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Pope allows new investigation in Rupnik case

October 27, 2023

Pope Francis has belatedly lifted the statute of limitations in the case of Father Marko Rupnik, allowing the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to investigate multiple charges of sexual abuse against the former Jesuit.

In announcing the Pope’s action on October 27, the Vatican press office made no reference to the uproar created this week by news that Father Rupnik had been accepted for ministry in a Slovenian diocese. Instead the Vatican statement said that in September the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors had brought “serious problems in the handling” of the case to the Pope’s attention.

The abuse charges against Rupnik began to emerge last year, with more than a dozen women religious eventually reporting sexual and spiritual abuse. (It was also revealed that Rupnik had been excommunicated for abuse of the confessional—a penalty that was quickly lifted.) At the time the Vatican explained that Rupnik was not subject to a disciplinary process for the reported abuse because the reports involved incidents from some years ago.

Pope Francis declined to lift the statute of limitations in this case—although he has routinely lifted it in other cases involving clerical abuse. He explained that he does not lift the statute of limitations when the abuse involves adult victims.

The October 27 Vatican statement did not indicate when the Pope had reversed himself and decided to lift the statute of limitations, but suggested that the Pontiff’s thinking had been influenced by this month’s meeting of the Synod on Synodality—rather than by the angry reactions to the news that Rupnik had been accepted into active ministry in the Diocese of Koper, Slovenia, in spite of the multiple abuse reports. The Vatican statement concluded:

The Pope is firmly convinced that if there is one thing the Church must learn from the Synod it is to listen attentively and compassionately to those who are suffering, especially those who feel marginalized from the Church.


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  • Posted by: grateful1 - Oct. 27, 2023 7:02 PM ET USA

    Who is going to investigate Francis? The abuse crisis continues to fester, and he has placed himself -- and his cronies -- at the center of it.

  • Posted by: padre3536 - Oct. 27, 2023 2:10 PM ET USA

    sadly, what a dark evil....he's just 'realizing this'....been saying it for years, but is just lip service, the voice of the heart and actions spoke a thousand contrary, anguishing words to God's little ones and all of heaven, earth and purgatory...sad, may it be a time of conversion and repentance fully.........

  • Posted by: feedback - Oct. 27, 2023 10:46 AM ET USA

    I imagine how the Catholic people, and also the priests, of the Slovenian Diocese of Koper have communicated in no uncertain terms to the Bishop their lack of excitement over Rupnik as their newest addition to the spiritual leaders. The festering case of Rupnik is rather odd first order of business for the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.