Pope appoints Irish woman to Vatican child protection group, which abuse survivor Marie Collins ditched in 2017

Pope Francis has appointed an Irish woman to the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which advises Pope Francis on child protection issues.

Eresa Devlin, executive director of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, is the first Irish appointment to the Pontifical Commission since Irish child abuse victim Marie Collins resigned in 2017.

Ms Collins, who was abused by a Dublin priest in the 1960s, resigned over curial opposition in the Vatican to the commission’s recommendations.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis acknowledged that safeguards to address clergy sex abuse had met opposition within the church, particularly in some developing countries around the world.

Archbishop Eamon Martin welcomed Ms Devlin’s appointment, stressing that the commission will serve as an independent body reporting directly to Pope Francis, who has given her a clear mandate to protect children for the universal church.

He said Pope Francis aspires to appoint people to the commission from around the world who have shown a deep commitment to protecting and developing a broad range of expertise and best practices.

according to dr Martin, the appointment is “an international recognition of the work of the National Board and the significant contribution it has made to assisting the Church in Ireland to put in place robust child protection measures”.

Ms Devlin, who is from Magherafelt in Co Derry, has worked on the National Board since 2009. She took up the position of CEO in January 2015.

“I have worked with Teresa for the past twelve years and am familiar with her determination to support the church in ensuring that the pastoral environment for children is always safe; that all allegations will be promptly reported to the appropriate legal authorities and fully dealt with in accordance with civil and canon law; and that those harmed by abuse will be treated with care and compassion,” the Primate of All Ireland said in a statement on Friday.

He said he is confident that she will bring her extensive experience in developing best practices for protection to the commission and the worldwide church. “I also hope that Teresa’s presence on such an important international body will help bring new insights into safeguarding protection in this country back to Ireland.”

In March of this year, Pope Francis published the Apostolic Constitution Predicate Gospel, which placed the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Department of Doctrine of the Faith of the Dicastery dealing with sexual abuse by clergy.

In April, Irish priest Msgr John Kennedy was appointed the new secretary of the Disciplinary Department of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, overseeing the handling of allegations against clergy.

Following the announcement, Mgr Kennedy told the Irish Independent: “As a product of the Church of Ireland, I have seen the impact this is having [the abuse scandals] on the life of the people, the life of the communities and parishes and how people have lost faith.”

In a 2019 interview with the Associated Press, he said the CDF had seen a “tsunami” of abuse cases from parts of the world that had not previously reported cases.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/pope-appoints-irish-woman-to-vatican-child-protection-body-that-abuse-survivor-marie-collins-quit-in-2017-42029753.html Pope appoints Irish woman to Vatican child protection group, which abuse survivor Marie Collins ditched in 2017

Fry Electronics Team

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