Jesuit priests demand transparency in Vatican’s artist case

Dec 6, 2022, 8:40 PM | Updated: Dec 7, 2022, 10:52 am
Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wedne...

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME (AP) — One of the Vatican’s leading Jesuit advisers on preventing clergy sexual abuse called Wednesday for 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.

The Rev. Hans Zollner said the recent statement by the Jesuit order about the Rev. Marko Ivan 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 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 Rupnik in January, had any role in the decision not to sanction him.

Mosaics by Rupnik decorate the Lourdes basilica, a chapel in the Apostolic Palace and churches around the globe, and his artwork is regularly used by the Vatican, including as recently as this year when he designed the logo for the World Meeting of Families.

Rupnik was for years the head of a Rome-based center for study about the impact of culture on the Christian faith, the Aletti Center, with which the Dicastery’s former No. 2 official was long affiliated.

The Jesuit statement didn’t reveal the nature of the allegations against 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.

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.” Zollner heads the Pontifical Gregorian University’s anthropology institute for studies on human dignity and care and is also a founding member of Francis’ child protection advisory board.

There was no immediate response to calls and emails seeking further comment from the Jesuits and the Vatican on Wednesday.

Another Jesuit made clear his unease with the way the case was handled, calling it the “Rupnik tsunami,” and demanded a full, transparent accounting.

The Rev. Gianfranco Matarazzo, former head of a Jesuit institute in Palermo, Sicily, wrote a series of tweets saying the case, as presented to date, amounted to a “paradigmatic case of justice denied.” He called for the opening of archives and explanations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Fire in Houston airport locker room delays morning flights

HOUSTON (AP) — A fire at Houston’s largest airport delayed flights on Sunday and forced passengers and employees to temporarily evacuate a terminal, officials said. No injuries were reported. Houston firefighters were called to Bush Intercontinental Airport after a fire was reported in an employee locker room in Terminal C around 5:30 a.m., according to […]
1 day ago
In this photo provided by Chad Fish, the remnants of a large balloon drift above the Atlantic Ocean...
Associated Press

Balloon bickering over Biden’s actions, China’s intentions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican lawmakers on Sunday accused China of deliberately surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites with a suspected spy balloon and said the Biden administration had given Beijing an intelligence opening by not downing the balloon during its high-altitude drift through American airspace. The balloon’s presence in the sky above the United States before […]
1 day ago
This image released by Paramount shows Jane Fonda, from left, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin and Rita Mor...
Associated Press

‘Knock at the Cabin’ knocks off ‘Avatar’ at the box office

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in almost two months, the box office doesn’t belong to blue people. After seven weeks as the top film in theaters, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was finally knocked out of the No. 1 spot by the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Knock at the Cabin” and the […]
1 day ago
Pope Francis meets the journalists during an airborne press conference aboard the airplane directed...
Associated Press

Pope hits back at critics who used Pope Benedict XVI

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis accused some of his critics Sunday of taking advantage of Pope Benedict XVI’s death to score ideological points in the latest salvo in the partisan divide of the Catholic Church. During an airborne news conference returning from South Sudan, Francis was asked about the criticism that accelerated […]
1 day ago
NASCAR Cup Series drivers Bubba Wallace (23) and Alex Bowman (48) participate in a practice session...
Associated Press

Ally Financial expands NASCAR spend with 2 new partnerships

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ally Financial has expanded its growing portfolio as a top NASCAR sponsor with a deal to become the official bank of the stock car series and NASCAR-owned race tracks. The multiyear deal was announced Sunday ahead of NASCAR’s exhibition extravaganza at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and led to the creation […]
1 day ago
Pope Francis meets the journalists during an airborne press conference aboard the airplane directed...
Associated Press

Pope planning India, Mongolia trips after Lisbon, Marseille

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis said Sunday he is planning to visit India next year and is studying a possible trip to Mongolia later in 2023 in what would be a first for a pope. Francis outlined his upcoming travel schedule during his flight back to Rome from South Sudan. He confirmed […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Jesuit priests demand transparency in Vatican’s artist case