Pope Francis Confirms Nuns Abused by Priests, Some Held in “Sexual Slavery”

The leader of the Catholic faith said the Church is "working on it."

Abused Catholic nuns
Pope Francis admitted Tuesday that nuns are being sexually abused by Catholic priests. (Andreas SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis has acknowledged that many nuns have and still are suffering sexual abuses at the hands of Catholic priests and bishops, with some being held against their will in instances of sexual slavery.

The scope of the abuse of nuns by clergy members first came to light with the publication at the beginning of February of the monthly magazine “Women Church World,” CBS News reported. It was confirmed by the Pope on Tuesday.

The publication included Francis’ own take on the scandal — long known about by the Vatican but virtually never discussed — in which he blamed the unchecked power wielded by priests and higher clergy across the Catholic Church for such crimes, according to CBS.

“It’s a path that we’ve been on,” Francis said, “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 to an Associate Press reporter on Tuesday.

A papal spokesperson confirmed later to CBS News that the order of nuns dissolved under Benedict was the Community of St. Jean in France in 2005. The reason the order was dissolved had not previously been made public.

The pope confirmed that the abuse of nuns was an ongoing problem, but said it was only in “certain congregations, predominantly new ones and in certain regions more than others.”

He added that the Catholic Church “shouldn’t be scandalized by this,” and that “there are steps in a process… we are working on it.”

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