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

  • Alzheimer's patient allowed to leave secure unit with man once accused of defrauding her

    Canada News CBC News
    Secure units at nursing homes are meant to keep patients with dementia in, but a Newfoundland family is now questioning who is responsible for keeping others out. Two days before Christmas, 81-year-old Ida Connors — who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease — was taken from the secure unit of a long-term care home in St. Source
  • Edward Snowden not pardoned, but can stay in Russia for foreseeable future

    World News CBC News
    Russian authorities have extended a residence permit for U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked thousands of secret documents from the National Security Agency. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a post on Facebook late Tuesday that Snowden's residence permit has been extended for "a couple of years. Source
  • Inaugural speech is Trump's time to rise to the moment

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Tradition suggests it's time for Donald Trump to set aside the say-anything speaking style and rise to the inaugural moment. But bucking tradition, or ignoring it altogether, is what got Donald Trump to his inaugural moment. Source
  • Bank of Canada expected to stand firm on rates ahead of Trump presidency

    Canada News CBC News
    The Bank of Canada is widely expected to keep its key interest rate at 0.5 per cent this morning in its first interest rate decision of 2017 — but uncertainty over the future of the global economy after the inauguration of Donald Trump will likely complicate the central bank's ability to make policy decisions in the near future. Source
  • Ontario's 'ban' on carding isn't really a ban at all

    Canada News CBC News
    The new year brought with it a new ban on carding in Ontario. Or rather, a "ban." While celebrated by some as the end of the discriminatory practice in the province, in reality, Ontario's ban on carding isn't really a "ban" at all. Source
  • 'We are relaxed because we are winning again': Russia welcomes an unconventional Trump

    World News CBC News
    Sergey Karaganov smiles cagily as he describes Russian President Vladimir Putin's strengthened negotiating position. "We are relaxed because we are winning again." The honorary head of Russia's influential Council on Foreign and Defence Policy says at this juncture, "most Russians are laughing — some with disgust, some with sympathy — at America's political scene. Source
  • Trump the 'first step' toward identity politics: Richard Spencer

    World News CBC News
    Count Richard Spencer among the millions of Americans who will be thrilled to watch Donald Trump take the oath of office Friday. Spencer is no ordinary Trump supporter. He is a leader of the alt-right, a movement that rejects mainstream conservatism and promotes white nationalism — and, say many, is now emboldened by Trump's win. Source
  • Trump gives himself starring role as a job creator, but critics call it a stretch

    World News CBC News
    President-elect Donald Trump hasn't even started his new job yet. But he's already been busy creating lots of jobs, particularly in the auto sector. At least that's what his tweets imply. Just yesterday, he took to Twitter to boast about "all of the jobs I am bringing back into the U.S. Source
  • Were opportunities for clues from MH370 debris missed?

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia -- Three nations shelled out around $160 million and years' worth of work on the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The result: No plane. The only tangible -- and arguably most important -- clues into what happened to the aircraft have come courtesy of ordinary citizens, who bore the costs themselves. Source
  • Senator wants inquiry after charges stayed against two women in Alberta killing

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- A senator is calling for a public inquiry after Alberta prosecutors stayed charges against a second woman accused in a murder case. Kim Pate says an inquiry is needed to look at the actions of police and the Crown in taking Wendy Scott and Connie Oakes to court. Source