Marie Collins on Bringing Change to the Catholic Church

As new allegations of priests’ abuse against Catholic nuns surface, Marie Collins, a former member of the Vatican Commission for Protection of Minors, and herself a survivor, discusses how to bring lasting change to the church.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I wonder just your commentary on what you expect to come out of this conference after these, you know, gathering of cardinals and bishops.

COLLINS: Well, I think, as you said earlier, the pope has been playing down expectations for this meeting. But that’s not enough. We’ve had a lot of talk about what needs to be done, what should be done. Cardinal Cupich there said, “This is what should happen.” And we actually need to see now is something you put into action, concrete things being put in place. My expectation is that is not what we would see coming out of this meeting. What we will see is a lot of resolve will be told of the bishops from around the world now gather that they understand that abuse is a serious problem and they must look at it. But what we won’t see is a timeline for action. As Cardinal Cupich there said, in countries where really strong safeguarding policies have been put in place. In America, really strong, very clear safeguarding policy has been put in place. And as he said, abuse has dropped dramatically. It has worked. Why has the church, seeing that, not put it in every other country?

AMANPOUR: Well, why do you think that is then, Marie Collins? Why not if it does actually work?

COLLINS: There is so much resistance, particularly the attitude that every country and the bishops in every country have to have authority and power over their own area. Subsidiarity is what they call it. The pope particularly does not like making rules from the top. He likes to see things being done by the bishops in their own countries, but that doesn’t work. You can’t just leave it up to the will of the individual, it has to be something that comes from the experience of the entire church. And I know earlier you said like the abuse, child abuse, was mostly in the church now historically. But sadly, that only applies in countries like America, Ireland, Australia, where we’ve had these huge upheavals. In many other countries around the world, children are being abused by members of the church this very minute, and nothing is being done to stop it. And that is what is frustrating for somebody like myself who have been campaigning for 20 years.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, and Marie Collins, a former member of the Vatican Commission for Protection of Minors, about the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis. Alicia Menendez speaks with Gloria Calderón Kellett about inclusivity in media and the show “One Day at a Time,” of which she is the executive producer.