Rupnik’s superior, Father Johan Verschueren S.J., stated in the decree that Rupnik had been offered “one last chance as a Jesuit to deal with his past and to give a clear signal to the numerous injured people who testified against him, in order to enter a path of truth.”
Faced with Marko Rupnik’s repeated refusal to obey this mandate, unfortunately there is only one solution left: dismissal from the Society of Jesus.
As extensively reported by LifeSiteNews, Rupnik has been accused of psychologically and sexually abusing 20 of the 40 religious sisters in the Loyola Community in Slovenia, of which he was a co-founder. The revelations and allegations became public in late 2022.
After the Jesuit Order issued an open call for any more victims to come forward in December 2022, a further 15 people accused the priest of having abused them, with male victims also coming forward. Rupnik was accused of abusing victims at his Rome-based Aletti Center.
The Jesuit Referral Team for Complaint Cases has compiled a 150-page dossier of reported instances of abuse which Rupnik is said to have committed. These date from 1985 to 2018, and in March Verschueren stated the credibility of the allegations against Rupnik was “very high.”
In a separate offense, Rupnik was also automatically excommunicated and found guilty by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s court of absolving in confession a woman with whom he had sexual relations. He subsequently had the penalty revoked – with much speculation over whether Pope Francis personally intervened to swiftly lift the excommunication.
According to the Jesuits the excommunication was lifted by a “CDF decree later that month.” This was reportedly due to Rupnik repenting of his actions, although traditional Catholic blog Messa in Latino consistently argues that the excommunication was lifted by Francis “within hours.”
Rupnik will now have 30 days to appeal the decision, after which it becomes final. However, he will still remain a priest, with the decree only removing him from being a Jesuit. Regarding this, Verschueren wrote: “If and only when Fr. Marko Rupnik’s resignation from the Society becomes final, it will be possible to explore the issues further. Not before.”
The striking news of Rupnik’s dismissal comes in the wake of recent reports that he has continued to ignore restrictions placed on his movements and his ministry. Italian news outlet Domani reported June 9 that the priest had recently been on trips to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia – trips which directly defied the directive given to Rupnik to remain in the Lazio region in which Rome is situated.
Indeed, since 2019 – even prior to the details of his case becoming known in late 2022 – Rupnik has been subject to restrictions on his public ministry and movement. They include having to “avoid private, in-depth spiritual contacts with persons” and being “forbidden to confess women, and to give spiritual direction to women.”
Verschueren added in March that the restrictions also include a “ban on public communication, ban on leaving the Lazio Region.”
Yet, despite the immense publicity focused on him since December 2022, Rupnik persisted in his public actions, celebrating a Mass in the Basilica of Santa Praessede on March 5. Verschueren stated in February that Rupnik had rejected previous opportunities to assist the inquiries being made into his actions.
A new investigation was launched into Rupnik’s activities in the spring, prior to which fresh restrictions were placed on him, including a ban on any public artistic actions, “especially towards religious facilities (such as churches, institutions, oratories and chapels, exercise or spirituality houses).”
Then in late April, Domani also revealed Rupnik’s 90 percent ownership of an art company which he founded in 2007, which he held in violation of his Jesuit vows, and which was turning over millions of euros.
Verschueren denied any knowledge of Rupnik’s ownership of the company, named Rossoroblu, stating “this is completely new news for me and also quite shocking because it is against the vow of poverty.”
Rupnik continued to refuse to cooperate with the investigation launched during the spring, thus repeating his prior refusal to cooperate with the Jesuit’s prior investigation.
Additionally, Rupnik’s writings have been subject to scrutiny as part of the investigations into the priest. According to Verschueren, a theologian found “transgressive” issues with Rupnik’s conferences on sexuality from the 1980s and 1990s. The theologian said the text “gave an opening to legitimize certain actions that aren’t correct.”
Presuming Rupnik does not appeal the decision, he will therefore cease to be a Jesuit after the 30-day period is over. But given his history of ignoring the restrictions placed on him, such an outcome might be his preference, given that he will no longer be subject to the official Jesuit restrictions, and will thus be a free agent.
In a February 2023 statement, Verschueren stated that the allegations received about Rupnik “[tend] to exclude the criminal relevance, before the Italian judicial authority, of Father Rupnik’s behavior.” Provided no new allegations are brought which are civilly illegal, Rupnik’s fate will be no worse than expulsion from an order whose authority he was already ignoring.
Indeed, the disgraced priest continues to enjoy papal promotion, with Pope Francis highlighting one of Rupnik’s pieces of art in a recent video message. Published online June 1 by the Vatican, the video showed the Pope deliver brief thoughts to the 16th Marian Congress, then being held in Apericda.
In the two minutes and 20 seconds video, Francis devoted just under one minute to show the camera Rupnik’s image of the Mother with the Christ Child, which resides in the Pope’s rooms in the Casa Santa Marta hotel.
Not only this, but as noted by many online, the Vatican News channels continue to use Rupnik’s artwork for various feasts and occasions throughout the liturgical year, including the recent and upcoming feasts of Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart.