UPDATED: 2019/02/06 11AM
For the first time since becoming pope, Pope Francis publicly acknowledged that nuns have been victims of sexual abuse at the hands of predatory Catholic priests and bishops. He also vowed to do more to protect the women.
On a flight back to Rome from his visit to the United Arab Emirates he said, “Should we do something more? Yes. Is there a will? Yes. But it’s a path that we have already begun.” He continued, “It’s not something that everyone does, but there have been priests and even bishops who have done what you say. And I think that it’s continuing because it’s not like once you realize that it stops. It continues. And for some time we’ve been working on it.” The Francis praised former pope, Pope Benedict with taking action against this behavior while he was serving.
Francis also said that the mistreatment of women is not exclusive to the church–they are still considered second-class citizens in many parts of the world. He told reporters, “It’s a cultural problem. I dare say that humanity hasn’t matured.”
Attorney Mitchell Garabeian, whose crusade to bring down pedophile priests were portrayed in the movie Spotlight, said that he hopes the pope will “provide the public with all documents concerning the sexual slavery of nuns and children for the sake of healing and morality.”