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Papal praise and Vatican improvements are both welcome – Marie Collins

Marie Collins

Campaigner Marie Collins has welcomed praise for her from Pope Francis as support for her work and her reasons about stepping down from the Vatican child protection commission earlier this year.

“It was nice to hear the Pope’s comments about myself, and it is I suppose a validation of the work I’ve done and the things I’ve said,” she told The Irish Catholic, continuing, “He obviously, from what he said, doesn’t see me as a negative critic, which is good.” 

Mrs Collins’ resignation from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors was announced in February, with her citing frustration with Vatican bureaucrats she believed were obstructing the commission’s work. 

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The Pontiff’s comments came during a press conference on his flight back from Fatima last weekend, when he was asked who was responsible for failures to implement proposals he had backed, and what he was doing to ensure the commission’s proposals were carried out.

In answering, Pope Francis described Mrs Collins as “a good woman” who “wants to work” and “continues to work on the formation of priests on this point”, before saying that “she had some reasons” for her frustration. 

Pointing to how the disciplinary section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is struggling with a back-up of 2,000 cases, the Pope said that CDF head Cardinal Gerhard Müller had just days earlier taken on extra staff, and is seeking more. 

He also praised Dubliner Msgr John Kennedy, the new head of the disciplinary section, for having brought a new efficiency to the task. 

“The director of the disciplinary office has changed, he was good, he was very good, but he was a bit tired: he returned to his homeland to do the same job with his bishop,” he said, continuing, “And the new one – is an Irishman, Msgr Kennedy – is very good, very efficient – a prompt person, and that helps a lot.”

Welcoming the Pope’s comments on how things have changed since Msgr Kennedy took over, Mrs Collins said: “I think things have improved in the last few weeks and that things have speeded up, and that’s an obvious sign that the change in leadership there with Msgr Kennedy coming in has made a difference.”