Scandals Shouldn´t Tarnish All Religious, Leaders Say

Joint Statement of Religious Superiors

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ROME, MAR. 22, 2001 ( Leaders of the Church´s religious congregations, both feminine and masculine, have made known their position on the topic of sexual abuse suffered by religious, especially in Africa.

Their statement came after the Vatican reported it is investigating allegations of sexual abuse committed by priests and missionaries against nuns in the 1990s. The joint statement of the Union of General Superiors and the International Union of General Superiors confirmed that it is a «known problem,» and that «concrete» measures have already been taken.

The superiors´ statement, distributed by the Vatican, calls for looking at this phenomenon in the proper perspective, as there are 1 million women religious and 200,000 men religious in the world.

«The consecrated life wishes to transmit hope in a world divided by wars, nationalism and so many forms of injustice of individuals and structures,» the document states. In this endeavor, at least 600 religious have lost their lives violently over the past 10 years, the international agency Fides reported Wednesday.

Therefore, in agreement with Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls, the superiors reiterate that «some negative situations cannot make us forget the fidelity, frequently heroic, of the vast majority of men and women religious and priests,» the document concludes.

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