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  • Female journalists of Vatican female magazine quit in protest.

    Female journalists of Vatican female magazine quit in protest. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 March 2019

All female journalist team of Vatican female magazine quit after they were being controlled for publishing abuse stories of nun at hands of priests.

The all-female staff of the Vatican newspaper's monthly magazine on women's issues have resigned en masse, saying the new editor was trying to limit their autonomy and put them "under direct male control" while also discrediting the magazine for revealing the rampant abuse of nuns at the hands of priests.

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"Women Church World" has run a series of stories, including on the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and nuns working for free as servants for bishops.

Lucia Scaraffia, who started the magazine seven years ago, has called for a Vatican commission to investigate sexual abuse of women in the Catholic Church.

In an open letter to Pope Francis, she said the 11 women felt they were being "reduced to silence" and denounced an attempt to "return to the antiquated and arid custom of decisions from above, under direct male control".

The women will also explain their decision to quit in an editorial next month. In the editorial, which was made available to Reuters, Scaraffia lamented an attempt to return to selection of women "who assure obedience, renouncing any possibility of opening a true, free and courageous dialogue."

In a statement, Andrea Monda, who became editor of newspaper L'Osservatore Romano three months ago, denied the accusations. He said he had guaranteed the women "the same total autonomy and same total freedom" the magazine had previously enjoyed and had only made some suggestions about story ideas and people to involve in them.

Monda, a layman, said he has confirmed the magazine's budget despite cost-cutting elsewhere in the Vatican's media operations. He rejected accusations that he was seeking a return to "self-referential clericalism" and said "Women Church World" would continue to be published.

“They wanted to control all communication,” said Scaraffia. “Up until [Monda’s arrival], we enjoyed a very free rein. The truth is, they couldn’t accept this. This situation has caused us a lot of suffering.”

The resignations were the latest in more than a year of upheavals in the Vatican's communications department.

The previous editor of the Vatican newspaper, Giovanni Maria Vian, a close friend of Scaraffia, was abruptly replaced by Monda on Dec. 18.

The same reshuffle of the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications saw Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, a friend of Pope Francis, named editorial director of all Vatican communications.

On Dec. 31, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, an American, and his Spanish deputy, Paloma Garcia Ovejero, resigned over disagreements on overall communications strategy.

Monsignor Dario Vigano resigned as overall head of Vatican communications in March after a scandal over a doctored letter he distributed to journalists.

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