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Fr. Rupnik leading a spiritual reflection for Pope Francis and assembled Vatican official, February 2016. Screenshot/YouTube

ROME (LifeSiteNews) — In a seeming rejection of the restrictions placed upon his public ministry, disgraced Jesuit Father Marko Ivan Rupnik concelebrated Mass in a Roman church this past weekend. 

Newly formed Italian news outlet Domani reported that Fr. Rupnik was one of the concelebrants for the 9 a.m. Sunday morning Mass on March 5 in the Basilica of Santa Prassede. The church rests in the shadows of the Basilica of St. Mary Major and is home to the pillar on which Christ was scourged. 

According to Domani, the Mass attended by a number of staff from Rupnik’s Aletti Center, which he led in Rome from its inception until the start of restrictions upon him in 2019. This included the director as well as fellow Jesuits and lay students of the center. 

The report noted that Rupnik was vested and took an active part in concelebrating the Mass, pronouncing the words of Consecration, as is customary in the concelebrated form of the Novus Ordo.

According to Domani, three of the Aletti Center’s key directorial staff – Maria Campatelli, Michelina Tenace, Manuela Viezzoli – are all former nuns of the community Rupnik founded and who followed him to Rome at the founding of the Aletti Center.

Yet the question remains as to why Rupnik was permitted to participate in the Mass.

Marko Rupnik’s mural at the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes. Credit: DyziO/Shutterstock

Rupnik has been accused of psychologically and sexually abusing religious sisters in the Loyola Community in Slovenia, of which he was a co-founder. The priest is alleged to have abused around 20 of the 40 nuns in the community, and 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. 

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.

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. 

Fr. Johan Verschueren, the delegate of Jesuit Superior Fr. General Arturo Sosa and Rupnik’s superior, declared in the latest statement from the Order that the credibility of Rupnik’s alleged abuse was deemed to be “very high.”

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 recently that the restrictions include a “ban on public communication, ban on leaving the Lazio Region.”

Now, though, the Jesuits are beginning a fresh investigation into Rupnik’s actions, during which the accused priest “can give his version of the facts.” This may lead to disciplinary action, stated Verschueren in February.

As a precursor to the entire upcoming procedure, Verschueren announced last month that the pre-existing restrictions on Rupnik had been tightened to now include a ban on any public artistic actions, “especially towards religious facilities (such as churches, institutions, oratories and chapels, exercise or spirituality houses).”

With Rupnik thus firmly banned “from any public ministerial and sacramental activity,” a ban which has only increased in recent weeks, it remains unclear as to why he was concelebrating a public Mass on Sunday.

LifeSiteNews contacted Fr. Verschueren to ask him about this but did not receive a response by time of publication. LifeSite also contacted staff at the Basilica of Santa Prassede but did not receive a response.

However, in comments provided to ACI Prensa, Verschueren stated that Rupnik was permitted only “to concelebrate Masses in the context of the Aletti Center, which is his inner circle, his community.”

Verschueren was wary about commenting further on Sunday’s Mass, saying that he had been unable to confirm the local reports — despite being Rupnik’s superior — and thus wished “not to make judgments about things that I am not absolutely sure about.”

The reported Mass further highlights Rupnik’s non-compliance with the investigations underway. 

In February, Verschueren stated that Rupnik rejected previous opportunities to assist the inquiries being made into his actions. However, this detail raises a question about details previously given by the Jesuits. 

In May 2020, the CDF pronounced that Rupnik had indeed absolved an accomplice, meaning that he had incurred the latae sententiae excommunication, an excommunication that — according to the Jesuits — was lifted by a “CDF decree later that month.” This was reportedly due to Rupnik repenting of his actions, although Messa in Latino consistently argue that the excommunication was lifted by Francis “within hours.”

Yet as Rupnik’s case continues, it appears harder to believe that Rupnik did indeed repent in 2020, resulting in the lifting of the excommunication, since he is refusing to cooperate with the Jesuit’s own investigation now. 

Verschueren has hinted at future disciplinary procedures should Rupnik refuse to comply or obey the restrictions placed upon him. 

With Rupnik’s continued actions, it could be that he does not fear the threatened penalties will materialize. Conversely, the disgraced Jesuit might be being deliberately uncooperative in order to be removed from the Jesuit Order and thus be free of the Order’s control.