14 March 2017, The Tablet

Marie Collins dismisses Cardinal Muller's claim he didn't resist work of child protection commission

Prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith claimed Collins claim was a 'cliche' he 'couldn't understand'

A clerical sexual abuse survivor has launched a stinging rebuke to a cardinal who denied his department resisted the work of a papal child protection commission.

Marie Collins resigned from Pope Francis’ safeguarding body in frustration at what she described as resistance from inside the Vatican to their work, with the main opposition coming from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). 

In response Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the prefect of the congregation, hit back in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera saying it was a “cliche” to talk of resistance in the Roman Curia, that he “couldn’t understand” the claim about his department not co-operating and that he had never met Collins.

But in a letter published this week by the National Catholic Reporter, Collins points out that she met Muller at a small dinner in Dublin where the commission was discussed. She also states in her letter that it took more than a year before the CDF started to engage with the commission.

Collins criticised the cardinal's assertion that a structure for the CDF to hold bishops who cover up abuse accountable was only a “project” and was best handled by other Vatican departments. Collins points to a June 2015 statement from Pope Francis authorising the establishment of a new panel including the ruling that personnel should be appointed to it. 

Sources in the Vatican say that a structure in the CDF is in place to judge bishops but it has yet to be used. Meanwhile another legal process to hold bishops accountable has been set up using other Vatican departments.

Finally, Collins is critical of the cardinal’s view that his body cannot reply to letters from abuse victims because this is the role of a diocesan bishop or religious superior. “It appears that for you the concern that the local bishop might feel disrespected far outweighs any concern about disrespecting the survivor,” she writes.

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