Sex Abuse Survivor Named into Vatican Commission Wants Bishops who Cover Abusive Priests Punished
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 26, 2014 12:46 PM EST
It's a systematic cover-up, Irish activist and sex abuse survivor Marie Collins said of the rampant sex abuse cases proliferating within the confines of the walls of the Catholic church. But she highly believed child sex abuse cases would not have multiplied and priests would not have summoned the courage to continue doing it had their bishops immediately sanctioned them against it.
Pope Francis looks on during his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican in this March 19, 2014 file photo. Pope Francis on Saturday named a woman molested by a priest as a child to be part of a core group to help the Catholic Church fight the clerical sexual abuse of minors that has haunted it for over two decades. Picture taken March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/Files
For the evil custom to end, Ms Collins said bishops should also be made accountable when they decide to sanction their priest or not.
"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," Ms Collins told AP. The Irish activist was just recently named to be included in an eight-people commission who will advise Pope Francis on church policy regarding sex abuse.
Ms Collins, sick at 13 years old, was abused by a chaplain at Crumlin hospital in Dublin in the 1960s.
"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."
The commission, according to Hans Zollner, vice-rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University and Chair of the Centre for Child Protection at the University's Institute of Psychology and one of the members of the panel, will aim to put the victims first.
"The commission will look into the legislation of the Church, the Canon Law and will try to find out whether this is effective or not and then recommend to the Holy See if there is something to change and what to change," Fr Zollner told Vatican Radio.
He admitted however that the commission does not "have any legislative power."
But with Ms Collins included in the eight-man body, sectors might as well expect much rigid shaking in the walls of the Catholic church.
"Survivors will not be satisfied with more words or promises, they need to see real change," she told Catholic News Service.
She also said it's been a very huge step for the church to include a survivor on the commission, but then, it's "a very necessary one."
"My reason for saying 'yes' (to become part of the commission) is because I've been criticizing the church for how they do things and the way they treat survivors," she said. "Not to take this opportunity to say those things at the heart of the church would go against everything I feel."
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