Dutch Catholic order hit by pedophile group scandal

PARIS Mon May 23, 2011 2:29pm EDT

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PARIS (Reuters) - A Roman Catholic order of priests sacked its leader in the Netherlands and disciplined another priest Monday after the two publicly defended pedophile sex, an issue haunting the worldwide Church in recent years.

The scandal erupted over the weekend when RTL radio reported the priest, named only as Rev. Van B, had been a board member of a lobbying group advocating sex between adults and children. He told RTL that few children suffered from such relationships.

Asked about the case, Rev. Herman Spronck, leader of the Dutch Salesians, said he agreed pedophile sex could be accepted.

"Herman Spronck is no longer the delegate from the Salesian delegation in the Netherlands," his superior Rev. Jos Claes, leader of the Salesians in Belgium and the Netherlands, told RTL. "We fully distance ourselves from the words we find in your interview with Herman Spronck."

Rev. Van B "can longer perform any pastoral duties as of today," he added.

The Dutch Salesians used to run boarding schools where many of the 2,000 complaints of clerical sexual abuse of boys emerged when the scandal broke there last year. It has admitted to paying hush money to some victims.


An independent commission investigating abuse cases dating back to 1945 has found that the Netherlands ranks worst behind only Ireland in a scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church in Europe and the United States.

The abuse scandal has badly damaged the reputation of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict has apologised for the scandals and last week issued tougher new guidelines for churches around the world to make fighting clerical sex abuse a top priority.

While many priests have been exposed as molesters, very few have defended sex with minors. The radio said Van B. had twice been arrested for exposing himself to children.

In his interview with RTL, Van B said: "Society finds these kinds of relationships damaging. I don't agree. Only in a few cases do the children suffer from them."

The radio, which said Spronck knew of Van B's role in the pedophile group but did nothing about it, quoted him as saying he "would not reject in principle (the idea of) sex with minors." Spronck later denied he had said that.

Claes said in a statement the Salesians had set up an inquiry into Van B's membership in the group. "Membership in such an association, and its views, are not consistent with our Salesian identity and educational project," he said.

Wim Deetman, head of the independent commission investigating the scandals, has said most cases happened decades ago and could no longer be prosecuted. The commission had a list of about 1,000 suspected abusers but only six had confessed their guilt.

(Additional reporting by Gilbert Kreijger in Amsterdam; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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Comments (3)
Finally, an honest priest who admits that child rape isn’t a big deal in the Catholic church.

Another honest one is Bishop Vangheluwe of Belgium, who admitted he had sex with his nephew from age 5-18, then he had sex with the other nephew. It’s not new because he had sex with children, or that they were his nephews, or that he was a bishop.

The new part was that he was honest – he said sex with children (and his nephews) and said it was no big deal.

We are finally beginning to see why priests and bishops in the Catholic church don’t speak up against child rape. They think it’s no big deal. These priests should be commended for being honest, then thrown in a dungeon.

Parents – keep your kids out of the church. They don’t think child rape is a big deal.

May 23, 2011 3:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JanetBaker wrote:
Thhis is not an isolated case, and it may be tied directly to the moral ambiguities introduced at Vatican II. Simply lamenting this instance is not enough. You well know the problem is throughout the Church, on every continent. Virtually every religious order has been affected. Dealing with it case by case will not prevent new cases from arising. These men feel justified by Church teaching since Vatican II, and they are right. The guilty language is found there. The language that says each person’s “dignity” requires that they be allowed to act out whatever they feel in their heart to be good must be repudiated. This wording is repeated throughout the constitutions of Vatican II and it is still repeated today in the Church, in their continual insistence on ‘religious freedom’ and ‘personal dignity.’ But the Vatican won’t examine the Council–yet. They are instead trying to throw the traditional mass under the bus in an attempt to save themselves. We must raise that cry throughout Christendom: repudiate the Council!

May 24, 2011 9:30am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Fearnot wrote:
Jesus warned us the day would come when there would be sheep in wolves clothing Pedophiles have targetted large institutions globally including the Church Incresed holiness on the part of each individual is the only way to combat evil There but for the grace of God can go any soul When we take our eyes off Christ we sink beneath the waves of our own susceptibility to sin.
Jesus also warned “woe to those who scandalise my little ones” Even if a person manages to elude eathly justice they will meet their Divine Creator. We cannot avoid the consequences of our negative choices.If we do not acknowledge and attempt to do pennance for our wrong doings in this world we will have to do so in the next.Jesus warned what would await those who failed to “better a millstone be tied around their neck”

May 24, 2011 9:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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