Pope admits nuns faced 'sex slavery' from abusive priests

ME TOO More nuns have been coming forward since the #MeToo movement

In this era, he said, when there is strong a temptation to discord between Christian and Islamic cultures, and considering religions as sources of conflict, "we wanted to give a further, clear and decisive sign, that instead it is possible to meet, it is possible to respect and dialogue".

Asked if there would be some kind of similar action to confront abuse of nuns in the Church, he said: "I want to move forward".

Francis said the Vatican has "suspended some clerics, sent them away for this" and "dissolved" some orders of nuns "that were very tied up in this, a corruption".

"At the time, the sister only told her provincial superior and her spiritual director, silenced by the Catholic Church's culture of secrecy, her vows of obedience and her own fear, repulsion and shame". "And I think that it's continuing because it's not like once you realise it that it stops".

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Reporting by The Associated Press and other news media, as well as the reckoning demanded by the #MeToo movement, has brought the issue of sexual violence against nuns to the fore, such that #Nunstoo has been trending in recent days.

The Vatican, for example, launched an investigation past year into a small religious order in Chile after sisters reported some of their fellow nuns had been thrown out of the congregation after they brought their complaints of abuse by priests to their mother superior.

The pontiff had just entered Abu Dhabi's stadium on his pope mobile for the final mass of his two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates.

The Vatican newspaper's women's magazine, L'Osservatore Romano, last week blamed the all-male clergy for the crisis.

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Last week a Vatican magazine reported on nuns aborting the children of priests And an investigation by the Associated Press previous year 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. The pope added the mistreatment of nuns is part of a larger issue of women being treated as "second-class citizens". Reports of such abuse are known to have been made from Chile to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, India, Kenya, Peru and Ukraine.

In 2013, the Community of St. Jean admitted that Philippe had behaved "in ways that went against chastity" - he died in 2006.

"An AP examination has found that cases have emerged in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia, demonstrating that the problem is global and pervasive, thanks to the universal tradition of sisters' second-class status in the Catholic Church and their ingrained subservience to the men who run it". "We're working on it", Francis said of ongoing cases of abuse of nuns.

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