http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1232818.stm Wednesday, 21 March, 2001, 02:31 GMTVatican plays down abuse report The Vatican says the problem is "limited" The Vatican has accepted allegations that nuns suffer sexual abuse by priests, but says the problem is a limited one.The Catholic Church was responding toallegations published last week in the United States weekly theNational Catholic Reporter. I think the abuse described is happening - it is a serious matter, and we need to discuss it Benedictine abbot Nokter Wolf The newspaper said that in some cases priests impregnated nuns and then encouraged them to have abortions.The detailed article was based on five reports prepared by members of Catholic orders, dating back to 1994.The Vatican's official spokesman,Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said the problem was "known about and restrictedto a limited geographical area".Worldwide reportsBut the National Catholic Reporterlisted 23 countries, including the US, Italy, Ireland, Brazil andIndia, where abuse was alleged to have taken place.Most of the reports come from Africa,where fear of Aids has made celibate women a target of male clergy whosee them as "safe" sexual partners. Nuns are vulnerable the world over Father Robert J Vitillo, nowexecutive director of the US Bishops' Campaign for Human Development,gave a talk on the problem in 1994."I myself have heard the tragicstories of religious women who were forced to have sex with the localpriest or with a spiritual counselor who insisted that this activitywas 'good' for the both of them", he is reported to have said.Women who were targeted found little sympathy when they complained, a report found.In her 1994 report, Sister MauraO'Donohue, a physician, wrote: "Groups of sisters from localcongregations have made passionate appeals for help to members ofinternational congregations and explain that, when they themselves tryto make representations to church authorities about harrassment bypriests, they simply 'are not heard'. "Vatican responseThe official Vatican response said theChurch was working to solve the problem and that it should notovershadow the good works done by members of the clergy."Some negative cases cannot let usforget the often heroic faith expressed by the large majority of thosemen and women in religious orders," the Vatican said.A Benedictine abbot told the National Catholic Reporter he believes the Church is facing a serious problem."I think the abuse described is happening," said Father Nokter Wolf."How much it happens, what the numbers are, I have no way of knowing. But it is a serious matter, and we need to discuss it."
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.Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia