Two members of Pope Francis’s commission on child protection have clashed over the effectiveness of recent reforms.
The psychiatrist Baroness Hollins said that the Pope’s new procedures for hearing cases against bishops were an important step. But Peter Saunders, the founder of Napac (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood), said Francis had “done little on child abuse”.
The discussion, in the letters page of the Guardian, was prompted by a new book by the journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi, which strongly criticised the Pope’s record on combating child abuse.
Mr Fittipaldi’s book Lussuria (“Lust”) alleged that some clerical abusers had been treated leniently by the Vatican, and the Pope’s commission had only met three or four times.
Baroness Hollins, a former president of the British Medical Association, said that the commission had held eight plenary meetings and several working groups.
She added that the Pope had endorsed the commission’s recommendations, “which will require significant culture change and time to be implemented in practice”, and that much of the responsibility lay with local bishops rather than the Pope.
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