11 February 2016, The Tablet

Sheila Hollins on the Vatican's commission for child protection: 'We face a challenging task'

British abuse survivor Peter Saunders has taken leave of absence from Pope Francis’ special commission on child protection and has complained that it is flawed and secretive. Here a member of the commission, who worked closely with Saunders, highlights its struggles and achievements The most important part of our mandate as members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as set out by Pope Francis, is to do “everything possible to ensure that crimes such as those which have occurred are no longer repeated in the Church”.As members we are tasked with studying current systems and guidelines, advising the Pope on best international practice and changes that may need to be implemented for safeguarding. We have also been asked to assist local churches
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User Comments (1)

Comment by: spotlight
Posted: 12/02/2016 22:03:27
Your commission needs a good PR person on board to put out the right message about your work. Obviously there have been mixed messages and mixed signals and misinterpretations of your role, so you need to get the word out about what you are NOT doing. That is, you need to make it VERY clear that you are not dealing with the history of abuse in the Church but with a very different agenda, some future vision of an abuse-free Church, with all the rules and regulations in place for protecting children.
Somebody like Peter Saunders can legitimately claim that your commission is ignoring where the problem IS, and are instead looking ahead to where the problem MIGHT be. Perhaps the name and mission of your commission ought to be changed to reflect the fact that not only are you not locking the barn door after the horse has bolted, but you are in fact back at your drafting table trying to architect a new design for barns. All this may seem very laudable, but you should not be surprised to find that many victims, and their advocates, deem such activity to be an exercise in complete futility. I am curious to hear how Commission members justify this use (or misuse) of their time.