Irish clerical abuse survivor to address key Vatican conference

Irish clerical abuse survivor to address key Vatican conference

Senior Vatican officials will hear first hand of the experiences of Irish abuse victims at a major conference in Rome next week aimed at extending better Church guidelines worldwide to ensure abuse allegations are handled properly.

Marie Collins, who was abused by Dublin priest Fr Paul McGennis, was one of the first people to come forward on how the Church failed to respond properly to her abuse.

She was instrumental in the Government’s decision to set up the Murphy Commission and will speak of her experiences before Church leaders from all over the globe as well as senior Vatican officials such as Cardinal William Levada.

Irish church leaders will also be among the delegates. The Conference of Religious in Ireland (Cori) – which represents more than 9,000 women and men religious – will be represented by Sr Marianne O’Connor.

Representatives from the Irish Bishop’s Conference will also attend, however, a spokesman was not yet in a position to say which bishop or bishops would travel.

The conference aims to build on the work that has been done in countries like Ireland where robust guidelines have been agreed and implemented by the Church.

The Vatican is keen that Church leaders in other countries – particularly in the developing world – will not repeat the mistakes that have been made in mishandling or covering up abuse.

Entitled ‘Towards Healing and Renewal’ the conference will take place from February 5-9.