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Peter Saunders: ‘Vatican abuse commission wants compliant survivors, so I’m unlikely to return’

Peter Saunders said that he was a 'serial boat rocker' (AP)

Abuse survivor Peter Saunders has confirmed that he is unlikely ever to return to the Vatican’s abuse commission.

Saunders, who was placed on indefinite leave from the commission last year, said that he was disappointed that Pope Francis had “never once visited” the commission.

On Monday Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told Crux that Saunders would probably never return to the commission.

In response, Saunders, founder of NAPAC (National Association of People Abused in Childhood), told the Catholic Herald: “When I spoke to Cardinal O’Malley a few weeks ago I said if there was anything I can do to help – I am here. I have apologised for whatever crimes I am deemed to have committed leading to my exclusion, but on the matter of child protection it is not a matter I will ever stay quiet about and I remain saddened that the Pope has never once visited his commission.”

Saunders said that it was unlikely he would be asked to return. He said: “As one commission member said to me the commission doesn’t want ‘angry survivors’. For me that means it wants compliant ones who won’t rock the boat. Sorry. I am a serial boat rocker. It is what led to the establishment of NAPAC, probably the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and ultimately emotional freedom for many thousands of survivors.”

He added: “We are the Church. Officials come and go. Christ is eternal and so is this battle against the evil of abuse.”

Scrutiny of the Vatican’s commission on child abuse has intensified since since the resignation of abuse survivor Marie Collins earlier this month.

Collins, a founding member of the commission, resigned on March 1, referring to “unacceptable” resistance to the commission’s proposals from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

She cited the alleged refusal by the congregation to implement proposals approved by the Pope and to cooperate with the commission.