'Shameful' Vatican resistance to clerical abuse commission claims Irish survivor Marie Collins who has resigned

'Shameful' Vatican resistance to clerical abuse commission claims Irish survivor Marie Collins who has resigned

THE Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has faced 'shameful' resistance to its work, the Irish abuse survivor Marie Collins has claimed after her resignation from the panel. 

Ms Collins, from Dublin, was the only panel member who was a survivor of abuse, after she was assaulted as a minor by a priest in the 1960s which included in photographic images being taken.

She also helped the Archdiocese of Dublin set up its Child Protective Services in 2003.

Ms Collins has campaigned for a better understanding of the effects of sexual abuse on children, particularly the taking of abusive images.

She is a founder of the British-based charity the Marie Collins Foundation, which helps children who suffer sexual abuse and exploitation via internet and mobile technologies to recover.

In her resignation letter, sent to Pope Francis on February 9 but effective from yesterday, Ms Collins said while she was impressed by the commitment of her colleagues she found the lack of co-operation by senior Vatican officials "shameful."

"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.

"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."

Ms Collins also said that in late 2016, a move to change procedure in the care for victims and survivors, approved by Pope Francis, was refused, as well as a request for co-operaton on a fundamental issue of Commission work in regards to safeguarding.

"While I hope the Commission will succeed in overcoming this resistance, for me it is the last straw," she said.

Paying tribute to the work Ms Collins has done, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said few people in Ireland have made such a consistent contribution to the change in the Church’s response to child sexual abuse.

“Despite opposition and resistance, she remained committed and constructive in what were for her good moments and bad moments," he said.

"I have learned above all to see in her a person of integrity who is not afraid to chart her own course: where things were wrong she identified them and named them; when she felt uncomfortable she was never tempted to take the easy path and remain quiet and I am certain that will be her position in the future.

"Victims and survivors owe her an enormous debt, but she was never one to seek praise or affirmation for herself.

"I am happy to note her commitment to continue her contribution to the Church and I thank her for the contribution she has made to the Archdiocese of Dublin and the support she has given me personally."

Marie Collins said she will continue to work on training projects for the Curia and new bishops, on invitation from Cardinal Sean O'Malley from Boston.