For the first time, Pope Francis has commented publicly about the scandal surrounding Father Marko Rupnik, denying he intervened to help his fellow Jesuit avoid punishment for the alleged sexual abuse of women in a religious community in Slovenia.
Speaking to the Associated Press Jan. 24 in a headline-grabbing interview published Wednesday that covered a wide range of topics, the pope said his involvement in the case was strictly procedural: assigning the case to the same tribunal that had earlier reviewed the automatic excommunication Rupnik incurred by absolving in confession a woman with whom he had sex.
After Rupnik repented the excommunication was lifted later the same month. The tribunal wound up dropping the second case because the statute of limitations had expired.
Francis explained that he thought it best to have the second case “continue with the normal court, because, if not, procedural paths are divided and everything gets muddled up.”
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