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Vatican's Priest Abuse Panel Loses Only Survivor

Marie Collins quits commission, calls Vatican's behavior 'shameful'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2017 2:19 PM CST
Survivor Says Pope Too Easy on Abusive Priests, Quits Commission
Marie Collins, an Irish woman who was sexually abused by clergy, has quit in frustration her post on a Vatican commission advising Pope Francis about how to fight abuse of minors.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

(Newser) – The only remaining sexual abuse survivor on the Vatican's commission dealing with sexual abuse by priests has quit over what she calls "shameful" push back from the Vatican, Reuters reports. Marie Collins says the "last straw" for her was when the Vatican administration ignored a request from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors that it respond to all correspondence from people who've been sexually abused by priests. According to the Guardian, Collins—who was sexually abused by a priest when she was 13—says it's hard to believe the Vatican truly cares about victims when it can't even bother to reply to their letters.

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Collins says she does believe Pope Francis wants to help victims, NBC News reports, but she's upset he's been reducing punishments and granting clemency to abusive priests. She says the pope is too quick to show mercy when it comes to priests sexually abusing children. Last summer, Pope Francis canceled a tribunal that was supposed to prosecute bishops who protected abusive priests. Collins also accuses the Vatican of a "lack of cooperation" with the commission that has led to "constant setbacks." "It is devastating in 2017 to see that these men still can put other concerns before the safety of children and vulnerable adults," Reuters quotes her as saying. The only other abuse survivor on the commission left in February 2016. (Read more priest sex abuse stories.)

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