Marie Collins

Marie Collins’ determination helped pull down a cover-up by Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese that had gone on for decades.

THE JAILING of Paul McGennis was a further landmark in the campaign over many dark years by Marie Collins. This man had blighted the lives of children. The Murphy commission concluded

“there is no doubt that Collins, in her often lonely campaign to show the archdiocese how it had erred in its handling of child sexual abuse cases, was instrumental in changing the archdiocese’s understanding and handling of these cases . . .”

I’ve given Marie a few digs every now and again in the past because I felt that she was given high profile media attention and those of us who were abused by the Irish political and religious system in all manners of ways for years on end were almost completely sidelined. But now when I look at it objectively I see that she was also fighting a lonely battle with the church and that it can’t have been easy for her at all.

I also took umbrage at the conservative stance that she appeared to take in terms of her religion in spite of all that she had suffered as a thirteen year old at the hands of one of its trusted servants. I am not a mind-reader and should not have jumped to conclusions about her religion without knowing the full facts. She has suffered enough without a survivor of institutional child abuse pointing the finger at her any further. We are coming from the same camp at the end of the day. I had not read the following article in the now defunct  Sunday Tribune where John Downes, News Investigations Correspondent stated: 

Well-known clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins, who has doggedly remained a Catholic in the hope that the church will reform, is considering quitting the church following Pope Benedict’s decision not to accept the resignations of two Dublin auxiliary archbishops.

Describing last week’s revelation as the “final nail in the coffin” of her hope that the church would change, Collins said she has “really gone beyond the point I was at before”.

“When I was clinging on to my Catholic faith with my fingertips in the past, I still had hope. And Diarmuid Martin was a symbol of that. I would definitely see this as the end of any hope that things are going to change,” she said. “So I’m at the point definitely of thinking this is not the church for me. I’m not just saying that for effect. I just can’t see any glimmer of hope, any reason to stay. I’m totally shattered at this point.

“I have always said my Christianity is not in doubt. I am not disillusioned with my faith in God or Christ. But I am just at the point where I’m considering that I don’t need to call myself a Catholic anymore, in a church where clerical power holds sway. My hope of reform coming from within the clerical church is gone.”

Read the rest over at Paddy Doyle’s God Squad here

I do take the view though that the church sees Marie as some kind of safe survivor that it wishes to portray to the world as a tokenism sexual abuse offering. As she appears to be one who will not shake the holy Vatican roof, or blow out St. Peter’s candles with the fierce gust of ill-wind.

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