Pope Francis publicly acknowledged on Tuesday that Catholic nuns continue to suffer from sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests.
The pontiff went on to say that he is committed to doing more to fight these issues.
"It is true ... there have been priests and even bishops who have done this. I think it is still going on because something does not stop just because you have become aware of it," Francis said.
The pope made the comments on a plane from Abu Dhabi responding to a reporter’s question about an article about the abuse of nuns in the Vatican’s women’s magazine called Women Church World.
He pointed out that this is not a new problem, confirming that the Catholic Church knew about the abuses against nuns even if the public did not.
In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI, dissolved the Community of St. Jean in France because the nuns were being severely abused by clerics as well as the founder of the order.
The pope did not address the abuse of nuns in India or Chile, but admitted that although not new, there is a significant problem that the Church is addressing.
This openness to discuss sexual abuse in the Church comes as a reckoning after decades of allegations and revelations about clergy abusing children across the world. It’s taken on new light as the #metoo movement has grown in the past few years. International Union of Superiors General, the organization representing women Catholic religious orders, condemned the culture of silence and secrecy that prevented nuns from speaking out.
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Reuters reporting contributed to this story.