‘Nothing has changed’

MARIE COLLINS, who was 13 years of age when she was raped in hospital by a priest, has said she is shattered by the silence of the Vatican and the response of the Church leadership in Ireland to the report on abuse in the Dublin diocese.

It is almost one week since the 720-page report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, and in that time, “nothing has changed”.

“We have got the drawbridges pulled up, we have got closing of ranks; we have bishops who have not even bothered to read the report, and we have had all the apologies again about what these men did, the abusers. But we have had nothing that has said, ‘we the leadership of the Church are sorry for our actions’,” Ms Collins said yesterday.

While the media has portrayed the 53-year-old Dublin mother as a very strong woman, “over the last few days, it’s the response of the Church and the way it has hit me, [shows] I am not really a strong woman”.

She fought for 15 years for justice and it was a total of 25 years since she first reported her rape.

“I have really fought for the truth to come out because the Catholic Church was my church and I wanted it to see and to admit what had gone on,” she said.

But since last Thursday, she said she had been decimated and shattered by the manner in which the Church leadership here dealt with the report’s horrific findings.

The harshest criticism from cardinals and archbishops had been that there were “failings” and she was “beginning to wonder if the 15 years was worth it – if there was any point at all. I am totally despairing”.

Speaking on the RTÉ Liveline radio programme she added: “For someone like me it’s the end of the road. I have no more hope in the Catholic Church. To me it has hit rock bottom in Ireland… The Church and the leadership have got so far away from just basic Christianity, they have become devoid of humility.”

Yesterday, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, said the Vatican acted “in good faith” and within diplomatic protocols.

Last night, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin voiced his dissatisfaction with the response of bishops named in the report and said he will write to the other Church leaders to say their responses should be in relation to the people of the Dublin Archdiocese and not their own dioceses.


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