US nuns urge changes to church structure to address abuse

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The main umbrella organization of religious sisters in the United States is calling for an overhaul of the male-led leadership structure of the Catholic Church, after Pope Francis acknowledged the problem of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious also called Thursday for the creation of reporting mechanisms that ensure sisters who have been abused “are met with compassion and are offered safety.”

The conference represents about 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the U.S. Its statement came after Francis acknowledged Tuesday that abuse of nuns was a problem and said the Vatican is working on it but more needs to be done.

The LCWR said current authority structures need to be changed “if the church is to regain its moral credibility and have a viable future.”

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