Vatican investigates after nuns report sex abuse by priests in Chile

8 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Friday, December 07 2018 Dec 7, 2018 Friday, December 07, 2018 10:27:28 AM CST December 07, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — 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 television earlier this year at the height of outrage over how Chilean Catholic hierarchy covered up decades of sexual abuse of children by priests.

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.

The Vatican did send in an investigator in 2014 when seminarians and priests reported sexual misconduct claims against their superior, the late Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien. Francis eventually removed O'Brien's rights and privileges as a cardinal.

A similar case erupted this year in the U.S. involving disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The scandal was sparked by an allegation that McCarrick abused a teenage altar boy, but exploded further when adult ex-seminarians reported that he routinely pressured them to sleep with him.

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.

Church authorities have long downplayed the prevalence of the problem, often blaming the nun for seducing a priest when a scandal became known.

The issue though has gained such prominence that the international association of the world's religious sisters recently issued an unprecedented statement urging that nuns report any abuse they had suffered to police and their superiors.

The statement from the Union of International Superiors General, which represents 500,000 of the world's 660,000 nuns, was even more significant since it was issued to mark the U.N.'s day for the elimination of violence against women, a strong show of solidarity with all women who are victims of sexual violence.

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police and the U.S. Marshals Service have found and taken into custody two people... More >>
43 minutes ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:22:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A scare over a recent Facebook threat has a neighborhood rethinking the safety of their children. ... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 3:43:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Forty-five cats, two birds, and three dogs are currently being housed at the Central Humane Society after a... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 3:36:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
FULTON – Students at Westminster College are getting some high tech help from the school: free iPads and Apple Pencils.... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:48:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- People in Boone and Callaway Counties have been receiving calls from people saying they need to pay money for... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:31:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A tweet with video showing what appears to someone throwing something at a downtown church prompted police to... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:18:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Gov. Mike Parson tweeted about a big campaign announcement on his personal Twitter account Friday. ... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 1:19:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri’s top election official is firing back after abortion-rights advocates sued him for allegedly impeding... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 10:47:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Prosecutor's Office added new charges to the case of a man accused of stabbing... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:49:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Animal control officers, helped by Columbia police, removed dozens of animals from a home on August 21. ... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:06:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Pride is coming to Rose Music Hall Saturday. The free event kicks off at 1 p.m. with... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 4:30:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is encouraging at-risk people to get vaccinated for hepatitis A... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:20:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Three months ago today, Jefferson City was hit by a tornado that ran from 54 Highway and... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:46:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - An incident at a Columbia Walmart Thursday afternoon that left shoppers fearing an active threat turned out to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:05:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Abortion-rights advocates on Thursday sued Missouri's top election official, alleging his actions and state laws denied them... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 4:02:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU is offering grief counseling to any student, faculty or staff member after a student died on Wednesday.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 3:31:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri and several other states across the country are combating a shortage of veterinarians who are qualified to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 2:30:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - After 10 years of MU enrollment hitting historic highs to major drops, downtown businesses have learned to adapt.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 1:41:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 74°
9pm 73°
10pm 72°
11pm 71°
12am 69°