Abuse victim quits Vatican probe

Abuse victim quits Vatican probe

The Vatican remains opaque. Source: Wikimedia

A clerical sex abuse survivor has left a Vatican panel set up by Pope Francis to address paedophile outrages within the Roman Catholic Church over what she said was a “shameful” lack of co-operation.

Marie Collins, who was molested by a priest when she was 13, accused Vatican officials of “resistance” to the work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and even blocking reforms backed by the pontiff.

“I cannot at this point accept that there are still men in the Vatican, still men in those positions, that would resist the work to protect children, that still have the attitudes of 20 years ago,” Collins said.

The resignation represents a damning indictment of the church’s handling of sexual abuse under Francis. Since her 2014 appointment to the commission, Collins has been critical of the slow response to the issues but has stood by the work of the commission and the pope’s commitment to tackling the problem.

She said the clericalism of Vatican staff meant she could no longer stay in her role.

She stressed the “genuine wish” and sincerity of Francis to deal with clerical sexual abuse by bringing in outside expertise.

“However, despite the Holy Father approving all the recommendations made to him by the commission, there have been constant setbacks,” said Collins, who has waived her right to anonymity as a victim of abuse.

“This has been directly due to the resistance by some members of the Vatican Curia to the work of the commission.”

She said she had not met the pope during her time on the commission, but that if she had she would have asked that the commission be given the power to implement its recommendations, that it be given sufficient funds to do its work and to lift the ban on recruiting professional staff from outside the church to address the issue.

“The lack of co-operation, particularly by the dicastery [Vatican department] most closely involved in dealing with cases of abuse, has been shameful.”

She added “a simple recommendation approved by Pope Francis” in late 2016 on a small procedural change to the care of sex abuse victims was rejected.

Meanwhile, an appeal for co-operation on a “fundamental issue of commission work in regard to safeguarding was also refused”.

The Dubliner said: “While I hope the commission will succeed in overcoming this resistance, for me it is the last straw.”

The Vatican has yet to comment.

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