Thursday, March 2, 2017

Marie Collins Resigns from Sex Abuse Commission

Marie Collins, a founding member of the pope's commission geared towards protecting minors from sexual abuse has resigned.  She claims that she is tired and frustrated over the slow pace and obstruction by the prelates on the same commission.  Colins herself was a victim of clergy sex abuse. In her resignation, she wrote that she believes Pope Francis sincerely wants to protect minors but that there is "resistance by some members of the Vatican Curia."  This is her full statement:


I sent my letter of resignation (copied to Cardinal O’Malley), from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, to Pope Francis on the 9th February 2017 to have effect from 1st March 2017.

Since the beginning of the Commission in March 2014 I have been impressed with the dedication of my colleagues and the genuine wish by Pope Francis for assistance in dealing with the issue of clerical sexual abuse.  I believe the setting up of the Commission, the bringing in of outside expertise to advise him on what was necessary to make minors safer, was a sincere move.

However, despite the Holy Father approving all the recommendations made to him by the Commission, there have been constant setbacks. This has been directly due to the resistance by some members of the Vatican Curia to the work of the Commission.  The lack of co-operation, particularly by the dicastery most closely involved in dealing with cases of abuse, has been shameful.

Late last year a simple recommendation, approved by Pope Francis, went to this dicastery in regard to a small change of procedure in the context of care for victims/survivors. In January I learned the change was refused.   At the same time a request for co-operation on a fundamental issue of Commission work in regard to safeguarding was also refused.  While I hope the Commission will succeed in overcoming this resistance, for me it is the last straw.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley has invited me to continue to be part of training projects including those for the Curia and new bishops and I am happy to accept.  This will be the area on which I will now concentrate.

I wish my colleagues on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors the very best for the future.

Marie Collins
1st March 2017

Collins has support from those who feel the Catholic Church has not done enough to protect minors and punish perverted clerics. Perhaps, they expect too much of a Church which has to balance mercy and justice. The Catholic Church cannot just imprison someone as governments in different nations do to criminals. It is much more complicated. When a priest offends, he may be sent to a life of prayer. This is not seen as "justice" in the eyes of the world  Perhaps, this is what Collins is frustrated about. Then again, Church officials can take a long time to bring about change. This is perhaps because of the age and mentality of the prelates. It is hard to "teach an old dog tricks," they say. This may be the case in the Church and why we need younger bishops and cardinals to even everything out. What do you think?


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