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

  • Schwarzenegger talks climate change with French president

    World News CTV News
    PARIS - Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the environment shouldn't be a partisan issue. The actor-turned-Republican politician told reporters in Paris on Friday that he had a "wonderful" one-hour meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Source
  • Offspring of famous Toronto capybaras named after members of Rush

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The offspring of Toronto's wandering capybaras now have names -- Alex, Geddy and Neil, for members of the band Rush. The High Park Zoo says the "capybabies" were born in February to famed escape artists Bonnie and Clyde. Source
  • Intel leaks on the rise: CIA chief

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — CIA Director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America’s secret intelligence is on the rise, fuelled partly by the “worship” of leakers like Edward Snowden. “In some ways, I do think it’s accelerated,” Pompeo told MSNBC in an interview that aired Saturday. Source
  • UAE: Arab states don't seek 'regime change' in Qatar

    World News CTV News
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A top United Arab Emirates official said Saturday the Arab countries isolating Qatar do not seek to force out the country's leadership over allegations it supports extremist ideology but are willing to cut ties altogether if it does not agree to their demands. Source
  • Quebecers take part in Fete Nationale celebrations

    Canada News CTV News
    Quebecers are taking part in Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day and Fete Nationale du Quebec festivities in the lead up to Canada 150 celebrations. The festivities mark the province’s national holiday to celebrate the culture and heritage of Canada’s francophones and how they have shaped the country. Source
  • Schwarzenegger, Macron riff on Trump's campaign slogan in selfie video

    World News CBC News
    Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and recently elected French president Emmanuel Macron are showing their commitment to fighting climate change — and their condemnation of U.S. President Donald Trump — in a not-so-subtle selfie video. The pair met at the Elysée Palace in Paris Friday to discuss environmental matters. Source
  • Toronto's 'capybaby' triplets named after famous rock trio Rush

    Canada News CBC News
    The offspring of Toronto's wandering capybaras now have names — Alex, Geddy and Neil, for members of the band Rush. The High Park Zoo says the "capybabies" were born in February to famed escape artists Bonnie and Clyde. Source
  • Massive China landslide buries more than 120 people [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BEIJING — More than 120 people were buried by a landslide that caused huge rocks and a mass of earth to come crashing into their homes in a mountain village in southwestern China early Saturday, officials said. Source
  • Martha wins World's Ugliest Dog contest [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    PETALUMA, Calif. — The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in California is celebrating the inner beauty and imperfections of man’s best friend on Friday. The pooches — many of which are adoptable or previously adopted — will face off in a red carpet walk and “Faux Paw Fashion Show,” organizers said. Source
  • German court removes 3 judges in Auschwitz trial over bias

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN - A German court has removed three judges found to be biased in the often-delayed trial of a former SS medic who served at the Auschwitz death camp. The German news agency dpa reported Saturday that the Neubrandenburg state court appointed three new judges on Friday. Source