Dec 11, 2021 - World

Pope Francis warns about misuse of authority tied to nun abuse

Photo: Vatican Pool/Getty Images

Pope Francis raised the rarely discussed problem of nun abuse in the church during an address to members of the Vatican’s congregation for religious orders on Saturday, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: In the past, the Vatican has downplayed the abuses committed by mother superiors against nuns in the Catholic Church, the wire service notes.

Details: Francis said the book, “Veil of Silence: Abuse, Violence, Frustrations in Female Religious Life," written by a reporter for the Holy See’s media, Salvatore Cernuzio, doesn’t detail “striking” cases of violence and abuse “but rather the everyday abuses that harm the strength of the vocation," AP reports.

  • The book, published last month in Italy, details 11 cases of current or former religious sisters who suffered abuse from their superiors. Some nuns were thrown out of the church, leaving them to question their faith, Cernuzio writes.
  • Francis told members of the Vatican congregation Saturday that there will always be a threat of founders of new religious movements that can assume too much power and exercise it improperly, per AP. The new movements have seen cases of sexual, spiritual and other forms of abuse committed by founders.
  • Francis warned that the founders claim to be the only ones to interpret the spirit of the movement "as if they were above the church.”

Flashback: In 2019, Francis issued a Vatican law that requires all priests and nuns worldwide to report sexual abuse and subsequent coverups to Catholic Church authorities.

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