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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

August-22-02

Women Demand Church’s Attention for Sexual Abuse of Nuns by Priests

Despite worldwide focus on the notorious child sexual abuse scandal, the Catholic Church is continuing its routine of secrecy, denial, and feigned alacrity in regards to the little-publicized issue of nun sexual abuse by priests. For the past seven years, the Vatican has been aware of the sexual abuse and rape of nuns by priests. In a compilation of internal church reports, leaders of women’s religious orders as well as a US priest described incidents of nun sexual abuse in 23 countries, including the US. In Africa, one report said: “Sadly, the sisters also report that priests have sexually exploited them because they too had come to fear contamination with HIV by sexual contact” with other women. In some cases, priests are said to have encouraged abortions for the nuns they impregnated.

It was only after the National Catholic Reporter published results of the two-year investigation examining allegations of nun sexual abuse in 2001, that the pope made a brief statement of apology. Even while US bishops in June drafted a sex abuse policy for pedophilia, violations against nuns were not mentioned. Now, organizations such as the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) are demanding that their voices be heard. “[The Church has] had this information since 1995, but the cover-up goes on… The sexual abuse must stop,” said Yvonne Maes, a former nun who charges that her supervisor raped her during their service in South Africa.

TAKE ACTION Join the Call to Accountability Campaign, an ad hoc coalition of religious, women's rights and human rights groups whose goal is to raise public awareness about sexual violence against women in the Catholic church and hold accountable the individuals and institutional leadership involved or complicit in this problem.

Media Resources: FoxNews.com 6/25/02; Boston Herald 8/20/02; National Catholic Reporter 3/16/01; CentreDaily.com 6/16/02


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