Irish abuse survivor Marie Collins has challenged a claim by a senior Vatican figure that his office cooperated with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
Ms Collins resigned from the commission at the start of this month blaming “the resistance by some members of the Vatican Curia to the work of the commission”.
“The lack of co-operation, particularly by the dicastery most involved in dealing with cases of abuse, has been shameful,” she had stated.
But, in response, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper that it was time to do away with what he called the “cliche” that the Vatican bureaucracy was resisting Pope Francis’ initiatives.
In an open letter to the Cardinal published by the National Catholic Reporter, Ms Collins questioned his claim that he “cannot understand the talk of a lack of cooperation” between the CDF and the commission.
She said that the CDF initially refused in 2015 to send someone to attend meetings and it was September 2016 before a CDF representative attended Commission working group meetings.
Ms Collins also questioned the cardinal’s claims there been a permanent contact between the two organisations.
“I don’t know what form this permanent contact took. All I can say is the members of the commission did not receive any formal reports or see any positive results generated by such contact.”
In relation to the Pope’s decision to create a new tribunal to judge bishops’ negligent in responding to abuse, she said the cardinal had stated that the conclusion reached was that the tribunal was not necessary, as any negligence could be addressed through the “competencies”, “tools” and “legal means” already in place in the congregation for bishops.
“If all necessary means have been in place to address the case of a bishop negligent in respect of protection of children from abuse, why then has no bishop been, officially, transparently sanctioned or removed for this negligence?” she asked.
“If it is not lack of laws, then is it lack of will? I am sure many survivors, myself included, would be interested, cardinal, in the answer to this question.”
She concluding by asking that “instead of falling back into the Church’s default position of denial and obfuscation when a criticism like mine is raised, the people of the Church deserve to be given a proper explanation”.
“We are entitled to transparency, honesty and clarity,” she said.
“No longer can dysfunction be kept hidden behind institutional closed doors. This only succeeds as long as those who know the truth are willing to remain silent.”
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