Pope Francis names Juan Carlos Cruz, prominent abuse survivor and whistleblower, to Vatican panel

Juan Carlos Cruz Vatican

: Pope Francis names Juan Carlos Cruz, prominent abuse survivor and whistleblower, to Vatican panel
Author: Gerard O’Connell
Publisher: America Magazine
Date: 24MAR2021

In a highly significant decision, Pope Francis has appointed Juan Carlos Cruz—a well-known Chilean victim of abuse, international advocate for survivors of clerical abuse and a gay man—as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Protection of Minors.

On Twitter, Mr. Cruz responded to the news, saying: “I am very grateful to Pope Francis @Pontifex for trusting me with this appointment. I deeply appreciate it. This renews my commitment to continue working to end the scourge of abuse and for so many survivors who still do not have justice.”

Mr. Cruz is not the first survivor to be a member of the commission. When the pope set up this body in December 2013, he appointed survivors, the best known of whom was Marie Collins of Ireland. The pope had praised Ms. Collins for her contributions to the panel, but in 2017 she resigned from the body, citing resistance to the group’s recommendations for reform from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The pope has emphasized the importance of having survivors on the commission, which is tasked with providing him with advice and making proposals on the best ways for the church to protect minors and vulnerable people in all its institutions.

But his nomination of Juan Carlos Cruz goes further, as Mr. Cruz is also a gay man who became internationally known for conducting an up-hill battle for justice for survivors. When Mr. Cruz, along with two other Chilean abuse victims—James Hamilton and Andrés Murillo—went public with allegations of abuse against the much-respected, charismatic Chilean priest Fernando Karadima they were disregarded and dismissed by the leadership of the Chilean church.

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