Marie Collins comments on Vatican abuse commission controversy

Feb 11, 2016 | 2 comments


In an article in the National Catholic Reporter, Marie Collins has explained the ongoing controversy over one member of the Vatican commission on child abuse – the English survivor Peter Saunders – being asked to take leave of absence.

There is, she writes:

“… a difference in understanding of the mission and the powers of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. If a member cannot commit to work on policy development — which undoubtedly is laborious, tedious and slow — while the other members are deeply committed to it, an impasse is reached.

“Any expectation that the Commission can attack or demand things of the Pope or insert themselves in particular cases ignores the actual mandate the group works under. I understand the frustration, the emotion and the anger about what is still happening and should not be! But it cannot be addressed by the Commission.”


At present the commission is awaiting the Vatican Curia’s approval of the commission’s proposal for a permanent tribunal to review the performance of any bishop allegedly negligent in dealing with cases of clerical abuse.  The pope is understood to have approved the plan in principle.

As a member of the commission, Marie Collins, awaits with others this final Vatican decision.

“I have every confidence in the Commission and its members. I do not have the same confidence in those whose task it is to work with us within the Vatican and implement our proposals when approved by the Pope. 

Click here for Marie’s complete article in the NCR.


  1. Kevin walters

    Marie Collins has a recent article on the “We are church site” by Sarah Mac Donald who is a journalist based in Dublin.
    Taken from the linked article below
    “It is not that the church wanted to listen, it is they were made to listen by survivors and I don’t think anything will change in that respect,”
    Also part of my response to the above linked article
    What a sad state of affairs, nothing changes, nor will it, as at this present moment power lies in the hands of unaccountable men, by refusing to openly acknowledge from the Papacy down the part that they have played in maintaining this this Evil “System” (Culture of cover up) they ensure its CONTINUITY.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  2. MartinM

    I’m glad that Marie’s article has clarified the current situation within the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors as she sees it. She makes a good arguement for the commission not getting involved in individual cases, certainly at this time. This must however be read in parallel with this Guardian newspaper article found at As things stand there seems to be a twin process going on in the Vatican and these must come together in the near future with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors providing strong influence and guidelines for clerical/hierarchical training programmes. Policy and training cannot and should not be in conflict.


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