Sex abuse victim offers to lead pontifical commission

A victim of clergy sexual abuse has offered to lead the Vatican’s child protection commission in Rome.

Peter Saunders, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told The Tablet he would like to see the commission have wider powers.

He would like to see the commission’s remit extended so it is able to deal directly with allegations of abuse.

Mr Saunders said he would like to see the commission become “the FBI of the Church staffed by laity so that people can come to me and other members rather than referring them somewhere else”.

He added that the “somewhere else” is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which, Mr Saunders maintains, is “not up to the task”.

Currently, the 17-member commission, which includes safeguarding experts from across the world, is staffed by just one priest, Fr Robert Oliver.

Its next meeting is not due to take place until October.

Mr Saunders is the outgoing chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood in the United Kingdom.

He was abused by two priests when he was a child.

He said he would be willing to lead the commission office and work closely alongside fellow members.

The commission is headed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Mr Saunders also told The Tablet that he has been inundated with messages from survivors who claim they are still ignored when they make complaints to Church leaders in their countries.

The vast majority of bishops’ conferences across the world have guidelines on how to respond to abuse allegations.

Last month, Cardinal O’Malley told Crux’s John Allen that he hoped to have a “pretty finished product” in terms of a new accountability system on abuse to present to the Pope within two months.

The system would include a tribunal located within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,