Eight members were chosen Saturday as advisors for the Vatican’s sex abuse policy.
According to the CS Monitor, the Associated Press reported that Pope Francis’ elected members would be ahead of a commission panel, which would report any sexual assault against minors within the Catholic Church.
The church has been under public scrutiny for years due to recurring sexual scandals. Such cases have led to lawsuits, further affecting the church’s reputation.
The Catholic Church’s Canon Law currently reprimands church leaders if they fail to properly carry out their duties. However, it’s unclear if the law punishes bishops for not reporting sexual abuse to authorities.
Francis adopted the advisory board in response to criticism received from victims whose sexual abuse was connected to the church. He also wanted to create the commission “to advise the church on best policies to protect children, train church personnel, and keep abusers out of the clergy.” The group plans to make sure that child sexual exploitation is greatly avoided all the while providing leads to the pope.
One member on the panel includes Boston’s archbishop Seán Patrick O’Malley. The 69-year-old is on Francis’ cardinal advisory board, which helps the pope govern the Catholic Church’s central administration. O’Malley also leads his own fight against sexual assault. The cardinal has created an online database that snitches on Boston clergy who are accused of such acts.
Advisor Marie Collins, however, may be one of the most significant members on the commission. In the 1960s, a church priest abused the then 13-year-old. She is now a campaigner against clerical pedophilia within her home country of Ireland.
Archbishop Dublin Diarmuid told The Irish Times that Collins is a “person of great integrity and determination” who is devoted to making sure that every child is protected while under the guidance of the Catholic Church.
Furthermore, the commission will apparently have no official power, but only consulting duties.
A past report about the commission by NewsyWorld:
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