Catholic World News

Vatican abuse commission member: bishops must be held accountable

March 28, 2014

A sexual abuse victim who served on the newly formed Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said in two interviews that bishops must be held accountable for any cover-up of clerical abuse.

“There’s no point in my mind of having gold-plated child-protection programs in place if there's no sanction for a bishop who decides to ignore them,” Marie Collins told the Associated Press. “The reason everyone is so angry is not because they have abusers in their ranks. Abusers are in every rank of society. It’s because of the systemic cover-up.”

Collins added that “people are telling me that it [accepting the appointment to the commission] means I trust the Church. But the fact is, I don't trust them at all.”

“I would hope to see this commission bring in changes in the handling of child abuse, which would see true accountability introduced to ensure that all child protection policies are backed up by severe consequences for anyone, no matter their seniority within the Church, who would ignore them,” Collins told the Zenit news service. “There must also be a change in attitude towards survivors.”

Remarks recently made by Pope Francis, she added, indicate that he does “not seem to recognize the criticism and anger directed at the Church is not because it had abusers in its ranks, but that their superiors protected them and in many cases this facilitated further abuse.”


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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Mar. 28, 2014 6:23 PM ET USA

    When I hear some complain that the lady said she doesn't trust "the Church" -- assume she means those charged with the Church's management at this time -- I have to wonder if the complainers have read any newspapers over the last two decades. Years ago I lost count of the bishops who had failed their flocks miserably by hiding the crimes of criminal predators in their dioceses. Why would we trust such shepherds? And why would we trust those who didn't demand that these mitered enablers resign?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2014 12:49 PM ET USA

    While Ms. Collins should have been a mite more politic and charitable in her remarks, especially toward Pope Francis, she is nonetheless very accurate as to the bishops' culpability. And yesterday Achbp. Chaput called out the German bishops who are entertaing heresy. Amazing! Must be the season of the year? A little chin music for the bishops in honor of the approaaching Opening Day of the baseball season? Gotta love The Lord for giving us baseball !!!

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Mar. 28, 2014 9:21 AM ET USA

    Great. Just great. We have a member of a Church commission who explicitly says she doesn't trust the Church *at all*. Gee, what could go wrong? This whole narrative just gets worse and worse, and nobody wants to stand up for what's right for fear of being attacked.