Sexual abuse survivor Peter Saunders has resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, set up by Pope Francis to make recommendations on the Church’s role in child protection.
“I’m disappointed that the commission didn’t do what I thought it was set up to achieve,” Mr Saunders told The Tablet. “And there is still a huge amount of work that needs to be done.”
The commission only has an advisory role and does not comment on current cases of abuse.
“There was a bit of a misunderstanding about the commission’s role,” said Mr Saunders, who wanted it to have a more active role. “But I thought the Pope was serious about kicking backsides and holding people to account. I believe the Church deserves better on this.”
Mr Saunders was given “leave of absence” from the commission in February 2016 following friction with other members.
Fellow abuse survivor Marie Collins, who left the commission in March citing frustration with some officials in the Curia, tweeted about Mr Saunders’s resignation on Wednesday: “Strange timing as the term of office of all current members of the Commission ends in four days time 17th December anyway. Good luck for the future Pete.”
This leaves the commission without any representation from sexual abuse survivors. It has been suggested that they should instead comprise a separate advisory panel.