CLERICAL abuse survivors claim that they have been excluded from consultations over the establishment of a Catholic Church support service aimed at catering for their spiritual needs.
According to some high-profile survivors, they have been not been
given a proper opportunity to advise on how the service, backed by the
bishops, the Irish Missionary Union (IMU) and the Conference of
Religious Superiors (CORI), should be structured.
the bishops announced that the 'Towards Peace' support service would be
launched this year and would offer spiritual support to victims who
suffered abuse at the hands of clerics or religious if their faith in
God and the Church had been affected by their experience of sexual
The soon to be launched service will be free to clients, as
the costs will be borne by the Bishops Conference (ICBC), CORI and the
An awareness campaign will be launched later this year, and the operation of the service will be reviewed in 2016.
However, Marie Collins who was abused by a Dublin
priest as a sick child in the 1950s, told the Irish Independent that
she was surprised that the service was so close to launch and alleged
that she and other victims had expected greater consultation.
claims that survivors have not been consulted since one meeting to
explore what was needed on March 30, 2012, at Manresa House in Dublin.
to Mark Vincent Healy, who was abused while a student in Rathmines,
Dublin, survivors are concerned that a service is going to be "foisted
on them" rather than being tailored to meet their very specific
Mrs Collins was unable to attend the March 2012
meeting and has been anxious to highlight issues which she believes must
be addressed. "The context of the abuse tends to be very different and
the needs of the survivors also would be different.
survivors, diocesan or residential, been included in the planning of
this service and, if not, why not? If it is being set up to help
survivors, then surely no one knows their needs better than survivors
themselves," Marie Collins said.