Child protection commission seeks new ways to be informed by victims

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Following
the resignation of a prominent member and abuse survivor, a pontifical
commission charged with addressing issues related to clergy sex abuse vowed to
continue to seek input from victims and survivors.

The Pontifical Commission
for the Protection of Minors said the resignation of Marie Collins was a
“central topic” of its March 24-26 plenary assembly, and it “expressed
strong support for her continuing work” to promote healing for abuse
victims and ensuring best practices for prevention.

members have unanimously agreed to find new ways to ensure its work is shaped
and informed with and by victims/survivors. Several ideas that have been
successfully implemented elsewhere are being carefully considered for
recommendation to the Holy Father,” the commission said in a March 26
statement published by the Vatican.

the main concerns addressed by the commission was outreach out to victims, an
issue first raised by Collins shortly after she resigned from her position.

an editorial published online March 1 by National Catholic Reporter, Collins
said an unnamed dicastery not
only refused to respond to letters from victims, it also refused to cooperate
on the commission’s safeguarding guidelines.

In its statement, the commission
emphasized Pope Francis’ letter to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences
and superiors of institutes of consecrated life
and societies of apostolic life, in which he called for their close and
complete cooperation with the Commission for the Protection of Minors.

“The work I have entrusted to them
includes providing assistance to you and your conferences through an exchange
of best practices and through programs of education, training and developing
adequate responses to sexual abuse,” the pope wrote Feb. 2, 2015.

Commission members spoke again of their willingness to work together with the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith communicating a “guidelines template” to episcopal
conferences and religious congregations, both directly and through the commission website, the statement said.

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Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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