The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children has announced member Peter Saunders will take a leave of absence from his work with the commission.
“Today’s meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors discussed the direction and purpose of the Commission,” read a Feb. 6 press release from the Commission. “As the result of this discussion, it was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the Commission’s work.”
Saunders is founder of the U.K.’s National Association for People Abused in Childhood, which focuses on abuse prevention and support for abuse survivors.
A survivor of priestly sexual abuse, Saunders had been a member of the Commission for the Protection of Children since December 2014. He reportedly became increasingly critical of the Commission's process of reforming the Church's abuse protocol.
In a statement Saturday, Commission President Cardinal Sean O’Malley confirmed Saunders “has been asked to advise the Commission on the possible establishment of a victim survivor panel to work with the Commission.”
A Vatican official who requested anonymity told journalists the panel will likely be modeled after a similar panel established for Saunder’s U.K. organization.
Saunders was one of 17 members of the Commission, which Pope Francis founded to address the abuse crisis. The Commission is meeting in Rome this weekend.