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Abuse survivor Marie Collins resigns from Vatican commission

Collins said that some members of the Vatican hierarchy were unwilling to make changes.

Marie Collins
Marie Collins
Image: Sam Boal/

ABUSE SURVIVOR AND campaigner Marie Collins has resigned from her position on the Vatican’s commission for the protection of minors, criticising the lack of resources and powers granted to it.

The committee was set up to help improve measures within the Catholic church to protect children against sex abuse, and Collins joined the commission in 2014.

At the time, she told that it was vital that “voice of a survivor be in that discussion”.

In a statement to the National Catholic Reporter, Collins criticised inadequate structures around support staff, slowness of forward movement and cultural resistance within the church.

“I have come to the point where I can no longer be sustained by hope,” she said. “As a survivor I have watched events unfold with dismay.”

She said that the unwillingness on the part of some in the Vatican Curia – the body through which the Pope conducts the affairs of the Catholic Church – to implement recommendations designed to safeguard children and vulnerable adults was “unacceptable”.

While there is one abuse survivor still remaining on the commission following her resignation, she says that she hopes that a survivor’s voice will be included no matter what happens going forward.

She told RTÉ News at One that it was “an extremely difficult” decision.

“I cannot, at this point, accept that there are still men in the Vatican who would resist work to help children,” she said.

It reached a point where Collins said she couldn’t remain any longer. “There’s some of them who still don’t get it,” she added.

Some senior figures were unwilling to work with the commission, and back its actions, Collins added.

Despite this, she did welcome the steps that Pope Francis has taken in safeguarding minors.

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Charity One in Four said it was “saddened” by Collins’ resignation, praising her as a stalwart campaigner for change in how the Catholic Church responds to survivors of abuse.

Executive Director Maeve Lewis said: “Marie Collins was among the first survivors of child sexual abuse in the Irish Catholic Church to speak openly about her experiences.

Her bravery was instrumental in encouraging other survivors to come forward and in forcing the Irish State to put in place four Commissions of Investigation which uncovered the dark, hidden world of clerical sexual abuse.

“Marie’s resignation after three frustrating years brings into question the sincerity of top level Vatican personnel in responding to survivors of sexual abuse. Despite all the protestations of commitment to child protection, it appears that very little has really changed.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin paid tribute to Collins in a statement, saying that “victims and survivors owe her an enormous debt”.

He said: “I have learned above all to see in her a person of integrity who is not afraid to chart her own course:  where things were wrong she identified them and named them; when she felt uncomfortable she was never tempted to take the easy path and remain quiet and I am certain that will be her position in the future.”

He personally thanked her for her contribution to the Archdiocese of Dublin and to him, personally.

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

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

About the author:

Sean Murray

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