Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Pope admits nuns faced 'sex slavery' from abusive priests

Pope Francis blesses worshipers during the weekly general audience on Feb. 6 2019 at Paul-VI hall in the Vatican Pope Francis blesses worshipers during the weekly general audience on Feb. 6 2019 at Paul-VI hall in the Vatican. Andreas Solaro—AFP Getty Images
Jeannette Daniel | 10 February, 2019, 02:21

Pope Francis has acknowledged the suffering of innumerable nuns who were sadistically abused by Catholic priests.

Pope Francis says his pilgrimage this week to the United Arab Emirates wrote a "new page in history of the dialogue between Christianity and Islam" and in promoting world peace based on brotherhood.

Pope Francis pointed to the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity, with His Eminence Dr Ahmad Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, which the Pope said represents another step forward.

"It's not that everyone does this, but there have been priests and bishops who have", Francis said, according to The Associated Press. But it is a path that we already began.

Pope Francis said former pope Benedict dissolved a religious order of women shortly after his election as pontiff in 2005 "because slavery had become part of it (the religious order), even sexual slavery on the part of priests and the founder".

"When the Holy Father, referring to the dissolution of a Congregation, spoke of 'sexual slavery, ' he meant 'manipulation, ' a form of abuse of power which is reflected also in sexual abuse", said Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti.

With the advent of the #MeToo movement, the plight of nuns, who have tried for years to call attention to their situation, has finally been heard. Reportedly, a representative to more than 500,000 Catholic nuns, the International Union of Superiors General, encouraged its members to report abuse.

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"After decades of silence, the nun is one of a handful worldwide to come forward recently on an issue that the Catholic Church has yet to come to terms with: The sexual abuse of religious sisters by priests and bishops".

Last week a Vatican magazine reported on nuns aborting the children of priests And an investigation by the Associated Press past year revealed cases of abuse of nuns in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America - cases in which the Vatican had not sufficiently punished offenders or supported victims. She set up a support group for survivors of clerical abuse.

But that growing attention has yet to improve the lives of the victims. In the article last week in the magazine Women Church World, the editor, Catholic feminist Lucetta Scaraffia, pinned blame for the abuse of women in the church on the culture of clericalism that dominates in the Catholic Church - the same power dynamic that is seen as the main culprit for the continuing revelations of clerical sex abuse of minors around the globe.

He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was "still going on".

After the cardinal became pope, he reopened the investigation and dissolved the order, Pope Francis said.

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. The issue hit the headlines a year ago 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 said the sisters had been reduced to "sexual slavery" at the hands of the Reverend Marie-Dominique Philippe and other priests.

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