Vatican magazine condemns clerical abuse of nuns


Vatican, Feb 3: The Catholic Church has been too slow coming to terms with the sexual abuse of women – particularly women religious – by priests, the editor of the Vatican newspaper’s women’s magazine has said.

Although scandalous, the delay in recognising the problem is not surprising for an “ecclesiastical institution with centuries of culture focused on women as dangerous and temptresses,” wrote Lucetta Scaraffia, editor of the Woman-Church-World supplement in L’Osservatore Romano.

While the Catholic Church has made progress in recognising the sexual abuse of children as a crime, Scaraffia wrote, when dealing with the abuse of women “the subject is more complex” and goes to the heart of Pope Francis’s analysis of the abuse crisis as having much to do with an abuse of power.

Even when the sexual abuse of a woman by a priest is condemned, it often is presented as “sexual transgression freely committed by both parties,” she wrote in the magazine’s February edition.

If people took seriously Pope Francis’s point about abuse and its cover-up being the result of clericalism and the abuse of power in the Church, Scaraffia said, the sexual abuse of women religious by priests “could finally be recognised for what it is, an act of exploitation.”

“The differences in power, the difficulty in reporting it out of fear – well founded – of retaliation, not only against herself but also against the order she belongs to, explains the silence that has covered this exploitation for years,” she wrote.

Scaraffia pointed to “precise and detailed” reports of clerical abuse of women religious written in the 1990s by senior members of women’s orders, particularly Sister Marie McDonald of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa and Medical Missionary Sister Maura O’Donohue.

After some media coverage of the report, she said, “silence fell on their statements and, as is well known, silence gives security to the abusers.”

“If we continue to close our eyes to this scandal – made even more serious by the fact that the abuse of women could lead to procreation and, therefore, is at the origin of the scandal of imposed abortion or of children not recognised by the priests – the oppression of women in the Church will never change,” she said.

But, Scaraffia wrote, finally “the veil is being lifted” on the truth of the abuse of women in the Church. It must be faced “with necessary tact, but also with the courage Pope Francis asks of us.”

source: Catholic Herald

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5 thoughts on “Vatican magazine condemns clerical abuse of nuns

  1. I understand you are an extremely progressive man. For some , there is nothing called right or wrong because they consider that a relative term. As long as there is freedom and as long as there is no restriction from Govt. everything is taken as right by people of progressive thinking. It so happened that I have a different philosophy. Kindly let me have it and enjoy– without hurting others Thanks

  2. My heartfelt congratulations to the editor of the Vatican newspaper’s women’s magazine that has openly condemned the clerical abuse of nuns!

    Scaraffia has pointed to “precise and detailed” reports of clerical abuse of women religious written in the 1990s by senior members of women’s orders. But… she has expressed a serious concern in the following sentence: “After some media coverage of the report, she said, “silence fell on their statements and, as is well known, silence gives security to the abusers.”

    My God, imagine the super-power of the clergy to close the mouths of those who demand justice, or many times, eliminate them!!! It is like “fence eating the well-grown crops, instead of protecting it”.

    The editor’s serious advice to all of us is: “If we continue to close our eyes to this scandal – made even more serious by the fact that the abuse of women could lead to procreation and, therefore, is at the origin of the scandal of imposed abortion or of children not recognised by the priests – the oppression of women in the Church will never change,”

    Will the Forum for Justice and Peace take this advice and try to do JUSTICE to the victims of clerical sexual abuse?

    Scaraffia’s courage must infuse new vigour and energy into the Catholic media persons in India. “Arise, Awake and Stop not until the culprits are punished.”

  3. Patriarchal attitudes are rampant. In the Catholic Church add clericalism, and in India also add Brahminism, the idea of a superior being, and you get absolute power that corrupts absolutely.

  4. Speaking and writing about this may act as a deterrent for the future, but we also need to see action on the ground for past incidents. There must be exemplary punishment.

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