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Pope admits nuns faced 'sex slavery' from abusive priests

Pope admits nuns faced 'sex slavery' from abusive priests

The Vatican on Wednesday clarified statements by Pope Francis concerning the "sexual slavery" of nuns by a French order, saying he was referring to the abuse of power that is also present in cases of sexual abuse.

"There are some priests and also bishops who have done it", the pontiff said in response to a journalist's question on the abuse of nuns, speaking on the return flight from his trip to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.

"It's true, there are priests and bishops who have done that", he admitted, adding: "Should we do something more? Yes".

Francis confirmed to reporters that certain orders of nuns have and in some cases still do suffer sexual abuse at the hands of male clergy, noting that his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI dissolved an entire order of nuns because male clerics subjected them to sexual slavery.

POGGIOLI: Just last month, a top official in the Vatican doctrinal office that handles allegations of clerical sex abuse resigned after a former nun accused him of making sexual advances during confession.

"She was courageous", Pope Francis told journalists later on his way to Rome.

Last week a Vatican magazine reported on nuns aborting the children of priests And an investigation by the Associated Press a year ago revealed cases of abuse of nuns in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America - cases in which the Vatican had not sufficiently punished offenders or supported victims. "But it's a path that we have already begun", Francis said. Last year, the International Union of Superiors General, which represents more than 500,000 Catholic nuns, urged their members to report abuse.

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Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Francis "spoke of "sexual slavery" to mean "manipulation" or a type of abuse of power that is reflected in a sexual abuse".

The abuse of adult nuns-like the child abuse scandals rocking the church-has also been a global one.

The editor of the Vatican's news outlet, Lucetta Scaraffia, said that if Church leadership "continues to close its eyes to the scandal", then "the condition of oppression of women in the church will never change". They said that if they receive a report of abuse they will help the person bring the complaint "to the appropriate organizations".

"I can't say "this does not happen in my house".

Pope Francis' public admission on the issue marks a new chapter in the abuse crisis rocking the Catholic Church.

He recalled that over one million Christians live in the UAE, mainly workers from Asian countries, and that he met with representatives of the Catholic community at Abu Dhabi's St Josepth Cathedral, celebrating a mass with patriarchs, archbishops and bishops in which they "prayed in particular for peace and justice, with special intention for the Middle East and Yemen".