Pope Francis admits priests abused nuns and used them as 'sex slaves'

Erika Holt
February 10, 2019

Pope Francis said the Roman Catholic Church has faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops, the first time he has publicly acknowledged the issue.

Pope Francis finally acknowledge for the first time that sexual assaults are happening within the rank of the church. The pope's comments come two weeks before he hosts a gathering of bishops to craft a global response to the long-running scandal of paedophile priests who have targeted children and the church superiors who have covered up their crimes.

"It's not that everyone does this, but there have been priests and bishops who have", he explained, adding, "it's not as though the moment you become aware of something it goes away".

"We have been working on this for a long time".

POGGIOLI: Francis pointed to his predecessor, whom he called a strong man. "They fear retaliation against them and their congregations", Scaraffia said. He also noted that 800 years after St. Francis of Assisi's visit to Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil, providence wanted "a pope named Francis" to fulfill this visit. Do we have to do more? Yes. Is there the will? Yes.

The LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the USA, said it was grateful Francis had "shed light on a reality that has been largely hidden from the public and we believe his honesty is an important and significant step forward".

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In a separate case in India previous year, a bishop was arrested over allegations that he raped a nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

Pope Francis said sexual abuse of nuns was likely to be an ongoing problem in "new" congregations. Phillipe died in 2006. Reports of such abuse are known to have been made from Chile to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, India, Kenya, Peru and Ukraine. Francis told reporters in Italian during the plane ride home on Tuesday. "We are working on it".

3-5 visit to Abu Dhabi, the pope said during his weekly general audience February 6 that the joint document signed by him and Egyptian Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar and chair of the Muslim Council of Elders, was a step forward in promoting dialogue and brotherhood. "I want it to go forward". Last year, the International Union of Superiors General, which represents more than 500,000 Catholic nuns, urged their members to report abuse.

"We condemn those who support the culture of silence and secrecy, often under the guise of "protection" of an institution's reputation ..." the statement said.

POGGIOLI: Just last month, a top official in the Vatican doctrinal office that handles allegations of clerical sex abuse resigned after a former nun accused him of making sexual advances during confession.

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