Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik
Title: Vatican’s handling of Jesuit priest shows new dimensions of never-ending abuse crisis
On Dec. 2, the global Jesuit order confirmed reports made in several conservative Italian Catholic blogs that Slovenian Jesuit Fr. Marko Rupnik, a famous Rome-based artist, had been quietly disciplined for allegedly abusing adult women, and had been barred from hearing confessions or offering spiritual direction.
On Dec. 14, Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Jesuit superior general, revealed more information. Rupnik, known in places across the world for his iconography and for mosaics in several renowned churches and cathedrals, had earlier been convicted by the Vatican’s doctrinal office of having used the confessional to absolve a woman of having engaged in sexual activity with him.
That is one of the most serious crimes in canon law, and incurs an automatic excommunication. Sosa said Rupnik repented, and indicated that the excommunication had thus been lifted.
Recapping the details of the case, some may feel the usual “here we go again” with regard to sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Catholic Church. But I think the Rupnik case actually recapitulates and casts a light on new dimensions that have emerged in the abuse scandal in recent years. I want to briefly highlight 10 dimensions that I see.
The first dimension is that it is not only reporting by mainstream, secular outlets that leads to the revealing of truth of abuse and its cover-up. In this case it was conservative blogs forcing church authorities to release important information about the case and about a convicted member of the clergy who could still conceivably do harm.