Abuse survivor Marie Collins attacks Curia failure to help

Parts of Vatican not co-operating with child safety watchdog

The only abuse survivor on the Vatican's Commission for the Protection of Minors has strongly criticised the Roman Curia for frustrating the commission's decisions and those of Pope Francis.

Irish campaigner Marie Collins told The Irish Times: "I'm personally frustrated with the lack of co-operation from the Curia and the fact it can be so detrimental to the work of the commission and the protection of children in the future."

Ms Collins said she had made her concerns “known to the Pope” and was “waiting to see what comes of it”.

She added that she “wouldn’t be surprised if other members felt the same, but I cannot speak for them.


“It really has become apparent that there are those in the curia [the Vatican’s administrative body] who feel that the commission becoming involved is almost an interference with the work as it has always been done.”

She said she was “happy with the work the commission is doing. And I think some of the things that are being worked on are very valuable, and if they can be brought in they will bring change and they will make children safer in the future”.

But “all this work will be for nought if it’s not implemented and I believe there are some areas of the curia – there’s obviously goodwill in many areas – that don’t see the need for change and don’t appreciate what the commission is doing and are not inclined to co-operate or to implement things that have been approved for implementation.”

She instanced the tribunal, approved last year by Pope Francis, which was due to hold bishops to account for their handling of abuse cases.

Brick wall

“It went to be implemented and that’s where the brick wall is. The implementation is the problem,” she said.

She also cited the commission’s 2014 proposal of a training module on child protection for new bishops. It “was approved by the holy father and he actually suggested it be expanded to [include] the curia as well as the new bishops” but “there was great resistance to it” and it has not materialised.

She said she was " absolutely horrified" to discover last week that under current Vatican programmes new bishops were being told it was not necessary to report abuse allegations to civil authorities.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times