Pope Francis admits nuns reduced to 'sexual slavery' by priests

Pope Francis admits nuns reduced to 'sexual slavery' by priests

For the first time, Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops as a "problem" in the Catholic Church, saying that "we've been working on this for some time".

The Pontiff spoke with reporters aboard the Papal plane en route to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where he is due to become the first Pope to visit that nation's increasing Catholic population made up mostly of guest workers from the Philippines and from India.

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.

Responding to questions regarding allegations of rape by priests and bishops, Pope Francis also said that in one case nuns were kept as sex slaves.

Speaking to reporters while on a historic tour of the Middle East on Tuesday, the pontiff admitted that the Church had an issue, the roots of which lie in "seeing women as second class".

"It is true. there have been priests and even bishops who have done this".

"And I think that it's continuing because it's not like once you realise it that it stops". Pope Francis said the problems have dragged on a long time, and that some are still ongoing. At the time, Benedict was a cardinal and head of the Vatican's doctrinal office.

The Community of St. Jean admitted in 2013 that Philippe had behaved "in ways that went against chastity" with several women in the order, according to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix. It is also likely to be discussed at the forthcoming summit on abuse in the Vatican on 21-24 February.

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The Associated Press also previously reported that the Vatican was well aware of the existence of sexual misconduct against nuns at the hands of priests but has done nothing to end it.

The issue hit the headlines previous year after an Indian nun accused a bishop of repeatedly raping her in a case that triggered rare dissent within the country's Catholic Church.

Asked if there would be some kind of similar action to confront abuse of nuns in the Church, he said: "I want to move forward".

The Vatican newspaper's women's magazine, L'Osservatore Romano, last week blamed the all-male clergy for the crisis.

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.

"It's a path that we've been on", he said. Pray that this goes forward.

In a separate case in India a year ago, a bishop was arrested over allegations that he raped a nun 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

"Sometimes the founder takes away, or empties the freedom of the sisters".

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