Pope Francis, for the first time, acknowledged the ongoing sexual abuse of nuns by priests, even going as far as to describe women being held in sexual slavery.
The pope, who just four months ago admitted that people are fleeing the Catholic Church due to the child sex abuse scandal, reportedly made the disclosure during a trip to the Middle East. He said the Church was aware of priests sexually abusing nuns, and that it is “still going on.”
Pope Francis has admitted that clerics have sexually abused nuns, and in one case they were kept as sex slaves.
He said in that case his predecessor, Pope Benedict, was forced to shut down an entire congregation of nuns who were being abused by priests.
It is thought to be the first time that Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by the clergy.
He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was “still going on”.
It’s good that Pope Francis is finally noticing and addressing this controversy. It means that some of the resistance to change will be weakened, and it will hopefully prevent such abuses from occurring, at least at the same rates, ever again.
However, we also have to acknowledge that these stories aren’t new to anyone who’s been listening to the Church’s victims. Until now, they’ve been getting nothing but silence from Catholic leaders. It’s likely that the only reason he’s even mentioning this right now is the ongoing scandal in India, where several nuns have openly accused priests of rape and abuse.
But if you are concerned by this revelation, then worry no more because the pope is “working on it.”
He admitted that priests and bishops had abused nuns, but said the Church was aware of the issue and “working on it”.
“It’s a path that we’ve been on,” he said.
“Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a female congregation which was at a certain level, because this slavery of women had entered it — slavery, even to the point of sexual slavery — on the part of clerics or the founder…”
Pope Francis said sexual abuse of nuns was an ongoing problem but happened largely in “certain congregations, predominantly new ones”.
If this is a path the Church has been on before, then choose a different route. It’s hardly inspiring that the Church is “working on” something that should have been shut down the moment it was discovered. Their decades-long hesitation has led to the rampant sexual abuse of women and children. The only reason the Church is finally acknowledging the problem and making any effort to prevent more abuse is because of all the public pressure and condemnation in their direction.
The faster people leave the Church, the faster Church leaders will be forced to do something meaningful.
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