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.