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Catholic priest was member of paedophile promotion group

Sunday 22 May 2011

The Dutch Catholic Church is investigating claims that a former priest and member of the Salesian order was also a member of a group which seeks to end the ban on paedophilia, and had two convictions for exposing himself to children.

The priest, identified only as Father Van B, is 73 and is said to have been a member of the Martijn foundation, a legal lobby group which promotes adult child sex, for years. He also served on its board between 2008 and 2010.

According to a reconstruction of events by RTL news, Van B’s behaviour was well-known to the church authorities, who failed to take action against him and allowed him to move to new parishes after complaints.


He was still able to work as a volunteer for various church organisations, including helping children prepare for their first communion.

‘Society finds these sort of relationships damaging. I do not agree. A child only suffers in a few cases,’ Van B is quoted as saying by RTL news. During the priest’s time on the board of Martijn, its chairman was arrested for possessing child pornography. That investigation is still ongoing.

The priest himself has two convictions for exposing himself to children, RTL said.

Boarding schools

Thousands of past cases of alleged sexual abuse by Dutch priests are currently under investigation. The scandal broke last year after an investigation into claims of abuse in the 1950s and 60s at boarding schools run by Salesian priests.

RTL says the current head of the Salesian order in Holland, Herman Spronck, knew the priest was a member of Martijn and had convictions for exposing himself but that Spronck saw no reason why Van B should not be allowed to work with children.

Not damaging

During the interview, Spronck also said that relationships between children and adults did not have to be damaging. ‘Personally I do not condemn relationships between adults and children… Sexual contact is also possible.’

Only a few of the children who claim to have suffered abuse at the hands of priests have actually suffered, Spronck is quoted as saying.

Spronck later told RTL news he did not agree with the text of the interview and referred to the official church statement, distancing the Salesian order from the Martijn foundation.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

He should be behind bars!

By The visitor | 22 May 2011 12:47 PM

Absolutely sickening! When will the judicial system put the interests of children ahead of these perverts? I believe that these sickos enter the priesthood just so they can have access to vulnerable children. Only now are we finding out what has been going on for hundreds of years. Stone the bastards.

By Sue | 22 May 2011 8:58 PM

In the name of Jesus, what kind of a world are we creating? First of all, celibacy for catholic priests has to be abolished because service for humanity (which is what the church intends to do) has nothing to do with the fact the people involved have a sex life or not!
Please make this world a better place for our children!

By BEA | 23 May 2011 7:50 AM

How can a group which promotes the sexual abuse of children be legal?

By Donaugh | 23 May 2011 8:49 AM

What is so frightening is that they have little if any awareness of why child abuse is wrong. This is not just an individual moral failure but the failure of the Catholic church, all the way to the Vatican. This is a huge betrayal and puts the doctrines of the church into question.

By Quince | 23 May 2011 11:09 AM

"only a few of the children...have actually suffered."

Oh, well that's all right then. As long as it was only a few. So, at what point is it no longer acceptable? I'd tend to put the number pretty much at 0 myself. But perhaps those with a strong religious bent have stricter morals and would put it at a higher number.

By H. | 23 May 2011 11:16 AM

That the organization head Spronk finds that "only a few children have suffered abuse" - so its OK then.

Is one of the most astonishing remarks I have heard in my life - at what level of sexual abuse to how many children does it become inappropriate.

How many people can you acceptably kill before you can be classed a murderer

By ND | 23 May 2011 11:32 AM

how exactly does one "promote" pedophilia and why wasn't he stopped before?

By expat | 23 May 2011 2:20 PM

The Church may never recover, nor am I sure it should. By perpetuating a system in which pedophiles were preying on the most innocent among us, they soiled their hands. When they were discovered hiding it, they gave up the only authority they had: moral authority.

By Ron | 23 May 2011 4:34 PM

Condoning such behavior, either implictly or explicitly, is abhorrently abominable. Any organization - including religious and governmental - failing to recognize this and take immediate, extreme measures to rectify the status quo is unconscionably immoral. Three hisses for liberalism!

By Drawer 22 | 23 May 2011 7:24 PM

The Church may never recover, nor am I sure it should. By perpetuating a system in which pedophiles were preying on the most innocent among us, they soiled their hands. When they were discovered hiding it, they gave up the only authority they had: moral authority.

By Ron | 23 May 2011 7:47 PM

Is there a reason his identity is being protected? Who is reporting him as Rev. Van B. And not by his full name?

By Joe dR | 23 May 2011 11:40 PM

As a former practising Catholic, and as a worker in community services, I abhore not only the concept of priestly 'transgressions', but the effect on good Catholic worshipers who have lapsed their Faith because of the lack of trust of those who were formerley revered by example within the Church.

By sd | 24 May 2011 10:55 AM

It's NOT the doctrines of the Catholic Church that are wrong: they don't need to be changed (e.g., celibacy). There was a time (very shortly after Vatican II) where many homosexuals got into the priesthood and its hierarchy - and now they've caused such scandal as to finally be caught! It's they who need to be ousted.

By ADHD | 25 May 2011 8:29 AM

Revelation 18
1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2 With a mighty voice he shouted:
“Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!
She has become a home for demons
and a haunt for every evil spirit,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.

By Ed | 26 May 2011 1:25 PM

ADHD, are you equating homosexuality with paedophilia? If so, you have far more issues than just ADHD.

The catholic church is outdated. It condemns contraception at a time when our planet is overpopulated and cant product enough food to feed its population: like most powerhungry religions, Catholicism likes its followers in awe of its opulance, in fear for their immortal soul, in poverty due to breeding copious numbers into Catholicism too (for fear of upseting the priest). The Pope does not talk directly to God (a lie pushed during middle ages). Yet they feel them can moralise. And, it seems, abuse children while protesting 'it didn't hurt them when I abused them!'.


By osita | 26 May 2011 8:52 PM

Osita, you seem to be dwelling on earthly reasoning rather than what the Word of God says about these false prophets. Try true Christianity, from the Bible, rather than Catholicism, which is nothing but an immense lie, going against the Word of God in countless ways. Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases for an idea of how widespread this satanic practise is; it isn't limited to the Netherlands!

By Ed | 27 May 2011 7:07 PM

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