You will remember Herman Spronck (this is apparently the correct name, not Spronk as previously reported), the Dutch Salesian Superior who was publicly fine with sex at twelve and, in the wake of the scandal caused by his words, suspended and at risk of being defrocked.
1) Herman Spronck has, as his lawyer reports, left the order. It is not clear whether he went away or he was officially defrocked; possibly he was allowed to do the first to avoid the second.
2) In his position as the head of the Salesians in the Netherlands, Mr Spronck was the man who conducted the conversations with people alleging to have been victims of abuse through the Dutch Salesians. Yes, you have read correctly: the Salesians had a man who thinks OK to have sex with a boy of twelve be the one who talks to those claiming to be victims of sexual abuse. It’s a bit like having a wolf having preliminary conversations with the sheep claiming to have been assaulted by a wolf.
3) In case you think the salesians were in the dark as to the, erm, dark soul of Mr Spronck, you might be surprised (or not, as the case may be) to know that Spronck was convicted in 2006 for possession of child pornography and was condemned to 240 hours of unpaid work, (which is, I understand, the maximum allowed before jail kicks in). I agree with Messa In Latino that it is simply not credible that the Salesian Headquarters wouldn’t know of this conviction.
Therefore, the Salesians knew what kind of person he was and not only they left him at his place, but even allowed him to continue to be directly responsible for the handling of alleged cases of abuse. This truly goes beyond disgusting.
Messa in Latino makes the easy predictions that this is not the end of the revelations; and in fact, it is difficult to imagine any person in possession of a degree of sanity to have allowed Spronck to have remained at his place without the necessity of covering up further problems.
Please note that Spronck’s conviction is not a very old episode happened, say, in times were some people played with the idea that such behaviour was not so bad after all – if you are surprised, look at how sodomy is looked at now by these very same “liberal” people – but it is only five years old, of a time when the scandal was raging and the roles of priests as educators subject to particularly close scrutiny. Frankly I can’t imagine that here stupidity on an unprecedented scale was at play, rather something worse.
Spronck’s might well not be the last head to roll.
I really do not know what has become of these people, the post V II “progressive” religious. It would seem that if you aren’t a pervert, or a bastard, or both you can’t make any career or be given any serious responsibility in one of those orders that have embraced V II so enthusiastically. I have posted just a few days ago of the Jesuit for whom praying in the name of Christ is an optional, and now this……
When one reads such people (notice, here, the huge effort I am making not to say anything worse than that; I leave it to your imagination) one truly thinks that the scale of naivety – particularly during the years of JP II – in having allowed these people to stay among children must have been immense. I say naivety, because to think otherwise is to me utterly impossible.
We have now from Rorate Caeli the translation of an interview to the Dutch Salesian Superior, a man called Spronck. A chap who has tolerated and allowed to operate a confrere of whom he knew, (let us say this again: of whom he knew) that he was a pedophile. A chap who keeps a pedophile priest in contact with children after the man has been caught twice flashing because hey, “this is not a serious offence”. A chap with such a diabolical mind, that he dares to make to the interviewer the example of a boy who “suffered” because his pedophile priest was taken away from him. A chap who says that things between his own Salesian and children can become sexual as if this was something natural, and normal. A chap who says that if he had his way, sex with children of 12 would be legal.
This is pure evil, this is Satan himself talking out loud in defiance of every Christian rule. The man was probably not even aware of the trouble he would get in, so deeply evil, so entirely corrupt is he.
The text of the interview is the most open admissions of diabolic agenda I have ever read as an official declaration of a religious.
The stunning revelations concern here three families of abominations:
1) that the superior knew, and did nothing besides giving some warning that one must abide by the law, when in front of a clear case of pedophilia. He prides himself that he always stood by the pedophile priest. Unbelievable.
2) that the man abandons himself to shocking affirmation as to sex with minor, up to saying that sex between a boy of 12 and an adult would, if he had the choice, not be forbidden. This is, purely and simply, satanic. I wonder how one can read such things and not suspect that the man is a pedophile, or a homosexual, or both himself. Again, this is pure evil.
3) that the man seems to consider premarital relationships (irrespective of their circumstances) something he has nothing to say against. Now we all live in the same planet and we are all aware of the temptations of the flesh; but this is different, this is just putting God’s law out of the equation. Towards the end of the interview, he even “explains” how these things happen: hey, there were no women around…….. .
Our chap has in the meantime said that he was misrepresented, but frankly I am sick and tired of such sickos hiding behind one finger. If you read the entire interview (if you can, and I understand you if you don’t) you’ll see that the one or other word might have been mistranslated, but the tone and mentality behind the entire interview cannot have been misconstrued entirely.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this man were soon to be arrested himself, as it seems to me that here a diabolical intent is at work, a scale of evil thinking that clearly reveals the darkness of the soul behind it.
After the interview, you’ll find an update of the Salesians with the clarification that the Salesians never condone pedophile behaviour, which is exactly the contrary of what transpires from the interview. Well of course they would say it, wouldn’t they? But this is the Dutch Superior, not a quisque de populo.
I truly hope that there will be further consequences than a press release. This Spronck is pure evil.
Below, just some of the stunning answers given by Mr Spronk. I am very sorry, but whatever “clarification” would now come is rather too late.
Please keep this post away from children and if you can, say a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.
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.
But to a pedophile priest to work in churches where he comes into contact with children, without their knowing it, is that really a good idea?
I have always told Father Van B. that he had to obey the law and nothing has ever really happened. So I saw no reason to doubt Father Van B..
Father Van B. says himself that it is necessary to watch him near children. If not, then the pressure increases and he is afraid that things go wrong. What do you say?
I have never seen a reason why he could not work with children. Only in 2007 – after the incident when he worked in the parish of St Luke in Amsterdam – I decided it was sensible that he no longer work with children. I got him sent to Nijmegen. He takes care to older brothers.
How do you feel about sexual relations between adults and children?
Of course there are certain social norms that everyone has to comply with. But one wonders if that is not going too far. Formally, I always say that everyone must obey the law strictly. But these relationships are not necessarily harmful.
You believe that relationships between adults and children are not necessarily harmful?
I have an example. I was once approached by a 14-year-old boy who had a relationship with an older priest. He was sent away, and this boy suffered immensely, he suffered because [the priest] had been sent away. He told me, “Father Herman, why did you send him away?” And, now, what should I say to a boy like this?
So, then, relationships between adults and children are fine?
Personally, I believe that relationships between adults and children are not necessarily wrong [Persoonlijk wijs ik relaties tussen volwassenen en kinderen niet per definitie af.] Do you know Foucault? The philosopher. Do you know his writings? No, you should read that once again, especially the introduction to Part 4. It does depend on the child. You should not look so inflexibly at age. You should never enter into the personal space of a child if the child does not want it, but that depends on the child himself. There are children who themselves indicate that it is admissible. Then, sexual contact is possible.
At what age do you think that sexual relationships are possible?
Saying the age of 18 years is, I think, too inflexible.
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 – then lived together and some things bloom.