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Pope Francis greeting Fr. Rupnik in January 2022Vatican News

KOPER, Slovenia (LifeSiteNews) — The disgraced ex-Jesuit priest Father Marko Rupnik has been incardinated into a diocese in his native Slovenia after he was expelled from the Jesuits during the summer. 

After reports circulated earlier Wednesday morning, confirmation from the Diocese of Koper was sent to, stating that Rupnik “has been incardinated in the Slovenian diocese of Koper.”

The Diocese confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Rupnik “was received into the Diocese of Koper at the end of August 2023.”

The local bishop admitted Rupnik following the priest’s own request to join the diocese, the spokesman stated, “and on the basis of the fact that Rupnik had not been sentenced to any judicial sentence.”

The spokesman cited the Declaration on Human Rights, article 11, stating: “Everyone who is accused of a criminal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until he is found guilty according to law, in a public proceeding in which he is given every opportunity necessary for his defence.” 

“Until such time as the above sentence is pronounced on Rupnik, he enjoys all the rights and duties of diocesan priests,” the diocese’s statement ended.

The now highly public affair of Rupnik’s alleged misdeeds has thus culminated in the priest being allowed to practice as a regular priest in the diocese, apparently with full freedom of ministry. 

This comes despite Rupnik being credibly accused of serial abuse of multiple kinds – ranging from spiritual to sexual – against women and at least one man. 

The abuse is alleged to have taken place against at least 21 of the 40-strong Loyola Community of religious women, which he co-founded in his native Slovenia. A further 15 alleged victims have come forward in the past ten months. 

The Jesuits have compiled a 150-page dossier of reported instances of abuse that Rupnik is said to have committed. These date from 1985 to 2018, and Rupnik’s former superior Father Johan Verschueren, S.J., (Rupnik’s former superior) stated that the credibility of the allegations against Rupnik is “very high.”

Separately, Rupnik was automatically excommunicated by the Vatican in 2020 after the Dicastery (formerly Congregation) for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) unanimously ruled he was guilty of absolving one of his sexual accomplices. 

He subsequently had the penalty swiftly revoked – with much speculation over whether Pope Francis personally intervened to swiftly lift the excommunication.

READ: Fr. Rupnik’s alleged victims accuse Pope Francis of ‘empty’ rhetoric responding to sexual abuse

Rupnik eventually was expelled from the Jesuits during the summer, with the Jesuit Order citing his refusal to comply with restrictions placed upon him as the reason for his discharge. In a statement issued July 24, Verschueren confirmed that Rupnik was no longer a Jesuit. “We can declare today that he is no longer a Jesuit religious,” he wrote.

However, Rupnik’s Rome-based art center – the Aletti Center – issued a statement revealing that Rupnik had already begun an application to leave the Jesuits as far back as January 21, 2023.

LifeSiteNews inquired with a spokesman at the Jesuit Curia in Rome today, asking if they were aware of Rupnik’s move to a Slovenian diocese. The spokesman stated that due to Rupnik no longer being a Jesuit, they were not informed about his actions.

The Jesuit Curial spokesman added, in response to LifeSite’s question, that the restrictions on Rupnik expired when he left the Order. 

Indeed, since 2019 – even prior to the details of his case becoming known in late 2022 – Rupnik had been subject to restrictions by the Jesuits on his public ministry and movement. They included having to “avoid private, in-depth spiritual contacts with persons” and being “forbidden to confess women, and to give spiritual direction to women,” but were considerably expanded over time to include his physical movements and his art-work. 

Rupnik continued to ignore the restrictions, with Verschueren stating earlier this year that the priest was not cooperating with the Jesuit’s own investigation into this alleged abuse. Verschueren added that Rupnik’s actions “[tend] to exclude the criminal relevance,” thus further freeing the alleged abuser priest from any civil penalties.

In practice, with Rupnik’s summer departure from the Jesuits, he has essentially been freed from any infringement on his activity which he was previously living under. Having escaped any canonical censure, aside from the hastily lifted excommunication, Rupnik’s ministry was being solely curtailed by the Jesuits. 

Rupnik still continued to enjoy papal promotion, with Francis highlighting one of Rupnik’s pieces of art in a video message. Published online on June 1 by the Vatican, the video showed the Pope deliver brief thoughts to the 16th Marian Congress, then being held in Aperacida, and showcased an image created by the priest.

More recently, the Diocese of Rome even attempted to rehabilitate Rupnik by casting doubt on the process of excommunication. A diocesan statement, issued as a conclusion of a canonical investigation into Rupnik’s Aletti Center, argued the Center was home to “a healthy community life without particular critical issues,” even though it was a center of Rupnik’s alleged abuse.

The diocesan report also appeared to defend Rupnik from the allegations made against him. It stated how the pontifical visitor to the Aletti Center found “severely anomalous procedures” leading to “well-founded doubts about the request for [Rupnik’s] excommunication.”

In contrast, one of Rupnik’s alleged victims gave detailed descriptions of the instances of abuse that Rupnik performed on her, stating that such events took place “even in his room at the Aletti Center.”

The walls of the Aletti Center were home to Rupnik’s demands for the former nun to engage in “threesomes” with another nun as she attested that, “sexuality had to be according to him free from possession, in the image of the Trinity where, he said, ‘the third gathered the relationship between the two.’”

Another former nun of the community under the pseudonym “Klara” stated that Rupnik began abusing her when she was 16. Rupnik reportedly stated this was “for her own good.” After being psychologically pressured into joining the Loyola Community, Rupnik “began to sexually exploit me as he pleased,” she said, providing explicit details of the continued abuse. 

Klara echoed “Anna” in stating that Rupnik encouraged her to have “threesomes” in imitation of the Trinity, and how this would involve having to “drink his semen from a chalice at dinner.”

READ: Vatican to continue promoting Rupnik’s images despite link to his alleged sex abuse  

The Dicastery for Communications has also decided to continue using his religious images. Such promotion is likely due in part to Natasa Govekar, a member of the Aletti Center, where she works on the “theology of images,” and who is also listed as the director of the Dicastery for Communications’ Theological-Pastoral Department.

Rupnik now appears to have reaped the rewards of the considerable favor he has enjoyed from within the walls of the Vatican and from allies in his homeland.