Abuse survivor quits Vatican commission

What happened?

The last remaining abuse survivor on the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors has resigned. Marie Collins said she could not remain in her position given “the reluctance of some in the Vatican Curia to implement recommendations or cooperate”. For instance, Collins said, the commission’s guidelines on safeguarding were never sent out to the world’s bishops; other recommendations, such as a tribunal for bishops accused of negligence, were never implemented.

What the media said

‘‘To put it mildly,” said the Economist’s religion blogger Erasmus, “this is a body-blow to the credibility of the Holy See’s efforts in this desperately important area.” The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had seemingly shown “massive bureaucratic resistance”. Collins’s strategy now appeared to be “shaming the Church into action, and exposing the forces which are holding up such action”.

In the Guardian, Stephanie Kirchgaessner noted that the commission had already been troubled: “Collins’s decision to leave the commission comes a year after the only other abuse survivor who was appointed to the commission, Peter Saunders, was forced to take leave of absence.” Saunders said the commission was doing far too little to tackle abuse.

What Catholics said

Speaking to the Boston Globe, the canon lawyer Nicholas Cafardi, a former adviser to the US bishops on child abuse, said the episode showed the nature of the Vatican: not a “monolith” so much as “hundreds of little kingdoms, and people are very jealous of protecting their turf”.

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