The most complicated cases are those in which the bishop always tends to side with the abusive priest, says a professor of theology at the Gregorian
Karlijn Demasure, a professor of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome proposes several means of putting an end to the sexual abuse of nuns committed by priests.
Here is an article by Professor Karlijin Demasure (Professor of theology, Rome) on the proper training of priests so that they do not abuse nuns. She mentions of some systematic changes in the training of nuns too to make them aware of the possible danger of sexual abuse so that they avoid situation that could facilitate the abuse (not being alone in a priest's room, never being alone with priests). She just stops at these suggestions without highlighting on modern CCTV and other security systems. What about teaching self-defence to nuns during their novitiate days? She is also silent on the complicity of nuns superiors with predator priests and bishops as was the case with Frightening Franco Mulakkal. Isaac Gomes, Asso. Editor, Church Citizens' Voice.
It is important to know how nuns can be induced into having sexual relations with priests. It is rarely a case of brute force. Often, the priest instigates a relationship that then allows him, over time, to go further and further.
One sensitive issue is that of new movements which are sometimes closed and almost sect-like in nature, where young nuns are cut off from the outside world. A particular kind of supervision would have to be established with regard to apostolic visits.
Moreover, when the priest is the founder of the movement and has the advantage of a charisma that gives him real power, it becomes more and more difficult to accept the word of victims.
We see this in reactions of rejection, including rejection by mothers superior who side with the priest against their sister. This is due to the continuance of the theology that gives priority to the priest, designating him as superior, as holy. Even women cannot believe that is possible that priests commit this kind of crime.
In this old theology, in which it is the woman, Eve, who is the seductress, the priest cannot be guilty. And a bishop even less so!
The importance of training
The most complicated cases are going to be those of diocesan congregations in which the bishop on whom they depend always tends to side with the abusive priest rather the nun who is the victim.
In this kind of congregation that is totally dependent on the bishop, it is difficult to make a complaint without the risk of putting into question the work or finances of the other sisters.
This is why it is important that the training of nuns includes making them aware of the possible danger of sexual abuse so that they avoid situation that could facilitate the abuse (not being alone in a priest's room, never being alone with priests).
Boundaries of this kind are beginning to be put in place to some extent, even though it's far from being the case everywhere.
However, in this, the emphasis is on the responsibility, even the culpability, of nuns, I believe that the training of priests must also be addressed.
The issue of clericalism
Of course, there can be cases of loving relationships between a priest and a nun founded upon mutual consent. These no doubt exist, and although these cases involve a transgression of the vow of chastity, there is no question of abuse.
There is abuse in a relationship of dependence between the two, if the power is unequal. This is what the training of priests must stress.
Here, we come back to the issue of clericalism, which was denounced by Pope Francis. It is a pity that, in terms of responsibility, accountability and transparency, this issue was not addressed as such during last month's Vatican Summit on sexual abuse within the Church.