VATICAN CITY (RNS) An Irish woman who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child is among eight members of a special commission appointed by Pope Francis on Saturday (March 22) to start the long and arduous process of confronting the church’s chronic sexual abuse problems.

Cardinal Seán O'Malley presided at the Annual Rites of Election for the Archdiocese of Boston which was held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sunday (March 9). There was a record number in attendance at the two liturgies. Photo by George Martell - Pilot New Media,

Cardinal Seán O’Malley presided at the Annual Rites of Election for the Archdiocese of Boston which was held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sunday (March 9). There was a record number in attendance at the two liturgies. Photo by George Martell – Pilot New Media, courtesy of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston


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Francis appointed four women and four men — a mix of clergy and laypeople — from eight different countries to a panel that will advise the church on the best ways to protect children, identify and punish abusers, and train church personnel. Plans for the panel first emerged in December.

The creation of the commission is one of the strongest steps Francis has taken to confront the problem that has severely stained the church’s reputation and cost it billions in court settlements and legal fees. The pontiff has called the issue of sexual abuse “the shame of the church” and vowed to take strong steps to confront the issue.

The high-profile names on the commission give some indication of the importance Francis has given to the panel. In addition to Marie Collins, an Irish anti-abuse activist who was molested at age 13 by a priest in the 1960s, the group includes Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston; former Polish prime minister Hanna Suchocka; and British Baroness Sheila Hollins, a noted psychiatrist and a member of the U.K. House of Lords.

“Pope Francis has made it clear that the church must uphold the protection of minors amongst her highest priorities,” the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.

Calls for action have become louder following condemnation from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in January, with many critics saying the Vatican has acted too timidly in confronting the problems.

Even after the appointment of the committee, victims of abuse said the church should do more, with the U.S.-based Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests saying Francis must still “take strong steps right now to protect kids, expose predators, discipline enablers and uncover cover-ups.”

Collins, founder of the victims support organization One in Four, has called for the Vatican to punish church leaders who fail to implement or enforce church rules on pedophile priests, while O’Malley in 2011 famously published a database of Boston-area clergy accused of sexual abuse.

Suchocka is a former minister of justice who was also Poland’s ambassador to the Vatican for a dozen years ending in 2013, and Hollins is an ex-president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Medical Association.

(Eric J. Lyman writes for USA Today)

7 Comments

  1. charlene carrier

    Great accomplishment! However I think there needs to be a body of discerning.discrete people to represent the priest/religious/male/female on a local level. I do have very objective thoughts on the part of the priest who at times is the victim. I would be available and proud to represent the diocese in this matter.God bless your efforts.Charlene Carrier

  2. all the human punishing to each other, with the own god’s judgement, in their hand, those are unconscious persons, whom don’t know, which and how, those are the real sins, they believe, that with their appearance, they as have, like real man, or true weman, with that they can acusse, prosecute and punish, and even kill at somebody, why they don’t do sometink to remeber, when they were youth as also, when they were more bad and more sinners, yes there are many, whom know them, they yes had, somebody to forgive them, their own sins, why then, dosen’t show and learn for themself to forgive and even to pay, for many other as also, God is the only one whom prosecutes, yes he can be that right, because he is the only one, pure an innocent, of the sin of meat, God knows which are those sins the humans make, god can see, and he teaches us, how not to commit sins, it were how inteligent in finding God and ask which are those sins, don’t to commit that sin, god he own the gift of the prosecution, for some person, then to save their innocent lifes, many they know that to punish, he does the devil, evil have and wants the power for himself, to the evil doesn’t like it, to help to any body to enjoy of the life, evil burns in hell, evil comes out of the hell, to live the life time by time, to can live in between the humans, Devil escapes from hell, he like to asks at humans, to give him, human meat, to eat and to live the life, time by time, little by little, evil likes to enjoy himself alone, then he kills to all those, whom helped him, the evil, born each time, in every newbornlife, many know that this life, it does, to stay forgiving the devil’s life, because devil does burns in the hell, God says, that this life of meat, is not the life of God, we have god only, in the soul, we are have knoweledge plus consciousness of God, if we do not want to suffer, we must understand from God, whom says, that the meat’s life, is not of God, many should fear at evil, because after he procreat, he became inhuman, because the evil, only cares, to be escaping from the hell, at any price, each time evil escapes from the hell, he doesn’t cares, the pain he do to others, the devil wound and hurts, to can escape from the hell, but how as it is, when evil scapes of the hell ?, it when somebody, dosen’t or can’t see or recognize their sins, the devil is like a wild beast, locked inside a cave, anybody should not to forgive their sins, God is the only one whom forgives, for surely the devil those are the heterosexuals, any body should to keep them in real consious, that their life does a sinners, any body should not to forgive them, until God forgive them, never can to be on the contrary, God is the only good, the works any body made, in this physically life, they are the ones that are going to be valuable, for worse or for better, —-for surely that great sin from any human it does of precreate , because they bring to this world to those newborn, only for suffering, that is not a reason to feel proud of the life, more evidently it does the cynicism of bad persons, that apart of being so bad, they are more bad, because they force to weman to conceive innocent childs, only to be cleaning their dirty sins of ´—–life, many say that after those man get boring, of doing so much homosexuality, those dare to attack to harmless weman, raping their life, —-then to force them, with offences to procreate their children, which do not serve more than to wash their sins, those they are loading, from very back and very inside, after they washed of their homosexuality, they leave to their children and their weman,—- and they get again into homosexuality, more addicted, than ever, and more bold as before, they make to themself to be more bad because, they force to themself to forget their children— they killed their own feelings, after all that, they go to call for life vendicions, to relieve their life, and to follow it with the joke, in the catolic ther is the only one church, were they give them an special blessing for heterosexual men, whom became in gay, many know that, there are weman who provide services, that they are working to wash the sins, like the wizardry practice, that those weman they mix the three sexes, in a single one, the homosexual sex, the weman, in the last they mix it, with heterosexual men, the three paid as one sin ,— there is a rosary with beads of wood, which it measures it like three meters, it is solely to be use by heterosexual sinners persons, for they to be saved from sin of meat, some persons know, that the sinners get inside the Rosary when the couple of sinners are doing sex, it is more surely that the innocents with out sins, they are have more grace and forgiveness, those whom preffered to follow the way of the church,—- because after they lived a youth life of sin, they approach to seek for the god forgiveness, by part from the seminar and from the church, well they say many of them do not know sin, there are others who get inside the seminar to allude to sinners, it is very sure that humans should not dare to make the god`s judgment, without knowing which is the real sin.

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