Friday the 26th of February

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Abuse survivor quits papal body, citing Vatican resistance to safeguarding

One of the founding members and the last remaining abuse survivor on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has quit over what she described as resistance coming from Vatican offices against implementing recommendations.

Marie Collins, who joined the commission when it was established in 2014, said: ‘The reluctance of some in the Vatican Curia to implement recommendations or cooperate with the work of a commission when the purpose is to improve the safety of children and vulnerable adults around the world is unacceptable.

‘It is devastating in 2017 to see that these men still can put other concerns before the safety of children and vulnerable adults,’ she said in an editorial published online by the National Catholic Reporter on 1st March.

Pope Francis created the commission to be an independent body of experts, including survivors of clerical sexual abuse, to advise him with recommendations on best practices for protecting minors and vulnerable adults in the Church. The commission is also charged with promoting responsibility in local churches by ‘uniting their efforts to those of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the protection of all children and vulnerable adults,’ according to the commission’s statutes.

‘However, despite the Holy Father approving all the recommendations made to him by the commission, there have been constant setbacks,’ Collins said in a statement published on her website, mariecollins.net.

‘This has been directly due to the resistance by some members of the Vatican Curia to the work of the commission. The lack of cooperation, particularly by the dicastery most closely involved in dealing with cases of abuse, has been shameful,’ she said.

While Collins did not specifically name which dicastery, the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation is charged with investigating verified crimes the Church defines as ‘more grave delicts’, which includes the sexual abuse of minors. The office, through its promoter of justice, also monitors the procedures that national bishops’ conferences have in place for dealing with abuse accusations and handling the dismissal from the priesthood of those guilty of sexual abuse.

Picture: Marie Collins of Ireland, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, is pictured in a 2014 photo. Collins was one of the founding members and the last remaining abuse survivor on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. She left her position over what she described as resistance in Vatican offices against implementing recommendations for protecting people from abuse. (CNS photo/Carol Glatz).