The Commission for the Protection of Minors set up by Pope Francis for a term of four years effectively came to the end of its mandated term on Sunday which has not yet been renewed.
Two of the victims of abuse appointed to the Commission, Marie Collins from Ireland resigned sometime ago and Peter Saunders from Britain announced he was stepping down from membership because they considered the Commission was ineffective window dressing.
Sir Humphrey, in the BBC programme 'Yes Prime Minister' suggests the best way to deflect criticism from the government was to set up an independent Commission, which would signal something was being done but actually do nothing, perhaps I am being cynical but this seems to have been precisely what this Commission was set up to do.
Pope Benedict rested responsibility for dealing with sexual abuse from the Secretariate of State to the CDF when he was Prefect, because the Secretariate was not merely doing nothing but was actually sheltering and even promoting sexual abusers such as Marcel Maciel, and defending those who abused like Cardinal Daneels and finding sinecures for those like Cardinal Law of Boston who died this morning. One of Benedict's first moves as Pope was to dismiss Maciel from the Legionnaries of Christ and to set in place their reform and investigate the depths of his abuse.
As his Friday penance even after he became Pope, Benedict, apparently often in tears, would deal with abuse charges against priests, a huge number he laicised, a large number where no prosecution was possible he sent to end their days in prayer and penance, far away from public ministry.
Pope Francis' hagan lio papacy has sent out very mixed messages on the Protection of Minors which seems to have been signified by the closeness of Cdl Daneels to him on the Loggia after his election and his prominence at the Synod on the Family
The restoration of Fr Inzoli to ministry following requests for intervention by Cdl Coccopalmerio and Abp Pinto became a major scandal in Italy after he was brought to trial and convicted. Francis appointed Bishop Juan Barros to the Diocese of Osorno, Chile despite widespread accusation of covering up abuse by a close friend, Francis accused those who compained about his appoitment as anti-Church leftists!
Apart from Cdl Daneels, Cdl Rodríguez Maradiaga, the head of the Pope's advisory Council of Nine Cardinals for Vatican reform, simply dismissed the abuse crisis as an international Jewish media conspiracy.
Although I personally I think he has been set-up, Cdl Pell's proximity to the Pope while he is being accused of covering up abuse in Australia hardly does the Pope's record much good in many parts of the world, Italy especially and Oceania.
Even Paul Vallely Pope Francis biography "Untying the Knots" which lauded the Pope, wrote this early last year:
At its first meeting in May 2014, the commission’s president, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston – the man who cleaned up the mess exposed by Spotlight – startled its members by revealing that establishing the group had run into more opposition inside the Vatican than any other papal reforms, apart from the overhaul of Vatican finances.
Over the following two years the anti-abuse commission has seen attempt after attempt to undermine it. Key Vatican departments vied to take control of the body. Its decision to set up offices outside the Vatican was countermanded. Bureaucrats tried to subvert its attempt to write its own statutes. It was starved of finance.
Its press releases were doctored and diluted ....
Does the Pope really care about the abuse of minors?