VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Thursday denounced psychological violence and abuse of power in the Church, as the case of a prominent priest accused of abusing his authority to sexually abuse nuns rocked the Vatican.
The 86-year-old pope made the comments in his annual Christmas address to cardinals, bishops and other members of the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration.
francis often took the opportunity to expose perceived flaws in the high bureaucracy, such as gossip, cliques and infighting.
After referring to wars, the pope said, “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 added that no one should “take advantage of their position and role to put others down”.
Although not specifically referred to, the Jesuit order, of which the pope is a member, has been rocked in recent weeks by the case of Father Marko Ivan Rupnika Slovenian priest known in the Church for his works of art, including the design of a chapel in the Vatican.
Rupnik was accused of psychologically and sexually abusing nuns in Slovenia three decades ago when he was the spiritual director of their convent there.
Repeated attempts to reach Rupnik through his religious art school in Rome were unsuccessful, and he did not respond to messages left there.
Under pressure from the media, the Jesuits admitted earlier this month that Rupnik had been disciplined at least twice in recent years as alleged victims came forward, but was quietly pardoned by the doctrinal office of the Vatican.
One case concerned “the absolution of an accomplice” in confession, referring to when a priest sex with someone, then absolves the person of sin.
A former nun has accused him of exerting “psycho-spiritual” control over her.
The Jesuits have effectively reopened the case, posting a letter on their website on Sunday asking anyone wishing to file new complaints or discuss existing ones to contact them.

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