The head of the Catholic Salesian order in the Netherlands has been sacked and it will be up to the pope to decide if he can remain a priest because of comments about paedophilia, RTL news reports.
Herman Spronck was quoted at the weekend as saying sexual relationships between adults and children were not always damaging. ‘Personally I do not condemn relationships between adults and children… Sexual contact is also possible,’ Spronck was quoted as saying.
The priest was commenting on the case of another Salesian priest who was a member of a pro-paedophilia lobby group and had two convictions for exposing himself to children. Spronck was aware of Van B’s convictions and membership of the Martjn organisation.
The Salesian order has been at the centre of the scandal surrounding child abuse within the Dutch Catholic church.
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.
The Salesian order was set up at the end of the 19th century to carry out ‘works of charity to help the young, especially the poor, and to educate boys for the priesthood.’
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