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Pope acknowledges clergy sexual abuse of nuns

by Kent Covington
Posted 2/06/19, 11:05 am

Pope Francis on Tuesday for the first time publicly acknowledged that clergy have sexually abused nuns. “There have been priests and bishops who have” committed acts of sexual abuse, the pope said during a news conference aboard the papal plane on his return from the United Arab Emirates. “Should we do something more? Yes. Is there the will? Yes. But it’s a path that we have already begun.”

Francis specifically mentioned a branch of a religious order in France, ultimately dissolved by Pope Benedict XVI, that admitted in 2013 that the head of the order and other priests had behaved in “ways that went against chastity” with women under their authority. Francis called the situation “sexual slavery,” which Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti on Wednesday clarified meant “‘manipulation’ or a type of abuse of power that is reflected in a sexual abuse.”

The acknowledgment comes just two weeks before Francis hosts an unprecedented gathering of bishops to come up with a global response to the scandal of predator priests who targeted children and the superiors who covered up their crimes.

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