Pope Francis admits for first time that nuns were forced into 'sexual slavery' and even forced abortions
Bob Barney: I remember as a boy in New Milford Ct., my grandfather telling me the place where aborted babies from the nuns were buried. It was common knowledge! This would have been about 1965 that I was told, but the story he told dated back to the 1920's....
“Should we do something more? Yes. Is there the will? Yes. But it’s a path that we have already begun,” Francis said.
Pope Francis has admitted for the first time that priests and bishops sexually abused nuns in the past.
Francis today publicly acknowledged the scandal of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns, and said he is committed to doing more to fight the problem.
Cases of abused nuns have been reported in India, Africa, Europe and South America - evidence that the problem is by no means limited to a certain geographic area.
The issue hit the headlines last year after a nun accused an Indian bishop of repeatedly raping her in a case that triggered rare dissent within the country's Catholic Church.
Francis noted that Pope Benedict XVI had taken action against a French order after some of its religious sisters had been reduced to 'sexual slavery' at the hands of priests or their founder.
The issue has come to the fore amid the Catholic Church’s overall reckoning with the sexual abuse of minors and the #MeToo-inspired acknowledgement that adults can be victims of abuse whenever there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. In the past year, The Associated Press and other media have reported on cases of abused nuns in India , Africa, Europe and South America — evidence that the problem is by no means limited to a certain geographic area.
In November, the organization representing all the world’s female Catholic religious orders, the International Union of Superiors General, publicly denounced the “culture of silence and secrecy” that prevented nuns from speaking out and urged sisters to report abuse to their superiors and police. And just last week, the women’s magazine of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano identified the clerical culture of the all-powerful clergy as the culprit.
The magazine, “Women Church World,” noted that the scandal involves a corollary: nuns being forced to abort the priests’ children or bear children that the priests refuse to recognize.
Francis’ acknowledgement of the problem comes as he prepares to decide the fate of the disgraced American ex-cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of abusing minors as well as adult seminarians. That case also cast a spotlight on the issue of abusive power relationships, and whether the Catholic Church ought to consider seminarians and sisters as “vulnerable adults” when compared to the priests and bishops who control everything from their vocations to their studies and salaries.