Francis admits nun rape scandals

Francis admits nun rape scandals

Pope Francis (pictured) has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops, saying the Catholic Church had “been working on this for some time”.

The pontiff, who was about to leave the United Arab Emirates, is addressing global sexual abuse scandals.

“There have been priests and also bishops who have done that,” Francis said before flying back to Rome. “And I believe that it may still be being done. It’s not a thing that from the moment in which you realise it, it’s over. The thing goes forward like this. We’ve been working on this for a long time.”

He said some clerics had been suspended and some orders of nuns “dissolved”.

Francis said his predecessor from 2005 to 2013, Pope Emeritus Benedict, had been blocked from taking action over one order of nuns in France by Vatican insiders. Benedict was at the time head of the Vatican doctrinal office.

Some of the nuns in France had been reduced to “sexual slavery” at the hands of priests and their founder, it was revealed.

The Argentinian cleric said: “Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a women’s congregation that had a certain level because this slavery of women had entered, even sexual slavery, by clerics or by the founder.”

The pontiff said the mistreatment of women was a problem in society, where females were still considered “second-class citizens”.

In Kerala, a group of nuns who alleged sexual abuse by a bishop say the church is attempting to transfer them elsewhere in India to allegedly silence them.

The women appealed to the chief minister of Kerala after their church ordered them to leave the southern state.

All the nuns who received transfer notices reportedly supported another member of the order who said in 2018 that Bishop Franco Mulakkal had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 at the St Franco Mission.

The 53-year-old bishop was arrested in September.

The Pope made his comments in response to an article in last week’s Vatican monthly magazine about the abuse of nuns in the church.

The publication, Women Church World, said nuns had been forced to abort priests’ children or raise children the priests refused to recognise.

The issue has gained attention amid the sexual abuse of minors and the #MeToo movement that acknowledged adults can be victims of abuse when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship.

Francis has summoned bishops from around the world to a summit later this month at the Vatican to agree on a unified response on how to protect children from clerical sexual abuse.

 

Pope Francis. Picture credit: Flickr

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