Pope Says Nuns Used As 'Sex Slaves' By Priests

Pope admits priests, bishops sexually abused nuns

Pope Francis has for the first time publicly acknowledged that priests and bishops sexually abused nuns, the latest scandal to hit the Roman Catholic Church.

Last week, Lucetta Scaraffia, editor in chief of Women Church World - the women's magazine of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano - wrote: "The abuse of women results in procreation and so is at the origin of the scandal of imposed abortions and children not recognised by priests".

The Pope added that the Vatican was in the process of shutting down a female religious order because of sexual abuse and corruption, although he did not name it.

"Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a women's congregation that had a certain level because this slavery of women had entered, even sexual slavery, by clerics or by the founder", the Pope said.

A January meeting of USA bishops came and went without any discussion of the sexual abuse problem dogging the Church.

Reports say that Francis is under pressure for neglecting the victims of child abuse but the nuns' appeals have gained prominence thanks to the #MeToo movement.

"I think it's still going on, because it's not something that just goes away like that".

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"It is a problem we have been working on for some time now". "Pray that we can go forward, I want to go forward", he said. 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.

Over the summer, Archibishop Carlo Maria Vigano accused Pope Francis of knowing about McCarrick's transgressions and rehabilitating his image within the Vatican heirarchy, even promoting McCarrick to the position of senior advisor to the Pope, upending longstanding restrictions placed against McCarrick by Pope Francis's predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis arrives to speak to reporters aboard a plane on the way to Abu Dhabi on 3 February 2019.

The Argentine pontiff also alluded to an ongoing investigation into another community, without naming it, but which is believed to be the Community of St. Jean in France.

The pontiff's move to lower expectations was likely a disappointment to many Catholics, particularly in the USA where the a year ago has seen a string of revelations about senior church leaders covering up abuse.

Asked whether he would take a similarly broad approach to tackling the abuse of nuns, Francis signaled that he would.

He said the Church has "suspended several clerics" and the Vatican has been "working (on the issue) for a long time". After greeting the faithful and addressing an Easter message to them, Pope Francis named countries for whom "today we implore fruits of peace".

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