Pope's sex abuse advisory committee asks survivor to step back

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis' sex abuse advisory committee voted Saturday to temporarily sideline one of its members, a high-profile abuse survivor who had clashed with the commission over its mission.

See Full Article

Peter Saunders, a British advocate for survivors, had been highly critical of the Vatican's slow pace of progress in taking measures to protect children and punish bishops who covered up for pedophile priests. He has also insisted the pope's commission was not just crafting long-term policies to fight abuse but also should intervene immediately in individual cases.

During a commission meeting Saturday, "it was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission's work," the Vatican said in a statement.

The decision is a blow to Francis' efforts to show that he is tough on abuse, since the presence of Saunders and another abuse survivor, Marie Collins, had given the commission credibility.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Saunders said commission members asked him to step aside after concluding they could no longer trust him to work within the scope of the commission's mandate.

"The commission members took a vote and apart from one abstention they agreed that they could no longer continue to work with me," Saunders said. "I do not want to prevent the work of the commission, the good work that the commission is doing from going ahead, so I had no choice but to step aside."

His departure leaves just one other abuse survivor on the commission, which was formed in 2013 to advise the Vatican on protecting children, educating church personnel and parishioners about abuse, and keeping pedophiles out of the priesthood.

The commission was formed after victims' groups questioned whether the Argentine pope, who had never dealt with an abuse case, really understood the scope of the scandal in the church. But the commission took a big step last year when it successfully proposed that the Vatican create an in-house tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of failing to protect their flocks.

The lack of bishop accountability has prompted years of criticism from abuse victims, advocacy groups and others that the Vatican had failed to punish or forcibly remove bishops who moved predator priests from parish to parish, where they could rape again, rather than report them to police or remove them from ministry.

The Vatican has released no information about the progress in the tribunal's work so far.

The commission in general, and Saunders in particular, had been highly critical of Francis' decision to appoint a Chilean bishop despite allegations from abuse survivors that he had covered up for the country's most notorious pedophile. The bishop denied the charge and Francis stood by the appointment.

The commission has stressed that its mission is not to intervene in individual cases but to craft policy guidelines for the church.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Grand jury indicts U.S. soldier on terrorism charges

    World News Toronto Sun
    HONOLULU — A federal grand jury in Hawaii indicted a U.S. soldier Friday for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Source
  • Arctic exchange: Students from Toronto, Iqaluit swap places to tackle problems

    Canada News CTV News
    A group of Toronto students traded lives with teens from Nunavut in an exchange designed to give them a glimpse of challenges facing northern Canadians and the chance to brainstorm creative solutions. Daily difficulties were front-and-centre during the five-day visit in Iqaluit. Source
  • Firefighters bring nearly dead dog back to life

    World News Toronto Sun
    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A California fire department says a little white dog named Jack is recovering after firefighters rescued him from a burning home and brought him back to life. In a video posted to the Bakersfield Fire Department’s website that has been widely shared online, firefighter Matt Smith is shown carrying the nearly lifeless shih tzu from the house on Wednesday. Source
  • White House threatens Iran over detained Americans

    World News CTV News
    In this March 6, 2012 file photo, an FBI poster showing a composite image of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, right, of how he would look like now after five years in captivity, and an image, left, taken from the video, released by his kidnappers, in Washington during a news conference. Source
  • Minneapolis police chief resigns in wake of officer shooting

    World News CTV News
    Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief following last week's shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer. Source
  • 'We need him': Yazidi mother pleads for Canada's help to reunite with injured son

    Canada News CTV News
    A Yazidi refugee who escaped Iraq with four of her six sons is pleading for Canadian officials to reunite her with her 12-year-old son Emad, whom she only recently learned is alive. An Islamic State attack in August 2014 separated Nofa Mihlo Zaghla from two of her sons and her husband. Source
  • Minneapolis police chief resigns in wake of Justine Damond shooting

    World News Toronto Sun
    Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief following last week’s shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer. In a statement released Friday, Harteau said: “I’ve decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be. Source
  • Minneapolis police chief resigns after officer's shooting of Australian woman

    World News CBC News
    Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief following last week's shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer. In a statement released Friday, Harteau said: "I've decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be. Source
  • Who is Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's new communications chief?

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- He was the only Trump ally on stage that day. Yet Anthony Scaramucci didn't seem to mind the tough questions from MSNBC host Joe Scarborough or the hostile crowd that filled the luxury hotel ballroom at last month's private gathering of Mitt Romney supporters. Source
  • Qur’an submerged in lard mailed to California Islamic centre

    World News Toronto Sun
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Police are investigating the mailing of a Qur’an submerged in a tub of what appeared to be pork lard to a Northern California Islamic centre. The Sacramento chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations received the package in June, and it follows two other incidents of defaced Qurans at nearby mosques last month. Source