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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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Indian Catholic Nuns Call Out For Justice In Kerala

The protest, now in its sixth day in Kochi, Kerala's financial hub, is gathering momentum as the locals, activists, writers and politicians come out in support.

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Nuns hold placards during a protest demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop in Kochi, in the southern state of Kerala, India. VOA

A group of Indian Catholic nuns are staging a rare street protest in the southern state of Kerala demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop.

Police have called the bishop named in the complaint for a second round of questioning next week. The bishop has denied wrongdoing.

The case comes at a time when the Christian community, which accounts for 19 percent of the state’s population, is reeling under an erosion of trust as sexual abuse cases involving the clergy pile up.

Five priests were arrested last month in two different sexual assault cases, while last year, a Catholic priest who was trying to flee the country was arrested after a minor he is accused of having sex with gave birth.

Catholic bishops in Chile resign over the issue of sex scandal. Pixabay

The nun in a letter said she wanted the Vatican to intervene. She said she was forced to make matters public after several attempts to seek justice from within the church failed.

The protest, now in its sixth day in Kochi, Kerala’s financial hub, is gathering momentum as the locals, activists, writers and politicians come out in support.

A man, who is on an indefinite hunger strike, lay in front of the stage where the protesting nuns sat. A nun coordinating the protest dismissed allegations that they were trying to disgrace the church.

“Our fight is for the truth. We will not back out unless the truth is established and the nun is given justice,” she told Reuters.

Pope Francis. Pixabay

The Catholic Church in Germany acknowledged a “depressing and shameful” legacy of sexual abuse on Wednesday after a leaked study said clerics had abused thousands of children over 70 years.

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The leaked study was published on the day that Pope Francis, who has made several attempts to tackle a spreading sexual abuse crisis that has badly tarnished the Church’s image worldwide, summoned senior bishops from around the world to the Vatican to discuss the protection of minors. (VOA)