Pope Francis confirms priests' abuse of nuns included "sexual slavery"

Pope Francis speaks to reporters aboard a plane on his way to Abu Dhabi

Pope Francis speaks to reporters aboard a plane on his way to Abu Dhabi

Francis may have reignited those calls with his admission Tuesday to reporters that he is aware of the scandal of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns. Do we have to do more? Yes.

"Pray that this goes forward", he said of the Vatican efforts to fight it.

"Asked if any universal norms might be in the works to tackle the problem - as has been done to handle cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors - Francis implied that the priestly abuse of nuns was still being dealt with on a case-by-case basis", the AP reported.

Pope Francis told journalist was answering questions on the return flight from his trip to the United Arab Emirates.

"It's not that everyone does this, but there have been priests and bishops who have", Francis added.

"It's a path we've been on", Pope Francis said.

In 2018, an investigative report from Chilean national TV unearthed allegations from at least six current and former nuns who have claimed that fellow nuns were dismissed from the order after making public allegations of sexual abuse. 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.

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Last week, Women Church World - the Vatican's women's magazine - denounced the sex abuse and said that in some cases sisters were required to abort priests' unborn babies that were born as a result of rape.

Then-cardinal Ratzinger wanted to investigate the religious order where women were being abused but he was blocked, Francis said, without saying who prevented the probe.

"It's a cultural problem".

Francis spoke to reporters on the heels of celebrating a historic mass in the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam, on a flight from Abu Dhabi to Rome. "Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a female congregation which was at a certain level, because this slavery of women had entered it - slavery, even to the point of sexual slavery - on the part of clerics or the founder", the pope conceded.

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.

"There are cases, usually in new congregations and in some regions more than others", he said.

"I don´t want to hear it said that the Church has not got this problem, because it has".

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