VATICAN CITY — The umbrella group of Catholic nuns is urging religious sisters around the world to speak out about sexual abuse by priests and other abuses of power that they experience, while also announcing new initiatives to protect children in their care.

The International Union of Superiors General, which represents leaders of some 400,000 nuns, issued a final declaration on Friday after their triennial assembly.

The group said the 850 superiors who attended were informed of the different types of abuses of power that sisters might experience and the importance of teaching them to confront it. The superiors “were encouraged to begin open conversations” about the issue.

The sexual abuse of nuns by priests has been taboo for centuries, but recent news reports, including by The Associated Press, have broken the silence.

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