My Response: Now is the time for an action plan with concrete structures of accountability that involve women in leadership, decision-making positions in the Church. The hierarchy can no longer monitor itself as this appalling story of failure and abuse indicates. Time's up! Bridget Mary
"A leading French nun has accused the Vatican and Catholic bishops of having sanctioned the spiritual and sexual abuse (including rape, prostitution and forced abortions) of women religious in many countries and on every continent for over 20 years and probably much longer.
“Any criminal organization would not have done worse,” said Dominican nun Sr Véronique Margron, president of the French Conference of Men and Women Religious (CORREF)
She accused the Church leadership of responding to reports if such abuse of nuns with silence, cover-up and in-action. It was shocking, she said.
In an accompanying statement the liberal Catholic We Are Church (WAC) international group noted how in in 1994 Clare-born Medical Missionary of Mary
Sr Maura O’Donoghue presented a detailed report on the abuse of nuns by priests to the Vatican based on six years experience in 23 countries and 5 continents.
In 1998 Scottish nun Sr Marie McDonald of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa presented another report on the abuse of religious women by priests in Africa to the Vatican.
It recalled how in 2001 the European Parliament wrote to the Vatican calling for action to be taken about the sexual abuse of religious sisters by priests.
“But all to no avail. Just more silence, more cover-ups and more in-action. But in recent years courageous women who have spoken out despite the pressure to remain silent have highlighted this disgraceful behaviour,” it said.
In a statement it continued:“it is a horrifying litany of spiritual and sexual abuse against women religious by men who claimed to be servants of Christ but were in fact servants of lust and power. There must be no more silence, no more cover-ups and No more in-action. The people of the church demand repentance and justice.”
Following the recent Vatican meeting on child safeguarding, attending by Catholic bishops and religious leaders from around the world WAC regretted that it had resulted in “an absence of concrete actions to safeguard children.”
“The clear message remains that any concerns about clerical child abuse should be reported to the civil authorities and not to the church authorities,” it said.