Friday greetings. It is bright, sunny, and quite cold here in the Midwest.
I have been greatly dismayed in the last few days. This has to do with the resignation of Marie Collins, herself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest, from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Most disturbing to me is her description of what has been occurring at the Vatican, as reported in an interview conducted by Crux.
"Collins also said that she's 'totally disgusted' by the opposition the commission finds with the Curia, and with the fact that men working at this level within the Church would resist the work they're doing, which she said is for the protection of children and minors and for the care of survivors."
Apparently the commission has been given little by way of budget, staff, or the ability to bring experts in from outside the Church. Frankly, this should disturb Catholics right to the core. I am left with the question: "What is going on here?"
Pope Francis has made it clear that this commission's work is vital to the pastoral work of the Church, yet somehow he has not taken the appropriate measures to see to it that this commission has the resources needed to function according to his mandate?
I know there is that old expression that is often used to describe the speed at which processes move along in the Vatican; something like "The Tiber runs very slowly."
But, really? We are not talking about a stalled ritual book sitting for months or years on the desk in the corner office of some dicastery member. We are talking about ensuring the safety of children here. We are talking about the work the Church must do to protect kids. We are talking about the work the Church needs to do to reach out and offer victims the assistance they need. We are talking about punishing and sanctioning bishops and other leaders who have, by their silence and cover-ups, shifted abusive clergy to other potentially life-threatening pastoral assignments.
I do not use the term "life-threatening" here loosely. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse myself (not by a clergy member), I need to continue to communicate to people that childhood sexual abuse is life-threatening. Sure, it may not directly threaten a life like murder or serious disease, but it threatens the quality of the rest of the abused person's life; it threatens the fact that a piece of a person's life--namely a normal childhood--is, in fact killed.
So, today, I cannot not talk about this as a Catholic. I am deeply offended and ashamed that there are those in the Vatican who are not cooperating with the commission. I hope and pray that Pope Francis does something definitive in the coming days and weeks to address this failure.
Not one more child. Not one more child.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.