ROME– In an unprecedented and speedy action, the Salesians of Don Bosco Head Quarters in Rome suspended two Dutch Salesians for acts incompatible with the principles and values of Salesian tradition.
The action was made necessary following the positions expressed by Dutch Salesians Fr Van B. and Fr Herman Spronck.
The North Belgium-Holland Province officially announced, 23 May 2011, that Fr Van B. no longer had permission to carry out any pastoral activity and that Fr Spronck had been relieved of his office as Delegate of the Dutch Province.
The breaking news in the European media over the weekend compelled the major superiors in Rome and Belgium to swing into action. They also confirmed what has been reported in recent days in the world press, in reference to these Salesians.
Meanwhile, the Salesian Provincial of Belgium-Holland, Fr. Jos Claes, learning from the media that Fr Van B. has been a board member of the “Martijn” Association was forced to take immediate action. [Martijn is an organization campaigning to end the Dutch ban on adult-child sex.]
In stead, head of the Salesians for the Netherlands Fr Herman Spronck made equally shocking statement addressing the topic “pedophilia,” he said casually chilling: “Personally I do not condemn a priori relations between adults and children.”
“Being a member of that association – the Procurator General of the Salesian Congregation in Rome, Father Francis Maraccani said in a press statement – is absolutely incompatible with the principles and values of the Salesian tradition. So it firmly disapprove of that fact and we distance ourselves from such a personal conduct of a single confrere. We understand that this news has certainly hurt once again the feelings of many people. ”
“We understand their pain – highlights Father Maraccani – and we present our profound apologies on behalf of the Salesians of Don Bosco.”
Having declared the ‘incompatibility’ of his behavior, Fr Maraccani adds that “the congregation will take the necessary disciplinary measures, in accordance with a protocol in place since the year 2002 and regulations by the Church on this matter.”
“Furthermore – he continues – we want to dissociate ourselves from the statements of Fr Herman Spronck, gave in an interview to the Dutch press (at least from what we know from the interview reported), which seem to relativize the seriousness of the act.”
Fr Maraccani concludes stating, “the Salesian Congregation re-affirms its commitment to fidelity to Don Bosco, to its great educational tradition and in the footsteps of Don Bosco, to total fidelity to the teaching of the Church. Full and total respect for children, youths and young people remain for us a fundamental and indispensable option.”