Abuse survivor Marie Collins speaks out on pope’s child agency

Criticism comes in wake of apparent move against Chilean survivor Juan Carlos Cruz

Marie Collins: Development a “very serious mater”. Photograph: The Irish Times

Marie Collins: Development a “very serious mater”. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Abuse survivor Marie Collins has described as “sickening” apparent attempts to block an abuse survivor’s nomination to the Pope’s child protection commission.

Ms Collins, who is a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, last year nominated Chilean abuse survivor Juan Carlos Cruz, to become a member.

Last week leaked emails between two senior Chilean Church members – the Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati and his predecessor Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz – were published by Chilean newspaper El Mostrador.

The emails appear to show that the two men lobbied to block Mr Cruz’s nomination over fears it could damage the Chilean Church.

Cardinal Ezzati has since claimed that he was quoted out of context.

The current controversy has its roots in the ordination earlier this year of Bishop Juan Barros who has been accused of protecting Chilean priest and paedophile Fr Fernando Karadima. Bishop Barros has denied the allegations.

Karadima, who once considered one of the most respected priests in Chile, was found to have abused children by the Vatican (a court dismissed criminal charges against him having ruled that the prosecution had run out of time).

In an email to cardinal Errázuriz sent in June last year cardinal Ezzati said he hoped Mr Cruz would not be nominated to the commission:

“It would mean, among other things, giving credit to and validating a construction of the truth that Mr Cruz has astutely constructed . . . ,” an excerpt from one email read. Mr Cruz has strenuously defended himself against this claim.

In his response Cardinal Errázuriz said he would speak to the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith to prevent the “evil” referred to in the earlier email.

Authenticated

In later correspondence Cardinal Errázuriz appeared to inform Cardinal Ezzati that Mr Cruz’s nomination had been blocked.

The emails have been authenticated by the Archdiocese of Santiago.

El Mostrador reported on Sunday that Cardinal Ezzati said all correspondence was sent using his personal computer and he was concerned the “private conversations” were taken out of context.

The publication in the media was a “clear intention to create confusion” he said and that there would be an internal investigation into exactly what had happened.

Reacting to the controversy Ms Collins said the content of the emails revealed the “real attitude” of many church leaders.

“This is the sort of attitude that’s there towards many survivors. They are looked on as enemies of the church out to damage the church . . . and efforts are made to silence them”.

Ms Collins said she could not pre-empt the work of the commission but said this was a “very serious mater” which would be examined by it.