ROME, ITALY (FEBRUARY 14, 2019) (REUTERS) – The editor of a Vatican magazine dealing with women’s issues Women Church World (Donne Chiesa Mondo) said on Thursday (February 14) the treatment of nuns who have endured sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is still archaic.
Lucetta Scaraffia addressed media at Rome’s Foreign Press Club ahead of a Feb. 21-24 meeting at the Vatican with heads of national Catholic churches to discuss the global sexual abuse crisis.
Scaraffia has accused the Vatican of failing to take action on allegations of abuse by nuns.
Many nuns who have become pregnant following abuse have been forced to leave the church or even undergo abortions, Scaraffia said. While the priests who abused nuns are able to continue a normal career.
Pope Francis, whose papacy has been marked by efforts to quell a global crisis over sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, said on the papal flight as he returned from a recent trip to the United Arab Emirates, he was committed to stopping the abuse of nuns by priests and bishops, some of whom had used the women as sex slaves.
“I think that Pope Francis is a very political and wise man, who really understands that women today are a force that can no longer be ignored,” Scaraffia said.
But she said, much work still needed to be done, particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in order to safeguard nuns.
Francis said former Pope Benedict dissolved a religious order of women shortly after his election as pontiff in 2005 “because slavery had become part of it (the religious order), even sexual slavery on the part of priests and the founder”.
He did not name the group but Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said it was a French order.