Pope Renews and Reshapes Child Abuse Commission

The headline from NCR stresses that Pope Francis failed to reappoint six members of the commission. Pope Francis dropped the most active members of his commission, and failed to appoint any known abuse victims. NCR is critical of the changes:

Six former members of the commission were not reappointed by Francis, including some of the best known figures in the group, such as: French psychotherapist Catherine Bonnet, British Baroness Sheila Hollins, New Zealand church official Bill Kilgallon, and religious congregation advisor Krysten Winter-Green.


Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from the commission in frustration last March, told NCR some of those not reappointed were among the group's most active members. She said three were leaders of the commission's six working groups.


"I'm shocked at the discarding of some of the most active and independent members of the commission," said Collins. "Some of those who have gone were really the most active and had the most experience of working in child protection and working directly with survivors."

NCR provided a telling detail about the nine new members: “While none of the members of the commission are publicly known as abuse survivors, the group said in a statement that some of them are survivors who have yet to publicly identify themselves.” If this is true, they were effectively collaborators in covering up the abuse. Chances are, they not only failed to provide information about their own abuse, but also that of others. If Pope Francis is interested in furthering justice and preventing abuse, these are about the last people he would appoint. If he is primarily interested in papering over the problem, as the Church has always done, he probably chose well.