(Reuters) — A leading member of a group advising Pope Francis on how to root out sex abuse in the Catholic Church quit in frustration on Wednesday, citing “shameful” resistance within the Vatican.
The sudden departure of Marie Collins, an outspoken Irish woman who was the last remaining survivor of priestly abuse on a Holy See commission, was a major setback for the pope, who has faced criticism of not doing enough to tackle the problem.
The work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, set up by Francis in March 2014, has been slowed down by internal disputes and Collins blamed the Vatican’s administration, known as the Curia, for the “constant setbacks”.
“The lack of cooperation, particularly by the dicastery most closely involved in dealing with cases of abuse, has been shameful,” she said in a statement.
She said the pope had a “genuine wish” to solve the problem, but in later comments to a Catholic publication she criticized him for being too forgiving towards sexual abuse in the Church.
She told the National Catholic Reporter that in her three years on the commission she had never been able to speak to the pontiff, and denounced those who surround him.
“It is devastating in 2017 to see that these men still can put other concerns before the safety of children and vulnerable adults,” she said, listing a string of cases in which she said the commission’s work had been hampered by Church officials.
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