Real Change on Global Abuse Policies?

Marie Collins

The clerical abuse survivor nominated by Pope Francis to sit on the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said the commission needs to achieve concrete change in order to “show other survivors that the church is going to get it right.” Marie Collins, who as a 13-year-old was abused by a chaplain at Crumlin Hospital in Dublin in the 1960s, said that many survivors will be watching the new Vatican commission “with interest, but many will have written it off as merely a P.R. exercise.” She said, “Survivors will not be satisfied with more words or promises.” Collins, who campaigns on behalf of abuse victims, said her priority is “a strong worldwide child protection policy which would include sanctions for any member of the church in a position of authority who ignored these rules.” She added that too many bishops who have protected abusive priests have been allowed to remain in place undisciplined. “I would like to see the way survivors and their families have been treated change. The concentration on often-abusive legalistic responses instead of caring for those hurt needs to end,” she said.

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