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Assaulted by gay activists, Belgium archbishop closes eyes and prays

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 28th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's being called a most remarkable example of gentleness in the face of a vile attack. The leader of the Catholic Church in Belgium, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard kept his eyes closed in prayer as four topless lesbians attacked him with shouts and curses and doused him with water.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard has been previously attacked for backing the Church's teachings on homosexuality and expressing his concern for those who live the homosexual lifestyle.

Four women, representing the pro-abortion and homosexual group FEMEN, took to the stage at ULB University in Brussels where the archbishop was participating in a debate on blasphemy laws. The women disrobed to reveal black-painted slogans on their bare chests and backs, such as "my body my rules. "Waving signs that read "stop homophobia," the women doused the archbishop with water from bottles formed in the image of the Virgin Mary.

In the minutes before the women could be forced off stage, Archbishop Leonard sat drenched with water, eyes closed in prayer. The archbishop then kissed the image of the Virgin Mary on one of the water bottles that was used in the attack.

"He was very calm and maintained a position of prayer. I have to believe he was praying for us," one of the attackers said to reporters.

The attack was spurred by an interview three weeks ago where Archbishop Leonard said that when speaking to Christians who are inclined to homosexuality he suggests celibacy, as is required for all single persons.

As Bishop of Namur, Archbishop Leonard was accused of an offence against the Belgian anti-racism act for calling homosexual acts "abnormal" in 2007. The following year, he was cleared of homophobia charges after appearing in court.

As the new archbishop of Brussels, the archbishop was targeted by gay rights groups and condemned by the country's prime minister, after he said that AIDS is a consequence of risky sexual behavior, including homosexual sexual activity.

He was attacked at his Cathedral by a man who shoved a cherry pie in the archbishop's face in 2011. Homosexual activists at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve near Brussels threw a custard pie in the archbishop's face that same year.

Archbishop Leonard has been a great supporter for the pro-life movement in Belgium, speaking at their inaugural March for Life in 2010.

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