Joshua J. McElwee | May. 13, 2017
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM PORTUGAL Pope Francis has said he will focus in his upcoming meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on finding even little openings where the two might have common interests and can work together.
In a half-hour press conference aboard the papal flight from Portugal Saturday, May 13, the pontiff also praised clergy abuse survivor Marie Collins. He said Collins, who resigned from the papal sexual abuse commission in March, was "right" in critiquing Vatican officials' resistance in fighting abuse. ...
Marie Collins 'right' and 'capable'
On clergy abuse, the pope was asked about Marie Collins' resignation from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Collins, a survivor of abuse, left the group in March due to frustration with Vatican officials' reluctance to cooperate with its work to protect children.
Francis said he has spoken to Collins and she was "right" in the frustration she expressed at the time of her resignation.
"Marie Collins has explained things to me very well," said the pontiff. "She is a capable woman who wants to work."
"She is a bit right," the pope continued. "There are many cases in which we are behind."
But Francis also praised steps the global church has taken in recent years to protect children. He cited the fact that most dioceses around the world now have policies in place about how to treat priests accused of abuse, calling that "great progress."
The pontiff suggested that the Vatican could decentralize some of its authority to judge priests accused of abuse by creating regional or continental tribunals, saying implementing such an idea is "in the planning stages."
Francis also said he respects all decisions made by Vatican tribunals about priests accused of abuse and has never issued a pardon for a priest found guilty, known in Italian as issuing a letter of grazia.
"I have never signed a grazia," the pontiff said bluntly.