Vatican #MeToo exposed in magazine; Some bishops and cardinals demean nuns as servants who clean and cook with no pay

A Vatican women's magazine has spoken up against the practice of some bishops and cardinals who allegedly demean educated nuns and regard them as mere servants who serve them without any pay.

(REUTERS/Max Rossi)Pope Francis greets a group of nuns during the general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican December 20, 2017.

The exposé, dubbed as the Vatican's version of #MeToo, looked into the mistreatment of the nuns for the March issue of Women Church World magazine. The issue's release coincides with the observance of the International Women's Day on March 8.

"Some of them, serving the men of the church, get up in the morning to make breakfast, and go to sleep after dinner is served, the house cleaned and the laundry washed and ironed," one of the articles stated.

One nun, who is known only as Sister Marie, revealed that they were rarely asked to sit at the dining table and instead ate in the kitchen alone. She shared that most of the nuns who serve the senior clergy came from Asia, Africa and Latin America. They arrived in Rome to study, earn their PhDs in advanced subjects and serve through the funding of the congregation, hence these nuns might think that they have no place to complain about the mistreatments. 

"These sisters feel indebted, tied down, and so they keep quiet," Sister Marie said.

Lucetta Scaraffia, the magazine's editor-in-chief, told reporters that they want to give these women the voice and the platform. Women Church World is an official Vatican publication that started printing six years ago but its staffers also do not receive payment for their work.

According to The Guardian, there are nuns who do have senior roles in the Vatican but they handle mostly religious issues. There were also five nuns who took care of Pope John Paul's household at the Apostolic Palace while he sat as the Vatican leader from 1978 to 2005. Pope Benedict, who led the Vatican from 2005 to 2013, had eight nuns running his household.

Pope Francis, the current leader of the Catholic Church, reportedly dines at the Vatican guesthouse, where paid waiters serve. It is not clear how the pontiff will react to this latest expose but Scaraffia is aware that the pope reads the magazine regularly.