Pope Francis kisses the hand of a child during the weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Vatican clarifies pope on issue of ‘sexual slavery’ of nuns

Pope was referring to abuse of power, church says

The Vatican on Wednesday clarified comments by Pope Francis about a case of what he called “sexual slavery” within a French congregation of nuns, saying he was referring to an abuse of power that was reflected in instances of sexual abuse.

Francis cited the case when responding to a question about the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy during a press conference Tuesday returning home from the United Arab Emirates. It was the pope’s first-ever public acknowledgment of the problem of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns. He stressed that the Vatican had been confronting the issue for some time and vowed to do more.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Wednesday Francis “spoke of ‘sexual slavery’ to mean ‘manipulation’ or a type of abuse of power that is reflected in a sexual abuse.”

The Community of St. Jean admitted in 2013 that its late founder had behaved “in ways that went against chastity” with women in the order, according to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix. The Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI ultimately dissolved an offshoot of the congregation.

The issue has come to the fore amid the Catholic Church’s overall reckoning with the sexual abuse of minors and the #MeToo-inspired acknowledgement that adults can be victims of abuse whenever there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. In the past year, The Associated Press and other media have reported on cases of abused nuns in India , Africa, Europe and South America — evidence that the problem is by no means limited to a certain geographic area.

READ MORE: Vatican defends pope against ‘blasphemous’ coverup claims

In November, the organization representing all the world’s female Catholic religious orders, the International Union of Superiors General, publicly denounced the “culture of silence and secrecy” that prevented nuns from speaking out and urged sisters to report abuse to their superiors and police. 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.

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.

Francis’ acknowledgement of the problem comes as he prepares to decide the fate of the disgraced American ex-cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of abusing minors as well as adult seminarians.

The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton victim in Kamloops shooting may be a case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

Vernon set to fill the stands for Special Olympics

BC Winter Games opening ceremony and events ready to shine

Vernon Vortex speed skater wins Canada Games bronze

Laura Hall helps B.C. finish third in team pursuit; Vernon biathlete cracks top-10

Third set of Vernon Chamber finalists unveiled

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce recognizes the Top 20 Under 40 professionals

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

A Mother’s Wish: Ryan Shtuka’s mother wants her son to be ‘forever known’

‍‍‍‍‍“Let me tell you a story …. it all began with a boy named Ryan”

B.C. high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

The Surrey team was also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Letter: United We Roll a working-class protest

The United We Roll movement makes me proud to be a Canadian.… Continue reading

Vernon falls to Kelowna on the road

Ringette action sees U12 Okanagan rivals face to face

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Fundraiser started for Kelowna foreign aid worker trapped in Haiti

Laura Allan can’t return home due to civil unrest in the Caribbean country

Former Shuswap teacher remembered for staying true to beliefs

Celebration of life for Dr. Richard Zigler taking place Saturday, Feb. 23

Most Read