Irish abuse survivor resigns from Vatican panel set-up to fight sex abuse
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Mar 02, 2017,
Mar 02, 2017, 0:44
However, if one looks at the situation dispassionately, there's also a case to be made that Collins's resignation, along with the inactive status of the only other survivor on the commission, Peter Saunders of the United Kingdom, was both inevitable and arguably for the best.
Marie Collins resigned from a panel established by Pope Francis to address clerical sexual abuse, accusing senior Vatican officials of "shameful" resistance to the group's work.
Collins informed the head of the commission, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, that she meant to resign on February 13.
In a statement Mrs Collins said she resigned as the lack of co-operation was "shameful". She said in a statement that the commission's work has been hampered by "constant setbacks" that were "directly due to the resistance by some members of the Vatican Curia to the work of the commission". Collins herself is now an illustration of the point, no longer sitting on the group but still accepting an invitation from O'Malley to continue to be part of their training efforts, including for newly appointed bishops from around the world.
Marie insists that she still supports her colleagues who are "working very sincerely and very hard", as well as Pope Francis who "has been behind the Commission all the way".
In her March 1 statement for NCR, Collins also expresses frustration that a sample template of guidelines for safeguarding children developed by the commission has not yet been published.
U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, a member of the pope's group of cardinal advisers and president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, thanked Collins "for the extraordinary contributions she has made as a founding member of the commission".
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Marie Collins, an Irishwoman who has served on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since March 2014, announced her resignation in a press statement Wednesday.
Collins, an Irish woman who suffered abuse by a priest during a hospital stay as a child, is a widely respected and blunt-spoken voice in the survivor community.
She noted that the commission's recommendation for a special tribunal to hold bishops accountable was never implemented because the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's concerns about its "unspecified "legal" difficulties". The message that everyone needs to be on the same page regarding abuse prevention and best practices is something that "has not happened instantaneously, and, honestly, I do not expect it to happen, especially if you look around at the global reality represented in the Catholic Church". "Our prayers will remain with Marie and with all victims and survivors of sexual abuse", the cardinal wrote.
"There are people in the Vatican who do not want to change or understand the need to change", Ms Collins told The Telegraph in a telephone interview.
Winter-Green echoed Collins' frustration with the reluctance of Vatican offices to work with the abuse commission.
"I do not know the answer but it is devastating in 2017 to see that these men still can put other concerns before the safety of children and vulnerable adults". He voiced his gratitude to her for her willingness to continue working with the commission, specifically "in the education of church leaders", including upcoming courses for new bishops and departments of the Holy See.
Asked what she might say to an abuse survivor who thinks it is not appropriate for a Vatican commission on abuse to not have a member who is a survivor, Winter-Green responded: "I would have to agree". "I learned in a letter from this particular dicastery last month that they are refusing to do so", she said.