World Media

Pope Francis Admits Priests And Bishops Sexually Abused Nuns

ME TOO More nuns have been coming forward since the #MeToo movement

Pope Francis said that his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, dissolved a religious order because of the rampant sexual abuse that is happening inside the organization.

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Last November, the organisation representing the world's Catholic women's religious orders, the International Union of Superiors General, publicly denounced the "culture of silence and secrecy" that contributed to abuse, and urged nuns to report abuse to law enforcement.

Francis said Benedict acted "because a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder". "'I think it is still going on because something does not stop just because you have become aware of it, ' he added".

The magazine said the #MeToo movement meant more women were now coming forward with their stories.

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". The case caused a firestorm of protests on behalf of the nun and her fellow sisters, as well as backlash against the nun from within the church, underscoring the risks nuns face in reporting any abuse they suffer. 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.

The congregation of nuns dissolved under Benedict was the Sisters Mariales d'Israel, a spokesman for the parent order said.

Having considered the holiness of St Paul VI and the influence of his ministry for the Church worldwide, Pope Francis has approved putting the saint on the Church's universal calendar of feast days as an optional - not obligatory - memorial.

In Chile, reports of abuse of nuns carried out by priests led the Vatican to launch an investigation previous year.

It said Pope Francis "considered this pope's holiness of life, witnessed to by his works and words" and took into account "the great influence of his apostolic ministry for the Church throughout the whole world".

"'It is true. there have been priests and even bishops who have done this, ' said Francis as quoted by Reuters". Last year, a Kerala nun alleged that Bishop Franco Mulakkal had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

She said the issue was abusive power relationships, with clerics controlling everything from nuns' vocations to their salaries.

Pope Francis' admission of the problem was "the umpteenth blow to the Church's image, but also an occasion to show that change really is under way", Ms Lucetta Scaraffia said.