Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Inside NCR

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Inside NCR

Article excerpt

Just before deadline, NCR learned of another document addressing the problem of sexual abuse of religious women by priests (see story page 5). The document was presented in November 1998 before the Council of 16, an organization that includes the superiors general of men's and women's orders around the world. It was presented to the same group and at roughly the same time as the one written by Sr. Marie McDonald (see NCR, March 16). The most recently revealed document shows that religious women were not only reporting on the problem but suggesting a program of action and education to deal with it. The hope is that their efforts will result in a degree of accountability on the part of those in authority.

It bears emphasizing that, as was the case with the other reports that formed the basis of our March 16 story, this report was not provided by its author.

The International Union of Superiors General, an association of women's religious communities based in Rome, issued a statement March 22 assuring sisters throughout the world that neither the organization nor individual members had anything to do with releasing the documents to the press. We can assure you that is the case. NCR obtained the documents, in every instance, from other sources.

When we asked those who wrote the reports to elaborate on their findings, they refused to speak to us.

According to the statement from the International Union of Superiors General, the sisters "presented the sexual abuse of women as `one among other problems facing the church at this time,' and made it clear that the problem is not restricted to Africa. …

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