Vatican: Nuns Are Being Raped And Made As Sex Slaves By Priests

Dialogue with Islam key for peace - pope

Following his acknowledgement of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis should make full use of his powers, theologist and author Doris Reisinger told dpa in Rome on Wednesday.

Pope Francis' journey of to the United Arab Emirates "has written a new page in the history of dialogue between Christianity and Islam and in the commitment to promote peace in the world on the basis of human fraternity". Experts say that dependency has dissuaded mother superiors from taking accusations from their sisters up the chain of command, since the bishop could retaliate against the congregation if he has a greater interest in protecting his priest.

This visit, Pope Francis said, "belongs to God's 'surprises.' Let us praise him and his providence, and let us pray that the seeds sown may bear fruit according to his holy will".

Just days ago the Vatican's women's magazine, Women Church World, condemned the abuse, saying in some cases nuns were forced to abort priests' children - something Catholicism forbids.

The Vatican, for example, launched an investigation past year into a small religious order in Chile after sisters reported some of their fellow nuns had been thrown out of the congregation after they brought their complaints of abuse by priests to their mother superior. Some hope the church will address the issue at the upcoming meeting on the abuse crisis to be convened by Pope Francis from February 21 to 24 in Rome. Last year, the International Union of Superiors General, which represents more than 500,000 Catholic nuns, urged their members to report abuse.

Francis mentioned the case of one order of nuns in particular, in France, in which his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, had tried to take action but was thwarted by Vatican insiders.

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"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 said, as reported by the BBC. Last year, a Kerala nun alleged that Bishop Franco Mulakkal had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. "With the #MeToo movement going strong, and Francis under pressure for neglecting the victims of child abuse, the nuns' pleas have gained traction".

When Pope Francis talked about "sexual slavery" he meant "manipulation, a type of abuse of power also present in sexual abuse", said the Vatican on Tuesday.

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

"I don't want to hear that the church has not got this problem, because it has".

She added: "He was unable to control himself... he had a split personality".

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