Child abuse survivor criticises bishops' lectureFriday 12 February 2016 18.17
The prominent child abuse survivor Marie Collins has said senior Vatican bureaucrats frustrated Pope Francis' plans to have his Commission for the Protection of Minors train bishops in child protection.
Ms Collins, who is the only survivor-member of the Commission, revealed the Commission's difficulties following the publication in Rome of instructions to new bishops that they are not obliged to report allegations of clerical child abuse to their local police authorities.
Earlier this month the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops published documents including the text of a lecture to recently appointed bishops who were attending a training course in Rome.
The speaker, the French Monsignor Tony Anatrella, stated that bishops have no duty to report allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the police the moment they receive them.
He said reporting is a matter for victims and their families instead. He also said bishops also had to be mindful of mandatory reporting laws in their own countries.
The published instruction created a storm of controversy among survivors across the world and considerable unease in some quarters in the Vatican.
Dublin-based Marie Collins said that she would be horrified if that is what was being taught to bishops.
"In late 2014, the Commission for the Protection of Minors proposed to the Pope that it would provide training for bishops in child protection and he approved that," she said.
She said it was one of the first things the Commission had done but that difficulties arose with the Curia - the Latin word for the Vatican's bureaucracy.
"There was a problem with our Commission becoming involved with the organisation of the course," added Ms Collins.