Church faces two dangers on safeguarding children

Irish Times

Breda O’Brien

Sat, Mar 29, 2014

The appointment of Marie Collins to the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is highly significant. It is a tribute to Marie Collins herself, who has been an articulate and dedicated campaigner on issues of child sexual abuse.

She made an impressive presentation at a major international summit on child abuse in 2012 at Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University, which was co-sponsored by several Vatican departments.

Some 100 representatives of bishops’ conferences and 30 religious superiors attended the conference, and some were visibly shaken and moved by hearing what a victim had to say.

Other members of the new commission include Rev Hans Zollner, the vice-rector of the Gregorian University, a psychologist who organised the 2012 seminar, and Baroness Sheila Hollins, a British psychiatrist and former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Half the current commission’s members are women, and they are all heavy-hitters, including a former prime minister of Poland, Hannah Suchocka, who was appointed as prime minister under Lech Walesa, because she was highly regarded by politicians from many different parts of the political spectrum.

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