Over the past several days, hard-boiled newsman Ed Condon reluctantly conceded that “there is a motivating force for the protection of Rupnik,” and Robert Mickens—a veteran Vatican hand generally well disposed to Francis—openly asked whether Pope Francis isn’t the one protecting him.
And this from La Croix and very progressive Robert Mickens:
As these lines are being written, Pope Francis is in the middle of an overnight visit to the southern French port city of Marseille. And he's made some very bold and extremely important statements that Europe and its elected leaders needs to hear regarding the Old Continent's policy (or, rather, lack of policy and foresight) regarding the arrival of migrants and refugees from various parts of Africa, the Middle East, and other so-called "third world" areas of the Global South.
Europe, with its aging population and dangerously low birth rate, needsimmigrants. The question, as the pope rightly points out, is how to integrate them in a way that preserves and enriches European civilization. There is much to discuss on this issue and Francis is to be credited for pushing the continent's political and societal leaders to do so more seriously and with greater perspicacity.
But there is an ugly shadow quietly looming over the papal visit, which has nothing to do with the Jesuit pope's prophetic leadership on the migration issue or whatever else he's addressed in Marseille. Indeed, it is a matter that could badly tarnish his entire pontificate and legacy. We're talking about the way Francis has handled the case of Marko Rupnik, the (former Jesuit) priest-mosaic artist who has been credibly accused of sexually and spiritually abusing numerous women religious.
The Society of Jesus expelled the 68-year-old Slovenian from the religious order earlier this year after he refused to follow the restrictions (penalties for the abuse) that his superiors placed on him, his artistic work, and his ministry.