Pope drops Kiwi from sex abuse commission

Francis renews sex abuse commission but does not reappoint Kiwi

Pope Francis has revived his sex abuse advisory commission but without a Kiwi member.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors sat for 3 years before its term expired two months ago.

In freshening the commission Pope Francis added nine new people to its ranks, and re-appointed only eight of the previous members to the commission.

Pope Francis did not reappoint 6 existing members including New Zealand Church official Bill Kilgallon.

Kilgallon recently retired as director of the New Zealand National Office of Professional Standards (NOPS) for the Catholic Church.

His retirement was signaled a year ago to the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC).

Spokesperson for NZCBC, Amanda Gregan, had no comment on Kilgallon’s non-appointment but points out that he has retired.

NOPS sets guidelines for the Catholic Church’s policy for children, young people and adults at risk.

Kilgallon worked as its director for 5 years before his retirement.

Pope Francis’ commission renewal comes amid criticism of his handling of accusations against a Chilean bishop.

The bishop stands accused of covering up abuse while he was a priest in the 1980s and 90s.

The Pope’s revamped commission will meet with victims of sexual abuse in April.

Criticism of Commission

The abuse commission has faced increasing public scrutiny since it began in 2014.

A former commissioner complained of overwork and understaffing.

Another, Marie Collins, was an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from the commission in frustration last March.

She says some of those not reappointed were among the group’s most active members.

Collins says she resigned in frustration at Vatican officials’ refusal to cooperate with the commission’s work.

She cited one Vatican office’s refusal to send a response to all abuse victims who wrote to the office.

The Pope had approved sending the response after the commission asked him to.


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