Vat­i­can to in­ves­ti­gate sex­ual abuse of nuns

North Bay Nugget - - NATIONAL NEWS - Ni­cole Win­field

Vat­i­can city — the Vat­i­can has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a small chilean re­li­gious or­der of nuns af­ter some sis­ters de­nounced sex­ual abuse at the hands of priests and mis­treat­ment by their su­pe­ri­ors, a turn­ing point that shows the holy See is now will­ing to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual vi­o­lence against nuns.

the scan­dal at the In­sti­tute of the good Sa­mar­i­tan was re­vealed pub­licly in an in­ves­tiga­tive re­port by chilean na­tional tv ear­lier this year. In the re­port, a half-dozen cur­rent and for­mer nuns said sis­ters were thrown out of the or­der af­ter they de­nounced the abuse to their su­pe­ri­ors. the re­port fol­lowed the sis­ters as they tes­ti­fied be­fore two Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tors sent to chile by Pope Fran­cis to get to the bot­tom of the church-wide scan­dal there.

In a state­ment, the Vat­i­can em­bassy to chile an­nounced that an “apos­tolic visi­ta­tion,” or in­ves­ti­ga­tion, had be­gun Wednes­day in the in­sti­tute. It said over the com­ing months the probe would take tes­ti­mony from cur­rent and for­mer sis­ters and those af­fil­i­ated with the in­sti­tute so the Vat­i­can can un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion and make what­ever changes are nec­es­sary.

the in­sti­tute is lo­cated in the dio­cese of talca, which since 1996 had been headed by bishop ho­ra­cio del car­men Valen­zuela abarca. Pope Fran­cis re­moved Valen­zuela as bishop in June as part of his cleanup of the chilean hi­er­ar­chy. Valen­zuela had been one of the bish­ops trained by chile’s most in­fa­mous preda­tor priests, the rev. Fer­nando Karadima.

as a dioce­san in­sti­tute of con­se­crated life, the good Sa­mar­i­tan or­der was wholly de­pen­dent on the bishop and un­der his au­thor­ity.

the Vat­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the abuse there marks a turn­ing point of sorts as the holy See in re­cent years has fo­cused its at­ten­tion on re­spond­ing to the abuse of mi­nors by priests. but re­cently, adult nuns have be­gun de­nounc­ing sex­ual vi­o­lence at the hands of priests and bish­ops, an abuse of power that has be­come more rec­og­nized in the #metoo era.

an as­so­ci­ated Press ex­pose this sum­mer, which cited the chilean case and oth­ers in europe, africa and In­dia, found that the Vat­i­can had long known about the prob­lem of the sex­ual vi­o­lence com­mit­ted against re­li­gious sis­ters but done next to noth­ing to stop it.

Vin­cenzo pinto/getty im­ages

Pope Fran­cis ar­rives at the Vat­i­can for his weekly gen­eral au­di­ence on Thurs­day. The Vat­i­can is launch­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a small Chilean re­li­gious or­der af­ter some nuns de­nounced sex­ual abuse against them.

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