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Ousted from papal commission on abuse, outspoken member refuses to resign

June 24, 2016

Peter Saunders, the outspoken English layman who was removed in February from a papal commission on sexual abuse, has insisted that he remains a member of the commission, and refuses to resign.

In a letter to the Catholic Herald, Saunders reveals that Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the chairman of the papal commission, asked for his resignation. "I told him I was not prepared to do so," Saunders says. He said that he still hopes to assist in arranging for victims of sexual abuse to consult with the Vatican commission. 

Saunders-- who is an abuse victim himself-- became a focus of controversy when he lashed out against Cardinal George Pell, accusing the Australian prelate of being "almost sociopathic" in his handling of abuse complaints; and said that it would be "outrageous" if Pope Francis did not meet with the papal commmission. The other members of the commission, finding that these angry public statements made it difficult for Saunders to continue on the consultative body, voted to place him on an indefinite leave of absence. 



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