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

Collins is due to speak at a Vatican conference on ‘Healing and Renewal’ in Rome next week.

Marie Collins
Marie Collins
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE POPE AND other senior clergy must ask forgiveness of clerical sex abuse victims if the Catholic Church is to move on, a woman who was raped by a priest as a teen has said.

Marie Collins, who has been prominent in the struggle for justice for victims after being abused by Dublin priest Fr Paul McGennis, is scheduled to speak at a Vatican symposium on the issue of abuse next week.

However, she said some of her fellow survivors are questioning the motives behind the event. Collins told the Associated Press that some have wondered if the meeting in Rome is merely a public relations exercise instead of a genuine initiative to protect children.

She says she wrestled with her decision to accept an invitation to be a keynote speaker, but agreed because top Vatican officials will be there, including the US cardinal in charge of church strategy on abuse, and she wants her voice heard.

Collins acknowledged that church leaders have apologised for abuse, but said survivors like herself want the top leadership, including the pope, to do something harder – “ask forgiveness” of victims.

Vatican Radio reports that during the ‘Healing and Renewal’ conference, seven groups of people within the church will come forward and ask the forgiveness of abuse survivors.

- Additional reporting by Michael Freeman

Column: ‘For abuse victims like me, Mary helped expose the truth’>

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