A leading Jesuit adviser on preventing clergy sexual abuse has urged Church authorities to shed more light on the case of a famous Jesuit artist who wasn’t sanctioned by the Holy See after he was accused of spiritually abusing women during confession. Source: NCR Online.
Fr Hans Zollner SJ said the recent statement by the Jesuit order about Fr Marko Rupnik “raised questions that, as far as I see, can only be answered by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith”.
The Jesuits said in a statement made public this week that the Dicastery, which handles abuse cases, had closed its file on Fr Rupnik, one of the most famous Catholic artists alive today, because the statute of limitations had expired.
The order said precautionary measures imposed on the priest by his Jesuit superior remained in effect, forbidding him from hearing confession or giving spiritual direction.
Usually the Dicastery waives the statute of limitations for prosecuting abuse and confession-related Church crimes since victims often take longer than the 20-year limit to process their trauma and report the abuse. There was no explanation why that didn’t occur this time, or whether Pope Francis, a fellow Jesuit who met with Fr Rupnik in January, had any role in the decision not to sanction him.
The Jesuit statement didn’t reveal the nature of the allegations against Fr Rupnik other than to say they didn’t involve minors and concerned the way he “exercised his ministry”. Italian news reports have said they concerned spiritual and sexual abuse of adult women during confession.
Confession-related crimes, which are also handled by the Dicastery, are among the most serious in canon law and carry with them automatic excommunication.
Fr Zollner said it was his “firm belief that transparency in the Church, including the Society of Jesus, is essential in order to combat the scourge of abuse in all its forms”.
Jesuit priests demand transparency in abuse case against Vatican artist (By Nicole Winfield, RNS via NCR Online)