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Rome Reports

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Abuse survivor, Marie Collins: bishops need to commit to safeguarding measures

In preparation for the summit on “The protection of minors in the Church”, two important voices against abuse have expressed their expectations. These are survivor of clerical abuse Marie Collins and Arch. Eamon Martin. 

Marie Collins had previously been appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. However, she later resigned after citing resistance from the Vatican to reform. 

According to Collins, the summit should not be a place for bishops just to better understand what they should do in response to abuse. Instead, it should be a place where they actually commit to implementing better safeguarding practices. 

Former member Pontifical Commission for Protection of Minors
“No matter what part of the world they come from, this is a perfect opportunity to get each one of them to sign up to implementing proper safeguarding. We were told recently by the Vatican that only 50 percent of these episcopal conferences actually have guidelines which are up to the standard that are approved by the Vatican.”

Marie Collins also adds the Church needs to learn from countries such as Ireland; and then look to applying them in other areas across the world. 

Former member Pontifical Commission for Protection of Minors
“(In Ireland) we have good safeguarding measures laid down. We have auditing. We have training and it goes right down to parish level. I think that is most important.”

Similarly, Arch. Eamon Martin, president of Ireland's Episcopal Conference, stresses the need for greater communication between the Church and lay faithful. 

Ireland's President of the Bishops' Conference
“The more we engage on the ground with lay faithful in parish activities, the safer children, young and other vulnerable people, will be.”

He laments the great lost of trust people have for the Church now and the need to restore this. He calls for those in positions of authority to cooperate with both Church and state authorities.