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Prominent child abuse survivor Marie Collins resigns from Vatican child protection body set up by Pope Francis

Pedophile (representational image), Pixabay

Rome, March 1, 2017: Prominent child abuse survivor Marie Collins has quit a Vatican panel set up by Pope Francis to tackle the problem of paedophile priests, citing her frustration at a lack of cooperation from the church’s most senior clerics.

In her resignation letter to Pope Francis, Collins cited her “frustration at a lack of cooperation with the commission by other offices in the Roman Curia (the Vatican government)” as a reason for stepping down, said a statement from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Her resignation is a devastating indictment of the Catholic Church’s under-resourced handling of sexual abuse under Francis, and its intense cultural resistance to efforts to tackle the problem.

Collins said one of the reasons she decided to step down was the Vatican’s failure to set up a tribunal recommended by the commission to hold negligent bishops to account when they ignored reports of abuse.

The last straw for Collins was learning that a Vatican department was failing to comply with a new recommendation that all correspondence from victims and survivors receive a reply, she said in a statement to the National Catholic Reporter newspaper.

“I find it impossible to listen to public statements about the deep concern in the church for the care of those whose lives have been blighted by abuse, yet to watch privately as a congregation in the Vatican refuses to even acknowledge their letters.

“It is a reflection of how this whole abuse crisis in the church has been handled: with fine words in public and contrary actions behind closed doors.

“It is devastating in 2017 to see that these men can still put other concerns before the safety of children and vulnerable adults,” she said.

The commission stated that Pope Francis accepted Collins’ resignation “with deep appreciation for her work” on behalf of other survivors of what he has often called the “scourge” of clerical sex abuse.

Collins agreed to continue working with the commission “in an educational role”, given her “exceptional teaching skills” and the impact of her testimony as an abuse survivor, according to the statement.

Commission head Sean O’Malley, a Boston cardinal, said he was thankful for Collins “extraordinary work” as a founding member of the commission and would pray for her and all abuse victims and survivors.

An Irish laywoman molested by a priest when she was 13, Collins was one of two clerical-sex abuse survivors appointed to the nine-member panel, alongside Briton Peter Saunders, who the panel asked to take “a leave of absence” in February 2016. (IANS)

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

sale of cigarettes
The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)

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