Rome: Pope Francis has admitted to yet another scandal in the Roman Catholic Church by publicly confirming that nuns have been sexually abused by priests and bishops.
On board a flight back home from a historic trip to the Middle East, the Pope admitted that nuns were abused by priests and bishops, some of whom had used the women as sex slaves.
“It’s true,” he said. “There are priests and bishops who have done this. I think it is still going on because something does not stop just because you have become aware of it.”
“We have been working on this for a long time. We have suspended some priests because of this,” he said.
The extent of the scandal first came to light just days ago when the Vatican’s women’s magazine, Women Church World, condemned the abuse of women in an article.
“The abuse of women results in procreation and so is at the origin of the scandal of imposed abortions and children not recognized by priests,” the article read.
In a high-profile case in Chile, the Vatican launched an investigation late last year into reports that priests abused nuns. According to current and former nuns, the women had been removed from the order after reporting the abuse.
The revelation about the abuse of nuns came just years after it was revealed that children, mostly boys, were being abused by clergymen in their congregations across the world and that senior clergy members had been covering up those crimes.
The Pope also came under fire last year for not responding decisively to the Church’s sex-abuse crisis.
He has summoned key bishops from around the world to a summit later this month at the Vatican to discuss the issue and find a solution to protect children from sexual abuse in the Church.
Asked if he has any similar plan to confront abuse of nuns, he said, “I want to move forward. We are working on it.”
The pontiff, however, said last week that expectations for the upcoming Vatican summit should be “deflated,” as the issue was unlikely to be resolved through it. His efforts to lower expectations have disappointed advocates for abuse victims as well as the church officials who have long pushed for the leaders to take abuse more seriously.