Monday, May 23, 2011

Follow-Up To The John Jay Report

From the AP via Rorate:

Dutch Catholic Church, religious order stunned over priest's membership in pedophile club

First, let's note something a bit off in all this. Nobody was really all that stunned:

The Dutch Catholic Church and the Salesian order are investigating revelations that a Salesian priest served on the board of a group that promotes pedophilia with the full knowledge of his boss.

Full knowledge of his Superior. What does "full knowledge" mean? Rorate is nice enough to provide the interview with the Superior, Herman Spronck. Here are the relevant exchanges:

Were you aware that Father Van B. was a member of Martijn, an Association of pedophiles?

Yes, I can remember that he told [me]. When, I did not ask. I do not know exactly when that was.

He was a member since 1994, did you know it?

That I cannot remember exactly, but it could be. I have been the superior only since 1995.

Were you aware that that Father Van B. was in the board (2008-2010) of the Pedophile Association Martijn?

I cannot remember. But he told me that he was to become director of an association. Was he not secretary or something? I did not ask him exactly what kind of society that was. He also told me at one point that he wanted to give up. That seemed sensible. But I did not ask for details.

Was it compatible with the ideas of the church that Father Van B. was a member of a pedophiles' association?

I was not sure what kind of association it was. But if you look at the association, it is not [legally] forbidden for Martijn to do what they do. I think that Father Van B. sought help for his feelings. I've always told him that he had to obey the law.

What do you think of Father Van B., who was twice convicted [for indecent exposure], did he obey the law?

I repeatedly told him what he should do. He was warned several times for flashing, which is, of course, not a serious offense.

You never found the membership of Martijn and convictions for sexual offenses a reason for Father Van B. to leave the order?

No. I have to give him a dignified life. Somebody is placed out of the order only if there is a serious sexual offense, such as rape. And that's never been the case.

Oh, well. I guess that makes it ok then. It actually gets worse after this.

Do you think that from the age of 12 years then is fine for sexual relationships with adults?

If it were up to me, they should be.

Will there be in the Salesian Order any more relationships between older people and children?

Just imagine that in the 50s/60s all lived together in 's Heerenberg. We were all away from our family and had only each other. Adults and boys - there was no woman to see - and then lived together and some things bloom.

If you look back now, did you act properly when it came to Father Van B.?

I could not do anything else. I've always stood up for him.

The board membership was no reason to place him out of the order?

No, that seems going too far.

Let me add to this a couple of things.

Recall that the Salesians were founded by St. John Bosco for the express purpose of working with young boys.

I don't know anything about this group that they mention in the article. However, we all know from past media coverage that the inclination to use the word "pedophile" has nothing to do with the actual deviancy in question. As mentioned in our prior post, most of the abuse cases are not pedophiles. Given the Superior's cut-off age here as 12, I'm betting this group is not all about pedophilia either. We have some European readers here. Anybody familiar with this bunch?

All in all, we have to wait and see what happens to the Superior. I'm not sure there are words that adequately express the lunacy of his opinions.

God help us.

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