Turmoil on Papal Child Protection Commission

Members of a papal commission set up to advise Pope Francis on the protection of children “decided” on Feb. 6 that one of its members, Peter Saunders, should “take a leave of absence.” Saunders has been frequently quoted by the press in criticism of specific church decisions and appointments and of the commission’s pace of reform deliberation. Pope Francis appointed Saunders, of Britain, to the 17-member commission in December 2014. A survivor of sexual abuse as a child, Mr. Saunders had set up Britain’s National Association for People Abused in Childhood to support survivors and develop better resources for responding to abuse. Saunders issued a statement charging that his fellow commission members “reacted to my criticisms in a frightening way, acting as if dissent and free speech would make their work more difficult.” He denied that he was willingly accepting a leave of absence. “I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis,” he said, “and I will talk only with him about my position.”

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William Rydberg
2 years ago
Speaking as a Canadian, Canada is a member of the British Commonwealth: On the narrow point of being appointed by the Holy Father and only wanting to discuss with him, in Canada, wether one is a Comissioned Officer in the Army, or a Police Constable, etc... one is appointed by the Queen of Canada. I cannot recall an instance when a Comissioned person demanded the right to meet personally with Queen Elizabeth II (she is also the Queen and Chief Governor of the Anglican Church). Mr Saunders is British, he ought to know the process. But the Pope (as I expect also the Queen, or for that matter, the President of the USA for comissioned people) is free to do what he wants. Point is, it really is an extraordinary request...

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