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‘It’s important to have a survivor at the heart of the Vatican’ says Marie Collins

She said she hopes that more lay people and survivors of abuse will be asked to join the council.

Marie Collins
Marie Collins
Image: Photocall Ireland

ABUSE SURVIVOR MARIE Collins received a call last week offering her a seat on the the Vatican’s new Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, she said that she was hopeful that the new council will bring about much needed and long over due change within the Vatican.

“I had no idea I was even being considered for the role until I received a call on Friday offering me the position. It was a complete surprise to me,” she said.

Voice on the council

When asked was it something she jumped at or had to think about she said that when she heard about the establishment of the council in December she thought it was very important to have a survivors voice on the council.

“I knew that it was vital that a voice of a survivor be in that discussion,” she said, adding she could not turn down an opportunity where she would be a voice to those that were abused.

“When I heard about the council I thought that it was good to see the Vatican doing something, not that they have done very much to tackle the issue of child abuse in the past,” she added.

Collins said:

I felt it was a great opportunity to get a survivors view at the heart of the Vatican and it really is something of a change for the Vatican to even have a council of this sort – so far there are eight members, it’s all balanced, men and women.

She said the next step for the council is they will be looking for more members.

Members

“We will decide as a council on new members for the committee and put forward recommendations of who we think should sit on the council. So far seven out of the eight members are from Europe, so we need more of a balance from people from South America and other regions also. I hope that there will be a mix of people on the council and I hope that more survivors will be given a seat also,” said Collins.

When asked if she thinks the council will bring about significant change, Collins said:

I am almost afraid to say. This certainly is a significant change in the way that the Vatican is doing things, but there have been promises before. I get the feeling that it is different this time.
The fact that there are eight members, with more lay people than clergy on the council, that in itself is an enormous change.

Also that the pope wants us to work directly for him is a good sign. I think the set up of the council is a good set-up and I hope we can bring about real change.

She added, however, “we’ve had a lot of words and promises, so I hope this council can do something about the legacy issues of child sex abuse within the church, something that can make real change to policies within the Church. I really hope that change does happen”.

“I was recently asked if I would be intimidated by the  make-up of the council as they all have titles and the likes, but really this whole issue is too important for me to feel in any way intimidated and I won’t be,” said Collins, adding:

“I intend to go in and be the voice for survivors of abuse, I intend to fight for what changes I think need to come about and I will do everything I can in my power to bring about change. I hope I will not disappoint anyone.”

Read: Abuse survivor Marie Collins added to Vatican commission to protect children>

Read: Pope must ask forgiveness from abuse victims, says survivor Marie Collins>

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