Three former members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children call for reform of this working group. The commission must become more independent of the curia and meet more often with the pope, according to two of its demands.
The summit on abuse called by the pope for the end of February should also discuss a reform. In interviews published by the U.S. magazine National Catholic Reporter (Thursday), former members Krysten Winter-Green, Catherine Bonnet and Marie Collins are critical of the development of the child protection commission.
Instead of initiating structural reforms in the church, the commission has increasingly shifted its activities to training and information for bishops and other church employees since its appointment in April. In doing so, however, it is doing what the Child Protection Center at the Pontifical Gregorian University is doing, Collins said. The Irishwoman has already repeatedly criticized the actions of the Pope and the Vatican against abuse and cover-up as insufficient and too slow.
Collins resigned from child protection commission
Collins, who was abused by a priest as a child, was part of the first child protection commission appointed by Francis. It had left in spring 2017 out of anger over too little cooperation from Vatican authorities. New Zealander Winter-Green and Frenchwoman Bonnet were not reappointed when the Commission was reconstituted in April 2018.
The second Pontifical Commission for Child Protection, newly appointed in April 2018, has a more international membership than the first. She also includes victims of sexualized violence. The group meets twice a year in Rome. According to its statute, its task is to advise the pope.
Its remit extends to initiatives and ways to protect minors in church settings, in addition to liaising with those concerned. It is also a matter of improving and applying church guidelines on prevention and intervention, and thirdly, of informing and training responsible people.