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Wed Feb 10, 2016, 04:44 PM

 

Vatican abuse commission member responds to leave of absence controversy



Marie Collins, pictured in a 2012 file photo (CNS/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

By Marie Collins | Feb. 9, 2016
Editor's Note: Marie Collins is an Irish sexual abuse survivor and a member of Pope Francis' Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. She wrote the following statement for NCR following the commission's decision Saturday that fellow member Peter Saunders take a leave of absence from their work.

As a survivor of child clerical sexual abuse I spent many years silent, then many years speaking out to expose the way the Catholic Church had protected itself and abandoned children to the abusers in its midst. The anger I felt at the continuing reluctance by many Church leaders to report the perpetrators, to cooperate with civil authorities, to treat survivors with justice was overwhelming.

Then came the Pope's decision in 2013 to set up the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and my own appointment to that body. This Commission was being put in place to work on devising policy and structural change which could be recommended to the Pope to improve child protection in the future and ensure that all church leaders would implement these policies.

I had to decide if there was any hope that this Commission, through its advice to the Pope, would bring about permanent change within the universal Church or would it be a wasted effort, just a PR exercise. In the end I decided that if there was any hope at all, of protecting children in the future better than in the past, then I should take part.

You do not need to be a survivor to be passionate about the safety of children, about ending the horror of child rape and about change in the Church. I have found the members of the Commission to be sincere individuals contributing from their own area of expertise to the development of new policies.

http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/vatican-abuse-commission-member-responds-leave-absence-controversy

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