A senior Australian Catholic official has warned that Pope Francis may be “backsliding” in his crackdown on paedophile priests in the face of an intransigent Vatican establishment.
Francis Sullivan, who is in charge of the Catholic Church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, said he feared the Vatican’s “bureaucrats and courtiers [were] doing all they can to either undermine the Pope or driving an agenda” of protecting the institution, according to Australian Associated Press (AAP).
In 2014 the Pope ordered a “zero-tolerance” stance on members of the clergy who abused children. Before that the church had been criticised by the UN for the frequency with which allegedly abusive priests were moved to different areas rather than turned over to police.
Mr Sullivan also pointed to the resignation from the Vatican’s child protection commission of campaigner and abuse survivor Marie Collins, who had accused the institution of a “shameful lack of cooperation”, as evidence of a culture of self-preservation, the AAP reported.