Abuse scandals in the catholic church | DW Documentary

All over the world, an increasing number of nuns are coming forward with reports that they have been sexually abused by male clerics. The documentary film provides insights into a deeply disturbing – and barely addressed — problem within the Catholic church.

The Catholic church has been blighted by sexual abuse scandals for decades. Initially, public awareness was focused on the abuse of children and young people. But a few years ago, reports of another scandal began to emerge, one that the church tried to cover up for a long time: In many parts of the world, nuns claimed they had been raped by senior clerics. Some of the revelations also concerned high-ranking Vatican dignitaries.
Nuns who become pregnant were either threatened with expulsion from their communities or forced into abortions. These offenses, some committed in systematic fashion, were mostly ignored. In the cases that went public and therefore demanded investigation, the accused priests were acquitted by Vatican courts.
But over the past two decades, the wall of silence began to crumble. In spite of explicit reports, also directed at the Holy See, for a long time the Vatican did nothing to stop the abuse and sometimes systematic sexual enslavement of nuns.

In February 2019, Pope Francis broke the taboo, admitting for the first time that the abuse of nuns and sisters had taken place within the Catholic Church – and that the problem was ongoing. Work on this documentary film had already begun three years before. In numerous countries in Europe, North America and West Africa, filmmakers Eric Quintin and Marie-Pierre Raimbault spoke to nuns who suffered sexual violence at the hands of priests. The film hears from nuns, mother superiors, priests and people who worked closely with Pope Francis. Their accounts shine a disturbing light on a Catholic Church scandal that’s been shrouded in secrecy for far too long.

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