It is only as a result of pressing questions from the Associated Press that the Jesuit superior general, Father Sosa, acknowledged obtorto collo [i.e., dragged by his neck] that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith prosecuted Rupnik in 2019 for a separate and earlier case that ended with his conviction and temporary excommunication for one of the most serious crimes contemplated in canon law: the absolution of an accomplice [within the sacrament of Confession]. This was a case of having absolved a woman in confession with whom Rupnik had previously had sexual relations. The case dates back to 2015. Rupnik admitted the circumstances and formally repented, and the Congregation lifted his excommunication. It remains to be clarified whether the Pope had authorized Jesuit Cardinal Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation, to cancel this penalty, or was it an autonomous initiative of the dicastery prefect?
The scandal erupted last week after two Italian blogs, Silere non possum and Messa in Latino began discussing Rupnik's uncomfortable past, and revealing allegations of psychological, sexual, and spiritual abuse of women and religious. At first the Jesuits confirmed that a complaint had been received in 2021, but they said that the Vatican had dismissed the charges, dating back to 1990s Slovenia, because they were beyond the statute of limitations.
However, the Jesuit general the so-called 'Black Pope-made it clear that he had maintained precautionary restrictions on Rupnik prohibiting him from hearing confessions and conducting spiritual retreats. In the December 2 statement, however, Fr Sosa did not mention that there were other charges against Rupnik. Because there was, in fact, not only the investigation that started in 2021 and ended due to the statute of limitations in October 2022; but there was also another earlier investigation for the absolving of an accomplice in confession. A circumstance revealed by the blog Messainlatino.it and ignored in the statement dated Dec. 2.
"I can understand how victims feel betrayed," Father Hans Zollner, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and head of the center for studies on abuse at the Gregorian University in Rome, told Reuters. "For the sake of transparency, we need to know who knew something, what and when, and what happened next. We could have found out the different levels of responsibility, which could have prevented all this," he added, referring to the 2021 complaint. "I ask myself, and I ask my community, the Jesuits: Who could have known? Who knew?
Who sensed that something was wrong and did not go further?"
Meanwhile, the blog Mass in Latin is calling for Father Sosa's head. Shouldn't he resign for lying?
Translation by Diane Montagna
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