If the Vatican thought that getting NAPAC’s Peter Saunders to join their task force against child abusing priests was going to mollify him then they’ve made a huge mistake. Peter Saunders is a honest and uncompromising man who will fight for survivors all the way.
If on the other hand the Vatican genuinely want to deal with this issue, then they can pick no better person than Peter Saunders to help them in that task.
A leading British anti-paedophile campaigner invited to join Pope Francis’s task force against rapist priests has demanded “the vipers” be cast out of the Vatican and has linked priestly abuse to vows of celibacy.
“I am not a safe bet,” Peter Saunders said before the first full meeting of the papal commission on Saturday. “If this isn’t serious, I’ll be gone.”
Mr Saunders, who founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood after he was abused by two priests and the headmaster at his Catholic school in London, was asked to join the Vatican task force following a meeting with Francis last year.
Leading his list of demands is the release by the Vatican of all information it has on the scores of priests who have abused children.
“The Holy Father is a supreme monarch and bishops around the world are answerable to him,” he said. “If he says ‘boys, you must release all documents,’ I don’t see how they can argue with that.”
“This is one of the things I will be saying before they throw me out,” he joked.
Mr Saunders also said he would insist on mandatory reporting by bishops to civil authorities of abusive priests, who are often quietly transferred to distant dioceses. “The church must say we will cast these vipers out,” he said, adding that when priests abuse children, there is “an added dimension of evilness”.