Survivor quits abuse reform body in Vatican

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The prominent survivor of abuse by a priest has resigned her position on Pope Francis' commission to combat clerical sex abuse, citing her frustration with resistance from within the Vatican.

In a March 1 statement coinciding with the announcement of Collins' resignation, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, who heads the commission, voiced "our most honest thanks for the extraordinary contributions she has made as a founding member of the commission".

She said she found 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" and "yet to watch privately as a congregation in the Vatican refuses to even acknowledge their letters".

She said her decision had nothing to do with an AP report stating that the Pope had softened his stance on defrocking of priests and bishops found guilty of abuse in a sign of mercy, and stressed that she served notice three weeks ago before the reports were published.

"(So) I can understand that she is frustrated about that", he said, and pointed to different perspectives various cultures take on the issue throughout the world.

"The Commission's recommendation for a Tribunal to be put in place whereby negligent bishops could be held accountable was approved by Pope Francis and announced in June 2015", Collins said.

Krysten Winter-Green, a member of the abuse commission, said in an interview that she finds it "difficult to conceptualize a commission of this nature without the benefit of the voice of survivors or victims".

"I am happy to note her commitment to continue her contribution to the Church and I thank her for the contribution she has made to the Archdiocese of Dublin and the support she has given me personally".

Pope Francis set up the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in March 2014 in order to propose new initiatives for dealing with child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

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Collins quits panel on protecting children over "lack of cooperation" from Curia.

In an interview with the Religion News Service past year, Collins expressed optimism about the panel's work, and specifically cited the commission's participation in an orientation program for new bishops at the Vatican. He said he and the entire commission "will greatly miss her". "If they don't have a survivor on that commission, it's like if the board of directors of the American Medical Association [is] only made up of bureaucrats and no doctors".

The message that everyone needs to be on the same page regarding abuse prevention and best practices is something that "has not happed instantaneously, and, honestly, I do not expect it to happen, especially if you look around at the global reality represented in the Catholic Church".

It noted that she accepted an invitation from the panel's president, Boston Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, to help the commission through her "exceptional teaching skills and impact of her testimony as a survivor". Saunders had been critical of the commission's prospects from the start.

The expert, who in turn was the victim of a paedophile priest when she was 13, declined to mention names so as not to prejudice the work of the commission in which she still has hopes and expectations.

In a statement Wednesday, the commission said it had "deep appreciation" for Collins' work.

Collins didn't immediately respond to a phone request for comment.

"I would strongly encourage survivor participation", she said. This has been directly due to the resistance by some members of the Vatican Curia to the work of the Commission.

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