by the Catholic community.
Belo was ordained a priest in 1980. After studying in Rome and Portugal, he returned to East Timor in 1981 to work as a teacher. In 1983, Pope John Paul II appointed him apostolic administrator of the diocese of Diliwhich was then the only one in East Timor.
He was appointed bishop in 1989, and remained apostolic administrator of Dili. He was a fierce critic of Indonesian oppression in East Timor, and publicly denounced the massacre of more than 200 pro-independence protesters in a Dili cemetery in 1991.
In a 1989 letter smuggled out of the country, Belo denounced the Indonesian military occupation and pleaded for the intervention of the Pope, the UN Secretary General and the President of Portugal, which had ruled East Timor as a colony until independence in 1974.
Ximénez Belo received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with the current president of the country, José Ramos-Horta.
After his unexpected resignation, Ximenes Belo briefly moved to Portugal, he was then sent as a missionary to Mozambique for several years, and then returned again to Portugal, where he currently lives.
According to the Dutch publication, the Vatican prohibited him from returning to his country of origin. Ximenes did not attend the consistory held this August in Rome, in which his successor as Archbishop of Dili, Archbishop Virgílio do Carmo da Silva, was made a cardinal.