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Confirmed: Jesuits have restricted ministry of prominent member, Father Rupnik

December 06, 2022

The Society of Jesus has released a statement (English translation) confirming that it has restricted the ministry of one of its most prominent members, the theologian and artist Father Marko Ivan Rupnik.

The restrictions follow a report that Father Rupnik sexually abused at least three religious sisters in Slovenia in 1992 and 1993. On December 5, a source in the Diocese of Rome told ACI Prensa that Auxiliary Bishop Daniele Libanori of Rome has “received accusations from at least nine women” (emphasis added). The prelate conducted a visitation of the sisters’ institute in 2019, according to an Italian media report.

In its statement, the Society of Jesus said that

the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) received a complaint in 2021 against Fr Marko Ivan Rupnik S.J. concerning his manner of ministry. No minors were involved.

The DDF asked the Society of Jesus to set up a prior investigation into this case. The Society of Jesus immediately appointed an external investigator (a religious from another institute) for the investigation. Various people were invited to give evidence. The final report was submitted to the DDF.

After studying the result of this investigation, the DDF found that the facts in question were time-barred and therefore closed the case at the beginning of October this year 2022.

During the investigatio previa [preliminary investigation], various precautionary measures were taken against Fr Rupnik: prohibition from exercising the sacrament of confession, spiritual direction and conducting spiritual exercises. In addition, Fr Rupnik was forbidden to engage in public activities without the permission of his local Superior. These measures are still in force today, as administrative measures, even after the response of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Despite these limited restrictions, Father Rupnik is scheduled to preach spiritual exercises at the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy House of Loreto in February, according to the Vatican website.

In 1996, Pope St. John Paul II entrusted Father Rupnik with the task of directing the renovation of the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Apostolic Palace. In 2016, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Centro Aletti to mark the center’s 25th anniversary. In 2020, Father Rupnik took the place of Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, in delivering a Friday Lenten sermon to the Pope and members of the Roman Curia.

Father Rupnik, who has taught at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Pontifical Gregorian University, and Pontifical Liturgical Institute, designed the official logo of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (2015-16). He also painted the official image of the Tenth World Meeting of Families, which was organized by the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life and took place in June 2022.

The revised penal section (Book VI) of the Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope Francis in 2021, establishes a statute of limitations of three years from most offenses (Canon 1362). Several canonical crimes, including sexual offenses involving adults, have a statute of limitations of seven years; the sexual abuse of minors (as well as adults with a habitual “imperfect use of reason”) has a statute of limitations of 20 years.

The accusations against Father Rupnik raise questions about how members of religious institutes, who may be under a vow of obedience for years to keep silent about the abuse they have suffered, would be able to obtain canonical redress for crimes once they are permitted to speak about them.

The accusations against Father Rupnik, which came to light only after an Italian media report, also raise renewed questions about commitments to transparency in sexual abuse cases repeatedly voiced by Pope Francis, Vatican officials responsible for addressing sexual abuse, and Vatican spokesmen. Since September, previously undisclosed Vatican sanctions against Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo (a Nobel laureate) and Bishop Michel Santier (a French bishop) for sexual abuse have also come to light—but only after media reports.

 


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  • Posted by: grateful1 - Dec. 06, 2022 7:38 PM ET USA

    "Father Rupnik is scheduled to preach spiritual exercises at the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy House of Loreto in February, according to the Vatican website." Francis must prevent this, loudly and publicly. If he doesn't, he is complicit. The stench is unbearable.

  • Posted by: frjt - Dec. 06, 2022 9:01 AM ET USA

    Mr mccarrick lingers in the background of all of this... And still a code of secrecy protects the higher ups & those close to them...imagine this happening to a parish priest!?!