Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Abuse survivor on Vatican panel applauds Church progress

Marie CollinsThe only abuse survivor serving on a panel set up by Pope Francis to fight clerical sexual abuse says the Church is making good progress and welcomed changes initiated by the Vatican, reports the Religion News Service.

Irish-born Marie Collins is a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

“I have complained about slowness and frustration in the past,” Ms Collins said last week. “From my point of view as a survivor, I would like everything to happen tomorrow.”

But, she continued: “We have had some really positive moves.”

Ms Collins, who has said she would quit the panel if she did not see substantive reforms, specifically cited the Commission’s participation in an orientation program for new bishops at the Vatican last week.

She also pointed to a Papal decree issued in June by Francis and designed to make bishops more accountable for abusers and to mandate their removal if found to be “negligent” — something that had not happened before.

“It (the decree) covers more than the bishops, it covers the religious superiors as well,” she said. “We have abuses in the religious (orders), as well as the dioceses, so it’s a wider reach.”
Francis has also approved a request that each country’s hierarchy should establish a national day of prayer for victims.

The Pope also suspended the Archbishop of Guam when he was accused of abusing altar boys years ago and sent a Vatican delegate to investigate; the delegate, an Archbishop, this week said that the Guam prelate should be permanently removed and that he will be subject to a Church trial.

But not everyone is satisfied.

Peter Saunders, a British victim of clerical sexual abuse who had been on the Vatican panel but was sidelined by the Commission earlier this year, said this week he was “too outspoken” to be reinstated.

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