The sisters are going public in part because of years of inaction by church leaders, even after major studies on the problem in Africa were reported to the Vatican in the s. Some nuns are now finding their voices, buoyed by the MeToo movement and the growing recognition that adults can be victims of sexual abuse when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. The scandal got so bad that in May, Francis summoned all Chilean bishops to Rome, where they all offered to resign en masse. The sexual abuse of religious sisters by priests and bishops. Pope Francis accepts resignation of U. The case, exposed by the Chilean state broadcaster, involves accusations of priests fondling and kissing nuns, including while naked, and some religious sisters sexually abusing younger ones.
A nun in India recently filed a formal police complaint accusing a bishop of rape, something that would have been unthinkable even a year ago. And the sister in Europe spoke to the AP to help bring the issue to light. The sisters are going public in part because of years of inaction by church leaders, even after major studies on the problem in Africa were reported to the Vatican in the s. In , the late Sr. At a certain point, she said, the priest got up from his chair and forced himself on her. Novices, who are just entering religious life, are particularly vulnerable because they often need a letter from their parish priest to be accepted into certain religious congregations. It was a reference to the fact that the Catholic Church has no clear measures in place to investigate and punish bishops who themselves abuse or allow abusers to remain in their ranks — a legal loophole that has recently been highlighted by the McCarrick case. The problem travelled when the sisters were sent to Rome for studies. Pope meets with priests who were sexually abused by notorious Chilean preacher The Vatican is well aware that religious sisters have long been particularly vulnerable to abuse. Once word got out, the Vatican poured the full force of its Inquisition to investigate and punish. In India, a sister of the Missionaries of Jesus filed a police report last month alleging a bishop raped her in May during a visit to the heavily Christian state of Kerala, and that he subsequently sexually abused her around a dozen more times over the following two years, Indian media have reported. The victims said they told their mother superior, but that she did nothing. She later said the combination of his death and her decision to speak out lifted a great weight. There can also be a price for blowing the whistle on the problem. Vatican treasurer faces historical abuse trial In , a priest sued a bishop in western Uganda who had suspended him and ordered him to stop interacting with at least four nuns. She recalled exactly how she and the priest were seated in two armchairs face-to-face in the university classroom, her eyes cast to the floor. The sexual abuse of religious sisters by priests and bishops. Church leaders are reluctant to acknowledge that some priests and bishops simply ignore their vows of celibacy, knowing that their secrets will be kept. Petite but not frail, she was so shocked, she said, that she grabbed him by the shoulders and with all her strength, stood up and pushed him back into his chair. But the assault — and a subsequent advance by a different priest a year later — eventually led her to stop going to confession with any priest other than her spiritual father, who lives in a different country. It remains to be seen what the Vatican will do now that more sisters are speaking out. A Vatican official said it is up to local church leaders to sanction priests who sexually abuse sisters, but that often such crimes go unpunished both in civil and canonical courts. Pope Francis accepts resignation of U. However, this week, about half a dozen sisters in a small religious congregation in Chile went public on national television with their stories of abuse by priests and other nuns — and how their superiors did nothing to stop it. The issue has flared in the wake of scandals over the sexual abuse of children, and recently of adults, including revelations that one of the most prominent American cardinals, Theodore McCarrick, sexually abused and harassed his seminarians. The bishop denied the accusation and said the woman was retaliating against him for having taken disciplinary action against her for her own sexual misdeeds. The nun continued with her confession that day.
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