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Pope cites new book on nun abuse to warn superiors

Pope Francis on Saturday drew attention to an issue that Vatican has long sought to demean: the abuse of power by mother superiors against nuns, who, because of their oath of obedience, are not required to obey.

During an audience with members of the Vatican’s congregation of religious orders, Francis cited a new investigation into the matter written by a reporter for the Holy See’s media agency, Salvatore Cernuzio.

Francis noted that the book, “The Curtain of Silence: Abuse, Violence, Frustration in the Life of a Nun,” does not detail “highlight” cases of violence and abuse but rather abuses. Daily use compromises the strength of a vocation. ”

The book, published in Italy Last month, there were 11 cases of current or former nuns being mistreated at the hands of their superiors. Most are psychological and spiritual abuses and often result in women leaving or being kicked out of their communities and questioning their faith in religion. God and church. Some left the streets, others found refuge in a home for abused women.

The book follows an article on a similar topic by the Vatican-approved Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica in 2020 and earlier reports in the Vatican’s women’s magazine about the sexual abuse of priests by priests. nuns and exploiting them by the hierarchy of the male church to do freelance labor in the home. .

The new book exposes another layer of more insidious forms of psychological abuse by superiors against their nuns, which have long been shrouded in secrecy. It contains an appalling essay by one of the most senior women at the Vatican, Sister Natalie Becquart, who says the cases force the church to look at the sometimes toxic reality of life in religious orders, targeting victims and preventing future abuses. not happen.

She says it also reinforces the need for Catholic hierarchy to ensure that priests and nuns are trained in the correct way to exercise obedience and authority, says the misapplication of both has led to problems.

Francis has attempted to suppress the near-absolute power enjoyed by religious superiors and laity as well as the proliferation of new religious movements, some of which have seen gruesome cases of abuse. sexual, spiritual and other abuse perpetrated by their reputable founders. The Vatican recently imposed term limits on leaders and is adopting a more stringent process for new groups to be approved in the church.

The Jesuit pope, who knows well the dynamics of religious community life, told members of the Vatican congregation on Saturday that there is always the threat that founders of religious orders or The new religious movement will hold too much power and exercise it improperly.

The risk, he warned, is that they claim to be the only ones who can interpret the specific spirit of the movement “as if they were above the church.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/vatican-pope-francis-rome-italy-god-b1974298.html Pope cites new book on nun abuse to warn superiors

JACLYN DIAZ

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