Pope Francis Admits Nuns Were Sexually Abused, Some Held as Sex Slaves

The head of the Catholic Church admitted Tuesday that nuns have been sexually abused by clerics, and that some were previously held as sex slaves. Pope Francis said the problems have dragged on a long time, and that some were still ongoing. He said the church is working to correct the issues within the church.

"It's a path that we've been on," Pope Francis said in a CBS News report. "Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a female congregation which was at a certain level, because this slavery of women had entered it—slavery, even to the point of sexual slavery—on the part of clerics or the founder."

In 2005, Pope Benedict's first year to lead the church, he shut down the Community of St. Jean in France, where nuns were being held as sex slaves and abused by priests, the CBS report stated.

Furthermore, Vatican women's magazine Women Church World reported that some nuns were forced to have abortions after being impregnated by priests, the BBC reported. Abortion is viewed as forbidden by the Catholic Church.

The pope said ongoing sexual abuse problems have mostly been in "certain congregations, predominantly new ones and in certain regions more than others."

Women Church World published an article in its February edition that shed more light on the sexual abuse problem, and it included Pope Francis' opinion that unchecked powers by those in charge led to such activity in the Church worldwide.

The BBC reported that for years, there had been a "culture of of silence and secrecy," and a worldwide nuns organization denounced the practice last November.

Women Church World credited the #MeToo Movement for more nuns coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse.

The pope said the Church has opened the dialogue of sexual abuse in an attempt to stop the problem and begin the healing process for both the victims and the Church's image.

The pope has called for a summit in February to gather church leaders from around the world to help them better investigate cases, to be sensitive with victims and write new protocol for church leaders to follow.

Just last week, 70 dioceses in the United States released the names of priests and clergymen who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse—with mostly children—over the last seven decades. There were 286 in Texas.

Pope Francis Admits Nuns Were Sexually Abused, Some Held as Sex Slaves | World