Global Catholic nuns urge reporting of sex abuse to police - Albuquerque Journal

Global Catholic nuns urge reporting of sex abuse to police

ROME — The Catholic Church’s global organization of nuns has denounced the “culture of silence and secrecy” surrounding sexual abuse in the church and is urging sisters who have been abused to report the crimes to police and their superiors.

The International Union of Superiors General, which represents more than 500,000 sisters worldwide, vowed to help nuns who have been abused to find the courage to report it, and pledged to help victims heal and seek justice.

The statement, issued on the eve of the U.N.-designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, was the first from the Rome-based UISG since the abuse scandal erupted anew this year and as the sexual abuse of adult nuns by clergymen has also come to light. The Associated Press reported earlier this year that the Vatican has known for decades about the problem of priests and bishops preying on nuns, but has done next to nothing to stop it.

In the statement Friday, the UISG didn’t specify clergy as the aggressors. While such abuse is well known in parts of Africa, and an Indian case of the alleged rape of a nun by a bishop is currently making headlines, there have also been cases of sexual abuse committed by women against other women within congregations.

The UISG statement was broad, condemning what it called the “pattern of abuse that is prevalent within the church and society today,” citing sexual, verbal and emotional abuse as types of mistreatment that festers in unequal power relations and demeans the dignity of its victims.

“We condemn those who support the culture of silence and secrecy, often under the guise of ‘protection’ of an institution’s reputation or naming it ‘part of one’s culture,'” the group said.

“We advocate for transparent civil and criminal reporting of abuse whether within religious congregations, at the parish or diocesan levels, or in any public arena,” the statement said.

To mark the U.N. day calling for an end to violence against women, the head of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, issued a video message on the subject – but didn’t mention sexual violence against sisters by fellow clergymen, evidence of how taboo the subject is within the church hierarchy.

An AP investigation found that cases of priest abusing nuns have emerged in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia, underscoring how sisters’ second class status in the church has contributed to a power imbalance where women can be mistreated by men with near impunity.

While some nuns are finding their voices, buoyed by the #MeToo movement, many victims remain reluctant to come forward. Experts told AP sisters have a well-founded fear they won’t be believed and will instead be painted as the seducer who corrupted the priest. Often the sister who denounces abuse by a priest is punished, including with expulsion from her congregation, while the priest’s vocation is preserved at all cost.

The Vatican has known for years about the problem in Africa after a series of major studies were commissioned in the 1990s. Religious sisters reported that African nuns were being particularly targeted by priests seeking to avoid HIV transmission from prostitutes or other women.

In the wake of the AP report, the umbrella organization of U.S. sisters, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, urged sisters who had been abused to report to both civil and church authorities. Many of the LCWR’s members also belong to the global UISG, which can provide a point of contact with the Vatican.

Home » News » World » Global Catholic nuns urge reporting of sex abuse to police


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Ukraine leader defiant as drone strikes hit Russia again
AP Feeds
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Drones struck ... KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Drones struck inside Russia's border with Ukraine on Tuesday in the second day of attacks exposing the vulnerability of some ...
2
Russia claims Kyiv hit its air bases, fires more ...
AP Feeds
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukrainian drones ... KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukrainian drones struck two air bases deep inside Russian territory, the Kremlin said Monday, shortly before Russian forces unleashed a ...
3
US intel chief thinking 'optimistically' for Ukraine forces
AP Feeds
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- The head ... KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- The head of U.S. intelligence says fighting in Russia's war in Ukraine is running at a 'reduced tempo' and suggests ...
4
Iran morality police status unclear after 'closure' comment
AP Feeds
CAIRO (AP) -- An Iranian lawmaker ... CAIRO (AP) -- An Iranian lawmaker said Sunday that Iran's government is 'paying attention to the people's real demands,' state media reported, a day ...
5
Russia rejects pullout from Ukraine as condition for talks
AP Feeds
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Russia said ... KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Russia said Friday that Western demands it should pull out completely from Ukraine as part of any future talks to ...
6
The mind behind the Rubik's Cube celebrates a lasting ...
More News
NEW YORK (AP) -- If you've ... NEW YORK (AP) -- If you've ever had trouble solving a Rubik's Cube, a good piece of advice is to break it down into ...
7
Uneasy calm grips Ukraine as West prepares winter aid
AP Feeds
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- An uneasy ... KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- An uneasy calm hung over Kyiv on Tuesday as residents of the Ukrainian capital prepared for Russian missile attacks aiming ...
8
China lockdown protests pause as police flood city streets
AP Feeds
With police out in force, there ... With police out in force, there was no word of additional protests against strict government anti-pandemic measures Tuesday in Beijing, as temperatures fell well ...
9
GOP-controlled Arizona county refuses to certify election
AP Feeds
Republican officials in a rural Arizona ... Republican officials in a rural Arizona county refused Monday to certify the 2022 election despite no evidence of anything wrong with the count, a ...