Well-known clerical abuse survivor Marie Collins, who has doggedly remained a Catholic in the hope that the church will reform, is considering quitting the church following Pope Benedict's decision not to accept the resignations of two Dublin auxiliary archbishops.
Describing last week's revelation as the "final nail in the coffin" of her hope that the church would change, Collins said she has "really gone beyond the point I was at before".
"When I was clinging on to my Catholic faith with my fingertips in the past, I still had hope. And Diarmuid Martin was a symbol of that. I would definitely see this as the end of any hope that things are going to change," she said. "So I'm at the point definitely of thinking this is not the church for me. I'm not just saying that for effect. I just can't see any glimmer of hope, any reason to stay. I'm totally shattered at this point.
"I have always said my Christianity is not in doubt. I am not disillusioned with my faith in God or Christ. But I am just at the point where I'm considering that I don't need to call myself a Catholic anymore, in a church where clerical power holds sway. My hope of reform coming from within the clerical church is gone."
In an interview with the Sunday Tribune, Collins – who was abused as a child by a priest identified in the Murphy report – said the Pope's decision not to accept the resignations of Bishops Raymond Field and Eamonn Walsh meant the "ground has been taken out" from under Dublin Archbishop Martin.
Dr Martin, who is in Italy on annual leave, has refused to comment on the Pope's decision, which he communicated in a letter to priests in his diocese last week.
"I think the worst aspect of the whole thing is that Diarmuid Martin's authority has been undermined," Collins said. "I think he acted correctly in encouraging the resignations of the two auxiliaries not for what they did, but what they did not do."
Along with her fellow abuse survivor Andrew Madden, Collins is due be presented with an "outstanding merit" award at the prestigious Humbert Summer School in Castlebar, Co Mayo, this week.
"We had the letter from the Pope in March, and we were disappointed with that. It had a lot of fine words, but the actions are not living up to those words. And yet you still hang on there, hoping it's going to change. And we had the bishops offer their resignations," she said.
"It would appear that these two others were not sincere, and still believe they did nothing wrong. But if those two had stood up, children would have been stopped from being abused. The fact that the Pope doesn't see that is the final straw for me."
There has been some speculation that the decision to assign both auxiliary bishops "revised responsibilities" was taken by Martin, and was not specifically requested by the Vatican. However, neither the Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza nor Martin would comment when contacted.