Posts Tagged Peter Saunders

Editorial: Retain abuse survivors or risk irrelevancy / National Catholic Reporter

“To prevent irrelevancy, the commission must ensure that survivors have direct participation in its work and the commission itself needs a strong, public endorsement by Francis.” (National Catholic Reporter)

It is distressing to learn that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors may be restructured so that survivors of sexual abuse by clergy may have no direct voice in that body. The commission has helped the church make great strides in addressing this global issue, but it is in danger of becoming irrelevant.

“Signs of trouble with the commission began to surface in 2016, a year after its inception, when one of two abuse survivors on the commission, Peter Saunders, was suspended. The trouble became acute when the sole remaining survivor on the commission, Marie Collins, resigned earlier this year.

“Collins resigned because she felt Vatican bureaucracy was neglecting and stalling the work of the commission. The commission is understaffed, underfunded and not accepted by offices at the Vatican that should be working with it, Collins said. Her statements have been reinforced by fellow commission member Krysten Winter-Green in an interview with NCR.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more … — Read Voice of the Faithful’s statement, “Ineffectiveness of Papal Abuse Commission Provides Example of Need for Reform.”

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Papal abuse commission ineffectiveness provides perfect example of need for reform / Voice of the Faithful

Pope Francis’ Commission for the Protection of Minors is considering restructuring when present members’ terms expire next month, and survivors likely will not have a place at the table. They may comprise a separate advisory panel to the Commission.

Voice of the Faithful believes this is a mistake that would put survivors even farther out of the loop in helping to redress the clergy sexual abuse scandal and denigrate the importance of their counsel.

Of the two original survivor members of the Commission, Peter Saunders has been sidelined and Marie Collins resigned. The Commission’s ineffectiveness was a factor in both cases.

While recently citing some successes in educating Church leaders about the catastrophic results of child abuse, Commission member Krysten Winter-Green has said the Commission’s ineffectiveness stems in large part from insufficient resources and the slow and inefficient way the Vatican works, which echoes some of Collins’ comments upon her resignation.

Voice of the Faithful has worked long and hard to educate the laity to the need for reform of Church structures to better promote accountability, transparency, and broad and effective lay input into Church issues. There seems no more effective example of the need for reform than the inability of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to accomplish its goals with the Vatican bureaucratic cards stacked against it.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Aug. 23, 2017
Contact: Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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The clergy’s task is unfinished in confronting sex abuse / National Catholic Reporter

“The central question (still confronting Catholic Clergy: What caused us, members of the Catholic clergy culture, to arrive at the point where we could devise a rationale that allowed us to walk away from the incalculable suffering of the community’s children in order to protect those members of the clergy culture who caused the suffering?” (National Catholic Reporter)

The story of Marie Collins, an Irish victim of clergy sex abuse and a witness of unimpeachable integrity, is a dual tale of how far the church has come in acknowledging and handling the scandal and of how wholly and demonstrably incapable the Catholic clerical culture is of dealing with its own sin.

“Collins was one of two survivors of clergy sex abuse who were appointed in 2014 to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an agency created by Pope Francis. She resigned the commission in March, providing NCR with a long explanatory statement.

“Her decision to leave was not lightly taken. She had rejected the logic of some critics early on that any cooperation with church efforts was selling out to an institution that had generally ignored or re-victimized the abused for decades. She had later defended the work of the commission when its only other victim member, Peter Saunders, openly criticized the group for the slow pace of reform.

“In March, however, three years after her appointment, she wrote: ‘I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope. As a survivor, I have watched events unfold with dismay.’

“Among the primary reasons for her despair, she listed ‘lack of resources, inadequate structures around support staff, slowness of forward movement and cultural resistance.’

“Those first three are easily remedied: more money, more staff, pick up the pace.

“The last one — ‘cultural resistance’ — is the impenetrable, if invisible, shield, a kind of carapace protecting the clergy culture. It prevents the disturbing, ugly reality of what experts have termed the ‘soul murder’ of children from penetrating the deepest levels of the clerical culture. The awareness inside the encasement can expand only so far before it runs into the resistance of rigid boundaries.”

By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Priest abuse victim is suspended from Vatican panel / The New York Times

A high-profile Vatican commission on the prevention of child sexual abuse voted on Saturday (Feb. 6) to temporarily suspend one of its members, an outspoken victim of clerical abuse who accused the church of failing to deliver on its promises of reform and accountability.

“But the suspended member, Peter Saunders, said at a news conference in Rome on Saturday (Feb. 6) that he would stand his ground. ‘I have not left, and am not leaving my position on the commission,’ Mr. Saunders said. ‘I was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis, and I will talk only with him about my position.’

“The public blowup could undermine confidence in the pope’s efforts to rebuild the Roman Catholic Church’s credibility on the child abuse issue. When the 17-member commission was created by Francis in his first year as pope, many victims and their advocates hoped that the presence on the panel of Mr. Saunders and another victim would spur the commission to act forcefully. But Mr. Saunders, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, in England, has complained that the commission has failed to produce tangible results.”

By Elisabetta Povoledo and Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pell seeks legal advice after Vatican official slams ‘mockery’ of abuse victims / The Guardian

George Pell has threatened legal action after a member of the Vatican’s commission for the protection of children accused him of ‘making a mockery’ of child sexual abuse victims.

“Peter Saunders, himself a victim of child sexual abuse, said Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic cardinal, had an “almost sociopathic” disregard for victims of child sexual abuse through his repeated denial of any knowledge of abuse within the church.

‘But a statement issued on Pell’s behalf on Monday said: ‘The false and misleading claims made against His Eminence are outrageous. The cardinal is left no alternative but to consult with his legal advisers.’”

By Melissa Davey, The Guardian — Click here to read the rest of this story. Also, “Pope Francis’ finance chief promises to appear at Australian child abuse inquiry,” by Bonnie Malkin, The Telegraph

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Members of Vatican abuse commission question Francis’ inaction in Chile / National Catholic Reporter

Two members of the new Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on clergy sexual abuse (Peter Saunders, United Kingdom, and Marie Collins, Ireland, both clergy sexual abuse survivors) say they are both concerned and surprised at the pope’s decision to appoint a bishop in Chile who is accused of covering up abuse, even witnessing it while he was a priest.

Speaking in brief NCR interviews Thursday in personal capacities, the commission members also said some in their group are considering traveling to Rome to speak to the pope face-to-face on the matter.

Bishop Juan Barros Madrid was installed Saturday as head of the diocese of Osorno, Chile, amid protests in the cathedral. Chilean survivors accuse Barros of covering up abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima, a once-renowned spiritual leader and key Chilean church figure who was found guilty by the Vatican in 2011 of sexually abusing minors, when Barros was a priest.

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

Marie Collins of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, who is quoted in this story, will be the featured speaker at the VOTF 2015 National Assembly in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 18.

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Pope Francis already has the power and authority necessary to hold bishops and religious major superiors accountable / Catholic Whistleblowers

Catholic Whistleblowers appreciates the efforts of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to hold accountable those bishops and religious major superiors who have failed to deal with priests who have sexually abused minors. We especially commend the two members of the Commission who are victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse, Irishwoman Marie Collins and Englishman Peter Saunders, for their strong and publicly stated commitment to truth, justice, and healing.

“Yet, we also note that the Commission does not need to reinvent the wheel. The Code of Canon Law already provides the way for Pope Francis to deal with these bishops and religious superiors.

“Indeed, the pope has power and authority over all of the Church which he is always able to exercise freely (cc. 331, 333, §1 and 590, §1). And nothing in Church law prohibits the application of Church law by the pope regarding bishops and religious superiors.”

By Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee — Click here to read the rest of this statement.

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