Marie Collins resigns from Vatican abuse commission

She has been a member since its inception in 2014

Marie Collins resigns from Vatican abuse commission

Marie Collins in The Ascot Suite at the Alexander Hotel, Dublin in 2010 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Irish woman Marie Collins has resigned from the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors.

The survivor of clerical abuse has been described as "a stalwart campaigner for change" within the Catholic Church in how it responds to survivors.

Mrs Collins has been a member of the commission since its inception in 2014.

The commission announced her resignation, adding that she "consistently and tirelessly championed for the voices of the victims/survivors to be heard, and for the healing of victims/survivors to be a priority of the church."

 In discussing her decision with Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Mrs Collins cited her "frustration at the lack of cooperation with the commission by other offices in the Roman Curia", Vatican Radio reports.

But Mrs Collins accepted an invitation from Cardinal O’Malley to continue to work with the comission in an educational role.

'An enormous debt'

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin paid tribute to her work, saying few people in Ireland have made such a consistent contribution to the change in the Church’s response to child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Martin says: “Despite opposition and resistance, she remained committed and constructive in what were for her good moments and bad moments.

“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.

“Victims and survivors owe her an enormous debt, but she was never one to seek praise or affirmation for herself.

“I am happy to note her commitment to continue her contribution to the Church and I thank her for the contribution she has made to the Archdiocese of Dublin and the support she has given me personally”.

'Reluctance to accept reality'

While executive director of support group One in Four, Maeve Lewis, says: "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.

"The way in which the Curia stymied most recommendations of the commission shows a reluctance to accept the reality of clerical sexual abuse.

"Despite all the protestations of commitment to child protection, it appears that very little has really changed.

"Many survivors would like to remain within the Catholic Church and they had placed a great deal of confidence in the Commission because of Marie’s participation.  They will be disappointed and distressed today", Lewis adds.