On Tuesday, Pope Francis for the first time publicly acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and bishops.
"It's not that everyone does this, but there have been priests and bishops who have," he told reporters while flying from the United Arab Emirates to Rome. "And I think that it's continuing because it's not like once you realize it that it stops. It continues. And for some time we've been working on it. Should we do something more? Yes. Is there the will? Yes. But it's a path that we have already begun."
In November, the International Union of Superiors General said there is a "culture of silence and secrecy" that keeps nuns from reporting their abuse, and urged them to come forward and speak with their superiors and law enforcement. Last week, the Vatican newspaper's women's magazine, Women Church World, reported that nuns impregnated by priests have had abortions or given birth to children who aren't recognized by their fathers. The pontiff said that the issue is being dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and he prays that Vatican efforts to fight abuse "go forward."
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