As a survivor of child clerical sexual abuse I spent many years silent, then many years speaking out to expose the way the Catholic Church had protected itself and abandoned children to the abusers in its midst. The anger I felt at the continuing reluctance by many Church leaders to report the perpetrators, to cooperate with civil authorities, to treat survivors with justice was overwhelming.
Then came the Pope’s decision in 2013 to set up the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and my own appointment to that body. This Commission was being put in place to work on devising policy and structural change which could be recommended to the Pope to improve child protection in the future and ensure that all church leaders would implement these policies.
I had to decide if there was any hope that this Commission, through its advice to the Pope, would bring about permanent change within the universal Church or would it be a wasted effort, just a PR exercise. In the end I decided that if there was any hope at all, of protecting children in the future better than in the past, then I should take part.
By Marie Collins, member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this statement.