It was the pope's first-ever public acknowledgment of the problem of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns.
Pope Francis finally acknowledge for the first time that sexual assaults are happening within the rank of the church. Francis did not say by whom.
"I think it's still taking place because it's not as though the moment you become aware of something it goes away".
In recent months, more and more nuns and women are coming forward to expose the abuse that is happening in the Catholic Church.
By Robin GomesThe Etihad Airways flight carrying Pope Francis from Abu Dhabi at the end of his February 3-5 apostolic visit to the UAE, landed ahead of schedule at Rome's Ciampino airport Tuesday evening.
"She was courageous", Pope Francis told journalists later on his way to Rome.
Last week a Vatican magazine reported on nuns aborting the children of priests And an investigation by the Associated Press a year ago 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.
Last year, the French website La Parisien reported the case of a former nun who was abused and raped by her parish priest between 2010 and 2011.
Francis confirmed to reporters that certain orders of nuns have and in some cases still do suffer sexual abuse at the hands of male clergy, noting that his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI dissolved an entire order of nuns because male clerics subjected them to sexual slavery.
A spokesman confirmed that the order to which Francis referred was the Community of St. Jean in France. The pope said the Vatican was working on it but that more needed to be done.
In November, the organization representing all the world's female Catholic religious orders, the International Union of Superiors General, publicly denounced the "culture of silence and secrecy" that prevented nuns from speaking out and urged sisters to report abuse to their superiors and police. The pope added the mistreatment of nuns is part of a larger issue of women being treated as "second-class citizens".
Francis said the problem could be found "anywhere" but was prevalent in "some new congregations and in some regions". "With the #MeToo movement going strong, and Francis under pressure for neglecting the victims of child abuse, the nuns' pleas have gained traction".
"I want to move forward". Over the past year, the Associated Press and other media outlets have reported cases of abused nuns in a number of countries around the world, such as India, Africa, Europe, and South America.
She said the issue was abusive power relationships, with clerics controlling everything from nuns' vocations to their salaries.
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