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Frustrated member resigns from papal sex-abuse commission

March 01, 2017

A key member of the sex-abuse commission established by Pope Francis has resigned, citing her frustration with the resistance the panel has encountered at the Vatican.

The resignation of Marie Collins from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM), was announced by the Vatican on March 1, the day it took effect. In a candid report Vatican Radio said: “Mrs. Collins cited her frustration at the lack of cooperation with the Commission by other offices in the Roman Curia.”

Collins, an Irish woman who was one of the original members of the papal commission, said that the PCPM had been working to fulfill its mandate from Pope Francis, but its work was thwarted by opposition from other Vatican offices. “The last straw for me,” she said, came when a Vatican dicastery—apparently the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—refused to implement the PCPM directive that every abuse victim who contacted Church officials should receive a response.

The resignation comes at a time when other members of the PCPM have voiced their frustration over the group’s work, mentioning a shortage of funding, inability to hold regular meetings, lack of staff, and failure to implement its basic recommendations.

In announcing her resignation, Collins took pains to indicate that her complaints were not directed against Pope Francis (although she revealed that she had never had an opportunity to speak privately with the Pontiff), nor with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who chairs the PCPM. The cardinal, in turn, said that the group hope to continue working with Collins, and announced that she would participate in a PCPM briefing for newly appointed bishops.

Marie Collins is one of two abuse victims who was appointed to the PCPM. The other, Peter Saunders, was asked to resign last year after issuing several bitter public statements. He refused to resign, and so was placed on a “leave of absence” by the other commission members. Another lay member, Claudio Papale, resigned quietly last September, without any public explanation.


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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 02, 2017 8:31 AM ET USA

    Apparently the Vatican's connection to Rome's sewers is still open. The Holy Father needs a good plumber!

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Mar. 01, 2017 6:25 PM ET USA

    Not a good start for a commission under an international microscope.