05/22/2011 – by Cynthia S. Wright
The Dutch Catholic Church and the Salesian order are investigating the circumstances surrounding a Salesian priest serving on the Dutch board “Martijn” – a group that campaigns against the Dutch law that bans adult-child sex.
It appears that “Father Van B” not only seemed to serve on the board but that his boss was fully aware of what the priest was doing. The priest was quoted as saying, “Society thinks these relationships are harmful. I disagree.” Van B served on the board from 2008 – 2010, until the founder of the group was arrested for possession of child pornography (a case that is still being handled in court).
Delegate Herman Spronck, the order’s top official in the Netherlands confirmed in a statement that even though the 73-year-old priest did serve on that particular board, the delegate attempted to redeem his church and faith by stating:
“Of course we reject this and distance ourselves from this personal initiative” on the part of the priest. Membership in such organizations does not fit with the ethos of the Salesian order.”
At the same time, it has been noted that Spronck has discussed that he was fully aware of Van B’s pedophilia and Martijn’s board membership but that still wasn’t enough for Van B to be removed from the order.
However, that opinion isn’t good enough for Spronck’s superior who is launching his own investigation on both Spronck and Van B., after both men were quoted by RTL Nieuws explaining that adult-child relationships aren’t always “harmful.”
Dutch Catholic Church spokesman Pieter Kohnen quickly weighed in saying that, even with all the sex abuse scandals involving the church, this one seemed unbelievable because the church clearly rejects pedophilia (or so he would like to believe). Turning his attention onto Superior Claes, he warned the superior that if the Dutch Salesian order’s leadership was not rectified quickly, Rome would soon be involved.
Several of the most well known abuse cases involving Salesian’s involve boarding schools and orphanages in the 1950s and 1960s.