Jesuit Superior General Admits Famed Priest Was Once Convicted Under Canon Law
(For Immediate Release December 15, 2022)
The head of Pope Francis’ Jesuit religious order admitted Wednesday that a famous Jesuit priest had been convicted of one of the most serious crimes in the Catholic Church some two years before the Vatican decided to shelve another case against him where he was accused of abusing adult women under his spiritual care.
The Rev. Arturo Sosa, the Jesuit superior general, made the admission during a briefing with journalists that was dominated by the scandal over the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik, and the reluctance of both the Vatican and the Jesuits to tell the whole story behind the unusual lenient treatment he received even after he had been temporarily excommunicated for absolving a woman he had sexually abused in confession.
SNAP issued a statement last week when the news about the more recent accusations against Fr. Rupnik surfaced on Italian blogs — Silere non Possum, Left.it, and Messa in Latino. The blogs disseminated accusations of spiritual, psychological, and sexual abuse against Fr. Rupnik by women at a Jesuit community in his native Slovenia with which he was associated.
It is no surprise that officials in the Jesuit community are now looking for exit signs to egress from this scandalous situation. Still, the fact remains that this is a long overdue admission prompted only by pressure from courageous victims and dogged media coverage.
And yet the Jesuits appear to be willing to admit one thing in order to cover up a thousand. Withholding donations from religious orders or dioceses may or may not have an effect, and the Jesuits are extremely wealthy and unique. They run hundreds, if not thousands of parishes, private schools, retreat centers, and universities. However, contributing to organizations such as SNAP, who provides peer support to victims of abuse, and letting the group know why you are doing so, may steer the Jesuits to adopt true transparency and openness.
To prevent future media snafus, we also urge the Rev. Sosa to order all Jesuit provinces to release a complete and non-sanitized list of abusers within their order, as well as to maintain a consolidated list. The next step should be to turn over every accusation of abuse -- whether of a child or an adult, whether found to be "credible" or "not credible" -- to the local police or attorney general for an impartial secular investigation.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)