Understanding the utter dysfunction of the Vatican’s response to sex abuse scandals by Catholic clergy

— One afternoon in mid-December, Pope Francis had a meeting that was not on his official agenda or otherwise recorded, that underscored the utter dysfunction of the Catholic Church’s response to the global clergy sex abuse scandal.

In the main reception room of the Vatican hotel where he lives, Francis met for more than an hour with a Spaniard who as a young seminarian was molested by his spiritual director. The former seminarian was desperate.

He had lodged a complaint with the Toledo, Spain Archdiocese in 2009, and visited Vatican offices multiple times to deposit damning documents and demand action be taken against his abuser and the bishops who allegedly covered for him. But for 15 years, he had received no justice from the church.

While Francis’ decision to hear his story was laudable and pastorally sensitive, it was also evidence that the church’s in-house system to deal with abuse isn’t working — from the laws available to punish abusers to its policies for helping survivors. For every victim who has enough well-connected friends at the Vatican who can arrange a papal audience, countless others will never feel that the church cares for them or will provide them justice.

Five years ago, Francis convened an unprecedented summit of bishops from around the world to impress on them that clergy abuse was a global problem and they needed to address it. Over four days, these bishops heard harrowing tales of trauma from victims, learned how to investigate and sanction pedophile priests, and were warned that they too would face punishment if they continued to cover for abusers.

Yet five years later, despite new church laws to hold bishops accountable and promises to do better, the Catholic Church’s in-house legal system and pastoral response to victims has proven still incapable of dealing with the problem.


In fact, victims, outside investigators and even in-house canon lawyers increasingly say the church’s response, crafted and amended over two decades of unrelenting scandal, is damaging to the very people already harmed — the victims. They are often retraumatized when they summon the courage to report abuse in the face of the church’s silence, stonewalling and inaction.

“It’s a horrific experience. And it’s not something that I would advise anyone to do unless they are prepared to have not just their world, but their sense of being turned upside down,” said Brian Devlin, a former Scottish priest whose internal, and then public accusations of sexual misconduct against the late Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien marked O’Brien’s downfall.

“You become the troublemaker. You become the whistleblower. And I can well understand that people who go through that process end up with bigger problems than they had before they started it. It’s a hugely, hugely, destructive process.”

Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger revolutionized the way the Catholic Church dealt with abusive clergy in 2001, when he persuaded St. John Paul II to order all abuse cases be sent to his office for review.

Ratzinger acted because, after nearly a quarter century at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he had seen that bishops weren’t following the church’s own laws and were moving predators around from parish to parish rather than sanctioning them.

At the end of his 2019 summit, Francis vowed to confront abusive clergy with “the wrath of God.” Within months, he passed a new law requiring all abuse to be reported in-house to church authorities (but not to police) and mapped out procedures to investigate bishops who abused or protected predator priests.

But five years later, the Vatican has offered no transparency or statistics on the number of bishops investigated or sanctioned. Even the pope’s own child protection advisory commission says structural problems built into the system are harming victims and preventing basic justice.

“Recent publicly reported cases point to tragically harmful deficiencies in the norms intended to punish abusers and hold accountable those whose duty is to address wrongdoing,” the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said after its last assembly. “We are long overdue in fixing the flaws in procedures that leave victims wounded and in the dark both during and after cases have been decided.”

At the 2019 summit, the norms enacted by the U.S. Catholic Church for sanctioning priests and protecting minors were touted as the gold standard. The U.S. bishops adopted a get-tough policy after the U.S. abuse scandal exploded with the 2002 Boston Globe “Spotlight” series.


But even in the U.S., victims and canon lawyers say the system isn’t working, and that’s not even taking into consideration the new frontier of abuse cases involving adult victims. Some call it “charter fatigue,” that the hierarchy simply wants to move on beyond the scandal that spawned the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Rev. Thomas Doyle, a U.S. canon lawyer who worked for the Vatican embassy in Washington and now provides consulting for victims, says he no longer advises they pursue church justice.

Why? Because “the church will screw them every which way from Sunday,” he said.

“Don’t waste your time,” Doyle says he tells victims. “The only justice, or semblance of justice that has been meted out is in civilian courts because the church can’t screw them up.”

Nearly every investigation into abuse in the Catholic Church that has been published in recent years has identified the church’s in-house legal system as a big part of the problem, from church-commissioned reports in France and Germany to government inquests in Australia, parliamentary-mandated studies in Spain and law enforcement investigations in the U.S.

While some reforms have occurred, including Francis’ lifting of the official secrecy covering abuse cases in 2019, core issues remain.

Part of the problem is that canon law was never meant to address the needs of abuse survivors or to help them heal: The official goal of the system is entirely institution-centric: to “restore justice, reform the offender and repair scandal.”


Even after the Vatican announced a revised penal code, more than a decade in the making, the outside reports were remarkably uniform in identifying:

• The structural conflict of interest built into the system. According to church procedures, a bishop or religious superior investigates an allegation that one of his priests raped a child and then renders judgement. And yet the bishop or superior has a vested interest, since the priest is considered to be a spiritual son in whom the bishop has invested time, money and love.

It is difficult to think of any other legal system in the world where someone with such a personal, paternal relationship with one party in a dispute could be expected to objectively and fairly render judgment in it.

The independent commission that investigated the French church’s abuse scandal said such a structural conflict of interest “appears, humanly speaking, untenable.”

Even the pope’s own Synod of Bishops came to a similar conclusion. In their November synthesis document after a monthlong meeting, the world’s bishops identified conflict of interest as an ongoing problem.

“The sensitive issue of handling abuse places many bishops in the difficult situation of having to reconcile the role of father with that of judge,” they said, suggesting that the task of judgment be assigned to “other structures.”

• The lack of fundamental rights for victims. In canonical abuse investigations, victims are mere third-party witnesses to their cases. They cannot participate in any of the secret proceedings, they have no access to case files and no right to even know if a canonical investigation has been started, much less its status.

Only due to a Francis reform in 2019 are victims allowed to know the ultimate outcome of their case, but nothing else.

The Spanish ombudsman, tasked by the country’s congress of deputies to investigate abuse in the Spanish Catholic Church, said victims are often retraumatized by such a process.

“Despite the regulations enforced over the last few years, if we take into account international and national standards on the minimum rights of victims in criminal proceedings, the rights and needs of victims in canon law proceedings continue to be neglected,” the report found.

The French experts went further, arguing that the Vatican is essentially in breach of its obligations as a U.N. observer state and member of the Council of Europe, which requires upholding the basic human rights of victims.

Citing the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, the French report noted that a fundamental right includes access to a fair trial “which guarantees, in particular, the right of access to independent justice and an adversarial procedure, and, for the victim, the right to an effective remedy.”

“Canon law will only be able to provide a genuine response to the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable persons in the Catholic Church if it meets the universally recognized requirements of justice and if it is implemented more effectively,” the French commission concluded.

• No published case law. Unlike the Vatican tribunal known as the Roman Rota, which publishes redacted marriage annulment cases, the Vatican’s sex abuse office doesn’t publish any of its decisions about how clergy sexual abuse cases have been adjudicated.

That means that a bishop investigating an accusation against one of his priests has no way of knowing how the law has been applied in a similar case. It means canon law students have no case law to study or cite. It means academics, journalists and even victims have no way of knowing what types of behavior gets sanctioned and whether penalties are being imposed arbitrarily or not at all.

Independent legal experts who investigated clergy abuse in Munich, Germany, said the publication of canonical decisions would help eliminate uncertainties for victims in how church law was being applied. Australia’s Royal Commission, the highest form of inquest in the country, similarly called for the publication of abuse decisions, in redacted form, and to provide written reasons for decisions “in a timely manner.”

In-house, canon lawyers for years have complained that the lack of published cases was deepening doubts about the credibility and effectiveness of the churches’ response to the church scandal.

“This lack of systematic publication of the jurisprudence of the highest courts in the church is unworthy of a true legal system,” Kurt Martens, a professor at Catholic University of America told a canon law conference in Rome late last year.

Monsignor John Kennedy, who heads the Vatican office investigating abuse cases, said his staff was working diligently to process cases and had received praise from individual bishops, entire conferences who visit and religious superiors.

“We don’t talk about what we do in public but the feedback we receive and the comments from our members who recently met for the Plenaria are very encouraging,” he wrote. “The pope also expressed his gratitude for the great work that is done in silence.”

But such praise comes from the hierarchy, not those who have been harmed: the victims.

They are left to languish, even if — as now advised by the church — they report their abuse. The Spanish seminarian who met with the pope first filed his complaint against his abuser with the Toledo Archdiocese in 2009. But the Toledo archbishop only launched an internal investigation in 2021 and informed the Vatican, after Spain’s El Pais newspaper reported on the case.

The identity of sexual abuse victims is not released unless they choose to go public.

In October, a Spanish criminal court convicted the priest and sentenced him to seven years. An appeals court recently voided the sentence on a technicality.

The seminarian has remained in touch with Francis and recently wrote him saying he was “exhausted” with the process but had nevertheless appealed to Spain’s Supreme Court.

Francis called him right back and encouraged him to keep fighting, he said.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic chapel where two men celebrated ‘marriage’ now subject to deconsecration

— File under:  Insulated, monolithic, callous, tone deaf church power structure

Both the pastor of nearby San Bernabé parish in El Escorial, Fr. Florentino de Andrés, along with the Archdiocese of Madrid, anticipate the deconsecration of the chapel as a result of the ceremony.

By ACI Prensa

The private Catholic chapel where two Spanish men celebrated their civil “marriage” last weekend is subject to “canonical effects” and deconsecration, according to the Archdiocese of Madrid and a Catholic priest with jurisdiction in the area.

The Holy Trinity chapel, located on the grounds of the Finca El Campillo, a property used as a wedding venue in the town of El Escorial, was the scene of a celebration of the two men’s civil marriage last Saturday.

Cristina González Navarro, who owns the property, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, that at the event inside the chapel “there was no priest” and that “a wedding wasn’t held,” but she refused to offer more details about what the ritual consisted of.

What is known, through images posted on social media, is that the chapel was full of guests and that the men, dressed in formal attire and holding hands, left the chapel walking down the aisle as a Catholic bride and groom do at the conclusion of a wedding ceremony for the sacrament of marriage.

According to photos on social media, some elements of the Catholic liturgy apparently were used during the ceremony, including an image of the Virgin of Hakuna by sculptor Javier Viver.

The two men exchanged rings and at one point knelt on white kneelers in front of the sculpture of the Virgin and before a cross made of two branches tied together.

On the shoulders of the men was draped a white cloth with blue stripes in a gesture similar to the one used in the veiling rite of the Mozarabic liturgy. In this Catholic rite, the wife’s head and the husband’s shoulders are covered and as they kneel they receive a blessing.

Statement from the Archdiocese of Madrid 

Father Florentino de Andrés, pastor of St. Bernabé parish in El Escorial, told ACI Prensa that the chapel has not been deconsecrated and that the ceremony was carried out without his knowledge. The priest was emphatic that “it was not with my permission.”

De Andrés also said that he will speak with the owners of the property to determine what took place and if confirmed as reported, he will call for the chapel to be deconsecrated.

The Archdiocese of Madrid also weighed in with a statement confirming that “it was not informed or consulted about the possibility of holding said celebration, being a unilateral act of the property [owners] that will have canonical effects in this regard. In no case is it permitted to perform a civil marriage within a religious venue.”

The Feb. 26 statement stressed that “family chapels can only be used for the purpose that the Church grants them,” and therefore “they cannot be a place for public religious celebrations, unless expressly authorized by the diocese.”

In addition, the archdiocese specified that “they cannot be used for commercial purposes or as places for civil celebrations of any kind. In fact, at the time [they were built] they were intended to be solely for the private devotional use of the family that owned it and in no case to be offered as an optional for-profit service of a company that plans social events.”

Beyond the controversy over the improper use of a Catholic church, those who own chapels that are located on private land are subject to ecclesiastical regulations (canons 1115 et seq.) for the correct use of these sacred places, as summarized by the Archdiocese of Madrid in its statement.

Complete Article HERE!

New Orleans man alleges he was trapped in a sex ring run by Catholic church

This 2012 file photo shows a silhouette of a crucifix and a stained glass window inside a Catholic church in New Orleans.


A New Orleans man who says he survived clergy abuse says he was trapped in a sex trafficking ring run by the Catholic church.

Richard Coon is telling his raw and emotional story for the first time in detail. He says his experience with sexual abuse was one compared to being in a sex ring.

A warning: some of the details he shared are graphic.

Coon said his story involves three men linked to the Catholic church who are now all dead.

Coon’s story involves allegations of rape, an extravagant vacation, drugs and a suicide attempt.

“There are so many victims that don’t have a voice,” Coon said.

Coon, 57, said he is giving his 10-year-old self a voice for the first time.

“I was just so confused because none of it made sense. None of it related to anything I was taught growing up in the church, I was such an active person in the church,” Coon said.

The Catholic Church was Coon’s life. Coon said he met his first accused abuser in the 1970s.

Coon said a high-ranking employee at a Catholic school befriended him and began grooming him.

Coon claims it started with touching and then progressed to oral sex. He said the abuse continued and escalated until he was 15 years old.

“It was so confusing to me because it really hurt, and I told him to stop,” Coon said. “I was hurting, I was crying, and he wouldn’t stop, and I couldn’t understand how a human would continue to assault a kid that was in pain. This is supposed to be someone I could trust. It just changed my life.”

While Coon’s life changed, he said he hid the trauma.

Coon says he channeled the pain into the sport of diving.

He said after he graduated high school, a priest approached him at an area pool.

“He introduced himself to me as a photographer and asked if he could take pictures of me diving for his portfolio. In return, I would get copies of all the pictures. I agreed to it. He also informed that he was a priest,” Coon said.

Coon said a new trust was formed again, and what he thought was a friendship started.

According to Coon, right before his 20th birthday, he was invited by the priest to attend a trip in the Caribbean.

Coon said he was still living with his parents and said he was allowed to attend because priests were on the trip.

While on the boat, Coon claims he was given drugs.

“They gave us these little squares of paper and told us to put them under our tongues,” Coon said. “I didn’t question him; he was a priest. I figured it was something to prevent us from getting sick. I did it, and it turned out to be LSD. I questioned to him on the boat, ‘How can you be a Catholic priest and live a gay lifestyle?’ It didn’t make sense to me; it was the opposite of anything I had been taught. His response was within the hierarchy of the Catholic church, there exists an elite secret society, and in that secret society it was made up of God’s most favorable men and that the highest form of love was between two men.”

Coon feels he was preyed on and, at the time, truly believed he was part of a secret society.

After returning home, Coon said he was introduced to ecstasy.

Coon said the priest invited him for a weekend stay at a rectory on the North Shore.

“In the middle of the night, I woke up, and he was naked in bed with me and was fondling me, and I said, ‘Stop what are you doing.’ He did stop, said he was sorry and left the room,” Coon said.

Coon said he was brainwashed and at one point and thought he was supposed to be in a relationship with a priest.

Coon said he was offered a tour at a seminary where he says he met a reverend and brought to a private suite.

“He comes up to me, puts his hands on my shoulders and starts kissing me. I was in shock. He led me back to the bedroom and started undressing me,” Coon said. “He lays me down, gets on top of me, and there was no penetration, and he went to put lotion on us. I felt assaulted and confused. I walked back to my car. As soon as I closed the door, I started screaming and crying. I felt like I had disrespected the church. I felt like I defiled the archbishop’s space.”

Coon said he continued to mask his pain, but it wasn’t enough. He says it got so bad he tried to kill himself.

“It was carbon monoxide,” Coon said. “I covered myself with plastic and took Valium to go to sleep and just hoped I didn’t wake up. At the very last minute, I sent a text out to the people I loved and the people I knew were there for me, and they came and saved me.”

Coon said he was able to get help and intense therapy. In December 2018, he said his therapist advised him to go to the police.

WDSU uncovered this report from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office when Coon came forward to report his alleged rape.

The JPSO record states Coon recalled 35 times when he said he was sexually abused by the man he met as a child in the 1970s.

According to the report in one in instance, he described Coon’s alleged abuser getting on top of him, pinning him down, with his arm across Coon’s neck and raping him. The report says Coon begged him to stop, and that was the last time Coon saw the man.

According to the report, the man Coon accused of raping him — who was 74 years old in 2018 — stated to investigators he does not remember if he touched any underage boys inappropriately.

According to the report, the man stated he did not rape anybody.

The report says that based on a lack of evidence, the case was closed without an arrest.

“It hurt, but at the same time, I felt like I had been heard. That’s a lot for someone that goes through this,” Coon said.

Coon has filed a civil claim against the Archdiocese of New Orleans, but what he wants most is for the bankrupt archdiocese to be transparent in releasing sealed and crucial records.

“Gregory Aymond decided to double down on the cover-up. I have no respect for him whatsoever,” Coon said. “He could have put this whole thing to an end by releasing the files. I think it’s a disgrace.”

In 2018, the archdiocese released a list of credibly accused priests, and Aymond says he’s committed to continuing to be transparent, but Coon says transparency has not happened.

Dioceses in other cities have released detailed records for the public outlining sex abuse allegations within the diocese.

“We should be one of those archdioceses where we are on the road to healing, and we are not, and it’s all because of Gregory Aymond. He needs to step down as archbishop. He says one thing and does another,” Coon said.

Coon said he finds some peace in knowing that his story is being told.

“It is very healing. One of the best things a survivor can do, and it’s monumental, is to tell the story and admit what happened to them. You are well on your way to healing if you are able to do that, and my voice was silenced for 3 1/2 decades. I didn’t feel like I could speak,” Coon said.

WDSU reached out to the Archdiocese of New Orleans for an on-camera interview regarding this story last week.

A spokesperson declined and said by phone they do not comment on pending litigation.

WDSU was told a statement regarding additional questions would be sent.

A spokesperson sent the following response, “Sorry, we have nothing to add.”

Complete Article HERE!

Priest facing sexual assault charge in Nunavut will not be dismissed from Oblates

— A French priest accused of sexually abusing Inuit children in Nunavut will be allowed to remain a member of the Oblates congregation after leadership in Rome ruled against his dismissal.

by Kelly Geraldine Malone

Johannes Rivoire, who is in his mid-90s and lives in Lyon, France, has long faced allegations of sexual abuse during his time in Nunavut.

“I was deeply disappointed,” said Rev. Ken Thorson with OMI Lacombe Canada.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, OMI Lacombe Canada and the Oblates of the Province of France had appealed to leadership in Rome in 2022 to commence the dismissal proceedings against Rivoire after the Catholic priest refused to return to Canada to face charges.

An arrest warrant was issued for Rivoire earlier that year on a charge of indecent assault involving a girl in Arviat and Whale Cove, Nvt., between 1974 and 1979. French authorities later denied an extradition request from Canadian judicial authorities.

The priest previously avoided trial when he refused to return to Canada after a warrant was issued for his arrest in 1998. He faced at least three charges of sexual abuse in the Nunavut communities of Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Naujaat. More than two decades later, the charges were stayed.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada said at the time it was partly due to France’s reluctance to extradite.

Justice Minister Arif Virani said Tuesday that Canada is now working with Interpol on the case. Canada is requesting a “red notice” through Interpol, which means if Rivoire were to ever leave French territory authorities elsewhere could arrest him.

“I would say to people that are concerned and angry that I share their concern, I share their anger,” Virani told reporters on Parliament Hill.

Virani said Rivoire stands accused of “reprehensible conduct, and we need to ensure that justice is pursued” against anyone accused of that many severe crimes.

Rivoire has denied all allegations against him, and none have been proven in court.

Inuit leaders and politicians have continued to urge that the priest face trial. Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said he asked Pope Francis during an Indigenous delegation to the Vatican in 2022 to speak directly with Rivoire

A 10-member delegation led by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., a group representing Nunavut Inuit, travelled to France later that year and spoke with Rivoire, asking the priest to return to Canada. That group has claimed up to 60 children may have been abused by the priest.

Last year, nearly a dozen members of BeBrave France, the French chapter of a global advocacy movement that aims to end sexual violence against children, demonstrated outside the retirement home where Rivoire was living. He has since been relocated into the Oblates’ administration house in Lyon, because of the attention he was getting at the previous facility, Thorson said.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate said it has also repeatedly urged Rivoire to face the charges, but he has refused.

Thorson said the disciplinary proceedings included two warnings and a formal recommendation. Rivoire’s counsel cited his declining health, with medical advice against more than one hour of air travel, as a reason he couldn’t return, Thorson said.

Considering Rivoire’s health, the Oblate administration in Rome did not proceed with dismissal from the congregation, Thorson said.

The dismissal would not have forced Rivoire to return to Canada, but Thorson said it would have been symbolic of the church’s commitment to accountability and reconciliation.

“I recognize we missed opportunities to take what could have been healing steps in this case,” Thorson said.

“That’s a regret that I carry.”

Thorson said he hopes an independent investigation into the allegations against Rivoire and the Oblates’ handling of the situation can still provide some justice.

The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, OMI Lacombe Canada and the Oblates of the Province of France appointed former Superior Court justice André Denis to lead the Oblate Safeguarding Commission.

The commission is to understand how allegations against Rivoire were addressed within the Catholic congregation and to identify improvements to Oblate policies and governance to better protect minors and ensure accountability.

It is also to review the circumstances under which Rivoire left Canada.

A final written report is to be made public no later than April 1.

Complete Article HERE!

Former nuns call on pope to launch inquiry into priest they say sexually abused them

— Mirjiam Kovac and Gloria Branciani want independent inquiry into Marko Rupnik, who was expelled from Jesuit order in 2023

Gloria Branciani, left, and Mirjam Kovac reported Rupnik to senior Catholic church officials in the early 1990s but say they were rebuffed and dismissed.


Two former nuns have called on Pope Francis to initiate an independent investigation into a once-prominent Jesuit artist-priest who they allege sexually abused them, including by forcing them to have threesomes and making them watch pornography so they would “grow spiritually”.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Mirjiam Kovac and Gloria Branciani said the wall of silence surrounding Marko Rupnik, who has been accused by several women of sexual, psychological and spiritual abuses dating back three decades, had finally “crumbled”.

The women are former members of the Ignatius of Loyola community, an order co-founded by Rupnik, whose mosaics adorn the walls of some Vatican chapels and other churches.

“We were all young girls, full of ideals,” Kovac said during a press conference in Rome. “But these very ideals, together with our training in obedience, were exploited for abuses of various kinds: of conscience, of power, spiritual, psychic, physical and often sexual.”

Both women reported Rupnik to senior Catholic church officials in the early 1990s, but claim they were repeatedly rebuffed and dismissed.

Rupnik was excommunicated in 2020 for absolving a woman with whom he had sex; the absolution of a “sexual accomplice” is among the most serious crimes under canon law. But he was reinstated two weeks later after he repented.

In 2022, allegations against Rupnik made by nine women were dismissed by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), citing the canonical statute of limitations.

It was only later that year, after it was reported in the press that Rupnik had been treated with “kid gloves” by the church, that the Jesuits issued a public call for victims to come forward. Rupnik was finally expelled from the order in June 2023 after the “degree of credibility” of the allegations against him was found to be “very high”.

Rupnik, however, remains a priest and was accepted into a diocese in Koper, in his native Slovenia, in October 2023. That same month, Pope Francis ordered the DDF to reopen the case, although Laura Sgrò, a lawyer representing Kovac and Branciani, said she had received no information relating to the new investigation.

Branciani alleged on Wednesday that she and another nun were forced to have a threesome with Rupnik “because he said it was like the [Holy] Trinity”.

The incident allegedly occurred in the home of a friend of Rupnik in Gorizia, a city in northern Italy. “The most terrible aspect of this threesome was that afterwards, we never spoke to each other about it,” she said. “We were both completely blocked … I was very tired, I felt empty and could no longer feel feelings of any kind other than a deep pain and sense of failure.”

Anne Barrett Doyle holds up printed pictures of Marcial Maciel, Theodore McCarrick and Marko Rupnik.
Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-founder of BishopAccountability, at the press conference. She said the church’s handling of the allegations bore the earmarks of ‘an old-time cover-up’.

Branciani also alleged to journalists that Rupnik forced her to watch pornography “to help me ‘grow spiritually’”.

Rupnik has not publicly commented on the accusations. The Guardian did not receive a response to an email sent to the Aletti Centre, a religious art centre in Rome founded by Rupnik with which he is still associated. Maria Campatelli, the director of the Aletti Centre, said last year that the accusations were “defamatory and unproven”.

The Koper diocese said it was unable to provide a statement on Wednesday, and referred to one made in October last year which said: “So long as Rupnik is not found guilty in a court of law, he enjoys all the rights and duties of a diocesan priest.”

A Holy See spokesperson, Matteo Bruni, told journalists the Vatican was gathering “all available information on the case” to “determine which procedures it would be possible and useful to implement”.

In February 2019, Francis became the first pontiff to publicly admit that priests had sexually abused nuns and pledged to do more to fight the problem.

Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-founder of BishopAccountability, which tracks alleged clergy sexual abuse cases, said the church’s “secret” handling of the allegations against Rupnik bore all the earmarks of “an old-time cover-up”, similar to that of Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop whom the Vatican defrocked in 2019 after finding him guilty of sexually abusing children.

“This case represents not only the church’s continued protection of powerful abusers, but its particular indifference to the sexual abuse of adult women,” said Doyle. “The pope made abuse of vulnerable adults a church crime, but we see little evidence that the new rule has made a difference.”

It is rare for nuns to speak publicly about alleged abuse by priests, an issue that has blighted the Catholic church for decades. There is also scant care for abused nuns, many of whom have been thrown out of their orders and made homeless. Some have claimed to have become pregnant by priests and then forced to have abortions.

Complete Article HERE!