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Pope acknowledges sexual exploitation of nuns by priests

February 06, 2019

Pope Francis admitted that women religious have been sexually exploited by priests—and that the problem continues to this day—during his interview with reporters who had accompanied him on his visit to the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s true; it’s a problem,” the Pope said, in response to a question from Associated Press correspondent Nicole Winfield. “I would dare to say that humanity still hasn’t matured.”

Pope Francis went on to say that the exploitation of women is “a cultural problem,” and “in some civilizations a little stronger than in others.”

“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” the Pope continued, revealing that some priests have been suspended and some religious orders dissolved because of their involvement in sexual exploitation. He praised Pope Benedict XVI for taking action against a religious order that had been rife with “sexual and economic corruption”—an apparent reference to the Community of St. Jean in France, whose founder, Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, was found guilty of sexual misconduct with young women in the religious community. Pope Benedict dissolved the order.

Furthermore, Pope Francis revealed that when he first sought disciplinary action against the French congregation, in his capacity as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then-Cardinal Ratzinger was thwarted, apparently by powerful opposition within the Vatican. “But when he became Pope, the first thing,” he began the disciplinary process.


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  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Feb. 07, 2019 6:26 PM ET USA

    "I would dare to say that humanity still hasn't matured." For a hate-filled and theologically ignorant Pope, who endlessly calls those he loves to hate Pelagian, his humanistic belief in the possibility of a collective evolution towards human perfectibility represents the perfection of Pelagianism.

  • Posted by: Leopardi - Feb. 07, 2019 8:04 AM ET USA

    Call me a cynic, but could calling attention to this heterosexual problem, as heinous as it may is, be a distraction from the far more dominant and destructive homosexual problem which may have a "power base" in the hierarchy that makes it very hard to assail? The remedy for each must be swift, direct and conspicuous if our ecclesiastical church is to be saved (the church of the Mystical Body will never be destroyed).

  • Posted by: FredC - Feb. 06, 2019 9:03 PM ET USA

    The pope gave no indication of the scope of this abuse. Is it worldwide; do many, many priests engage in this behavior; and for how long has this being going on in a large scale? Such vagueness causes scandal.

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 06, 2019 3:15 PM ET USA

    '“It’s true; it’s a problem,” the Pope said' - Without any honest comparative statistics, it sounds to me as a diversion from the much greater, and ongoing, problem of clerical homosexuality. “I would dare to say that humanity still hasn’t matured” - Pope Francis still needs to explain the maturity of his own decision to elevate McCarrick from disgrace to prominence.