Vatican rocked after former nun accuses priest of ‘psycho-spiritual’ sexual misconduct, Pope responds

Once hailed as the artistic master behind what is known as Pope John Paul II’s “Sistine Chapel,” disgraced Slovenian Jesuit priest Marko Ivan Rupnik is now recognized as the Father who used his “psycho-spiritual” persuasions to lure two nuns into a “Holy Trinity” threesome in a scandal that has rocked the Vatican to its pious core.

While he didn’t name names, in his annual Christmas message to cardinals, bishops, and members of the Vatican’s Curia, Pope Francis alluded to the shocking accusation from a former nun who claims, roughly 30 years ago, Rupnik exercised “psycho-spiritual” control over her to exploit her “uncertainties and fragility” for, among other things, a ménage à trois that would mirror the relationship between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, according to the Daily Mail.

A member of the same Jesuit order as Rupnik, the pontiff discussed in his address the many forms of violence that plague society.

“Besides the violence of arms, there is also verbal violence, psychological violence, the violence of the abuse of power, the hidden violence of gossip,” he said, adding that no one should “profit from his or her position and role in order to demean others.”

It was, for many, a condemnation that was pointed directly at the once-celebrated priest.

Speaking to Italian investigative newspaper Domani on Sunday, the former nun at the center of the scandal said, “Father Marko started slowly and sweetly getting inside my psychological and spiritual world, exploiting my uncertainties and fragility and using my relationship with God to push me into sexual experiences with him.”

 

She alleged the abuse spanned nearly a decade, between 1987 and 1994, during her time in a Slovenian convent, for which Rupnik was a spiritual director.

The nun, now 58, said the priest groomed her, had sex with her, and then bullied her into silence. She noted that her complaints against Rupnik were met with a choir of crickets.

Eventually, Rupnik allegedly attempted to convince her and another nun to participate in a three-way that he perversely suggested would mirror the Holy Trinity.

According to his accuser, Rupnik is believed to have abused as many as 20 women, and, in an all-too-familiar twist that surprises no one, his superiors, including ones of the Jesuit order, dismissed her repeated pleas for help and, instead, protected the acclaimed artist.

“It was truly an abuse of conscience,” the former nun told Domani. “He should have been stopped 30 years ago.”

After three weeks of silence, the Slovene bishops’ conference issued a statement in support of the Rev. Marko Rupnik’s victims.

“It is never the victims’ fault! We are on their side,” it read. “Any misuse of spiritual power and authority to carry out violence against subordinates is an unacceptable and despicable act.”

The bishops urged any of Rupnik’s victims — or the victims of any other priest — to come forward.

Meanwhile, the media has forced the Jesuits to admit earlier this month that Rupnik was twice disciplined in recent years, then pardoned for his abusive ways by the Vatican’s doctrinal office.

The case has now effectively been reopened by the Jesuits, who posted to their website on Sunday a letter urging anyone with a new or existing complaint to contact them.

“My main concern in all of this is for those who have suffered,” said Rupnik’s immediate superior, the Rev. Johan Verschueren, “and I invite anyone who wishes to make a new complaint or who wants to discuss complaints already made to contact me.”

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