Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

The lone clerical abuse victim on a new papal commission calls the move important for the church.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Victoria Schmidt
4 years 1 month ago
I am so happy that Marie Collins has been named to the new ponticical commission for the protection of children. This is undoubtedly a positive first step in having a survivor of clerical abuse speak on behalf of all of us who were abused by priests. I am hopeful and grateful for this new development. Please refer to our book, Shattered Souls? Five Pathways to Healing the Spirit from Abuse and Trauma by Patrick Fleming, Sue Fleming and Vicki Schmidt. Available from Amazon.
4 years 1 month ago
The basic problem underlying the church abuse scandal is Church governance. Canon law is crystal clear. It has simply not been enforced. Canon1395, P.2 mandates punishment for sexual abuse of the young, even to dismissal from the clerical state. Many bishops, for whatever mental gymnastics were at work, for example, to protect the name of the Church, transgressed the Church’s canon law and the dictates of natural law by not enforcing Canon 1395. No bishop has ever been punished, much less removed, for not enforcing this canon. This failure in church governance brought on this crisis by which thousands of children were damaged and trust and confidence in leadership officials were lost. Unpunished miscreant priests secretly assigned by their bishops to other posts continued their misdeeds and ultimately exponentially multiplied the numbers of abused young people. Canon 1389, p.2 provides that “One who through culpable negligence illegitimately places or omits an act of ecclesiastical power, ministry, or function which damages another person is to be punished with a just penalty.” That canon calls for punishment of a bishop, who does not punish an abuser priest subject to Canon 1395, p.2, This has not been done at the highest level –the papal level. New thinking is needed here. Cardinal Law, poster boy for secret transfers of miscreant priests and driven from Boston by his priests and people is welcomed in Rome by JP II, who retained him in governing agencies. Cardinal Rigali, excoriated by two Philadelphia grand juries, was allowed to retire and then appointed by B16 as his representative at an affair in the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, Rigali’s Vicar for Clergy, Msgr. Lynn goes to jail for following orders and policies of Rigali and his predecessor, Bevilaqua. Some new thinking is desperately needed! The new Papal Commission could look well to this governance failure that was a major cause of the abuse crisis.
Margaret Barnfield
4 years 1 month ago
Great to hear that. Marie Collins can do everything for the protection of the children. Well, it would be better if it is women and children's protection. A tiny Alabama community is assessing a new punishment program. Operation Restore Our Community, kicks off in the coming week. Nonviolent, misdemeanor offenders in Bay Minette will be provided a choice. The one judge in the community has set up this choice, and it's one or the other. Either jail time, or one year of Sundays going to church, can be chosen by the offender. This will save the city huge personal loans.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

America's Chief Correspondent Kevin Clarke speaks with Catholic Relief Services’ John Byrne, Chief of Party of Envision Gaza 2020, on the unfolding situation in Gaza.
America FilmsMay 18, 2018
Eloise Blondiau, producer at America, sat down with Fr. Martin to discuss what it was like for a real priest at the catholic-themed event. 
America FilmsMay 08, 2018
Pope Francis released a new apostolic exhortation today: “Gaudete et Exsultate.” Here are Fr. James Martin, S.J.’s top five takeaways from this new document.
America FilmsApril 09, 2018
What does a nun’s life look like? As part of National Sisters Week, a group of young girls from Saint Francis International School met the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the oldest order of African-American nuns, in Baltimore, Maryland for the chance to see what living religious life looks like. The
America FilmsApril 06, 2018