Pope Francis names O’Malley, woman sex abuse victim to special anti-abuse panel

Pope Francis names O’Malley, woman sex abuse victim to special anti-abuse panel March 22, 2014

From John Allen in The Boston Globe

Pope Francis today named Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and seven other figures with reputations as reformers to guide a new Vatican anti-abuse commission, a move intended to demonstrate resolve about confronting the child sexual abuse scandals that have rocked Catholicism.

O’Malley, already the lone American on the pope’s “G8” council of cardinal advisers, is also the lone American among the commission members announced today. O’Malley’s new responsibility is not a full-time position, meaning he will not move to Rome and will continue to serve as the Archbishop of Boston.

The lineup for the new “Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors” includes Irish lay woman Marie Collins, who has said she was raped at the age of 13 by a hospital chaplain. When she tried to report the abuse years later, she has said, she was told by church officials that “protecting the good name” of the priest was more important than remedying a “historical” wrong.

Collins has acquired an international reputation as a campaigner for the rights of abuse victims.

The pope tapped three clergy and five laity, including four women. The members come from eight different countries, with seven from Europe or the United States.

In announcing the appointments, a Vatican spokesman said they reflect the late Pope John Paul II’s statement that “there is no place in the priesthood or religious life for those who would harm the young.”

In a sign of personal interest, Pope Francis also named a fellow Argentinian and Jesuit priest, the Rev. Humberto Miguel Yáñez, who was received by the future pope into the Jesuit order in 1975 and who studied under him at an Argentine Jesuit college.

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