Pope Francis admitted Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church had faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse, including sexual slavery, of nuns by priests and some bishops.
In recent years, Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual abuse, but the pope had yet to comment on the matter. It was not until Vatican magazine mentioned nuns having abortions or giving birth to the children of priests that Francis finally commented on the issue during a news conference.
"It's true," Francis said. "There are priests and bishops who have done that."
The Catholic Church has also faced scrutiny over the sexual abuse of children and with the #MeToo movement gaining traction more victims of the church are coming forward. In November, the organization representing the world's Catholic women's religious orders, the International Union of Superiors General, denounced the "culture of silence and secrecy" and encouraged nuns to report abuse to law enforcement, the New York Times reports.
When asked about the recent events coming to light, Francis said "it was a continuing problem and that the Vatican was working on the issue." He also said some priests have been suspended. "Should more be done? Yes," Francis said. "Do we have the will? Yes. But it is a path that we have already begun."
The pope admitted to some nuns being objected to 'sexual slavery,' bringing up the case in which Benedict XVI dissolved an order of nuns "because a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder."
The pope will meet with presidents of the wolrd's bishops conferences at the end of February in Rome to focus on a response to the global sex abuse crisis.
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