Thursday 24 May 2018

Pope accused of 'backward step' on child protection

Abuse survivor Marie Collins. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie
Abuse survivor Marie Collins. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

Sarah MacDonald

Clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins has hit out at the Vatican's omission of a "survivor advocate" from its new child protection commission, describing it as "a backward step".

On Saturday, Pope Francis announced he was renewing the mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors after it lapsed in December, having completed its three-year term.

The decision to let the commission lapse was strongly criticised by victims of clerical abuse.

Surprisingly, six members of the first Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors were not reappointed to the new panel. Last March, Ms Collins resigned from the advisory body in protest over curial resistance to the commission's work and proposals for bishops' accountability.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, she said she was "particularly depressed" to see "so many of those who have worked on the ground with survivors and on safeguarding are now gone".

Ms Collins, who was abused by a Dublin priest in the 1960s, also pointed out that of the eight external lay experts from the first term of the commission, only two remain.

Disappointing

She said: "It is very disappointing to see these members lost from the commission. Not only because of their specific skills but also the experience and knowledge gained by working on the commission with the Vatican for three years."

She added it was "a backward step that it does not have a survivor advocate among its number".

Irish Independent

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