Pope Francis speaks during a meeting with the dioceses of Rome, at the Vatican Basilica of St. John Lateran, in Rome, Thursday, May 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope vows to fight nun abuse, urges service not servitude

May 10, 2019 - 8:00 am

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has vowed to combat the sexual abuse of nuns and urged religious sisters to just say no when clergy want to use them as maids.

Francis told 850 superiors of religious orders gathered Friday for the triennial assembly of the International Union of Superiors General, the main umbrella group of nuns, that theirs is a vocation of service, not servitude.

The union's president, Maltese Sister Carmen Sammut, told Francis that clergy abuse of sisters was "diffuse in many parts of the world," while there were cases too of nuns abusing other nuns.

Francis said sexual abuse of sisters was "a serious, grave problem." He said: "We have to fight this, and also the service of religious sisters: Please: service yes, servitude no."

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