Fr. Hans Zollner Resigns from Pontifical Commission
According to reports, one of the Vatican’s top officials in charge of handling the ongoing clergy abuse crisis has abruptly resigned his post. To us, this is yet another signal that anyone waiting for change to come from within the Catholic Church itself will be waiting for a very long time.
In his resignation letter, Fr. Hans Zollner called out failures of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, specifically in the areas of “responsibility, compliance, accountability and transparency.” No one who has been following the abuse scandal within the Church would be surprised by this as these are the same failures that survivors and advocates have been calling out for decades. The fact that a priest within the Vatican itself is now recognizing those failures first hand is more of an example of Vatican officials’ slow learning curve than it is some shocking revelation.
Transparency in particular has been a key sticking point for years. The fact that the Pope’s recent motu proprio, Vos estis lux mundi, was allowed to expire without some sort of report into completed Vos estisinvestigations is but one example of how the “reforms” instituted by Pope Francis have fallen short of the mark. Fr. Zollner’s resignation just adds fuel to that fire.
Church officials will attempt to wave away Fr. Zollner’s resignation as some sort of political or administrative spat. The reality is, regardless of the motivations, the fact that this already-impotent Commission has now lost its remaining founding member deals a serious blow to attempts to take the Commission or its work seriously.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)