Fr. Rupnik, originally from Slovenia, has been accused of the sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuse of women from a religious community in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Newsroom (26/01/2023 3:20 PM, Gaudium Press) — The Society of Jesus has asked Father Marko Rupnik to stay close to Rome as more alleged victims of the Jesuit priest and artist go public with their stories.
Father Johan Verschueren, SJ, major superior for the international houses of the Jesuits, said that he had asked Rupnik “not to leave Lazio,” the Italian region surrounding Rome.
It is still unclear whether Verschueren or the superior general of the Jesuits, Father Arturo Sosa, is Rupnik’s direct superior.
Rupnik, originally from Slovenia, has been accused of the sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuse of women from a religious community with which he was formerly connected.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Vatican dropped an investigation into the claims in October 2022 due to the statute of limitations.
Verschueren said he asked the 68-year-old Rupnik to remain in Lazio “in order to be available for some ongoing preliminary inquiries” related to new information and new allegations the Jesuits have received.
In mid-December, the Jesuits said they had a few months prior set up a team of people to deal with abuse-related issues and asked victims of the priest to report abuse complaints to them.
At the beginning of January, The Daily Compass news site reported that Rupnik was living in a monastery.
Asked on Jan. 23 where Rupnik was, and if he might have been living outside of Italy, Verschueren said this “would surprise me greatly.”
Verschueren said the Jesuits might release further information about the new inquiries into Rupnik in February.
The first complaints against Rupnik became public in early December after Italian websites published stories with reports that Rupnik had abused consecrated women in the Loyola Community.
In a statement dated Dec. 2, 2022, the Jesuits said the order had put Rupnik under restrictions for a complaint received in 2021.
The Jesuits later confirmed that Rupnik had incurred excommunication “latae sententiae” for absolving an accomplice in confessing a sin against the Sixth Commandment. The Vatican lifted the excommunication in May 2020, the same month it had been officially declared.
In the nearly two months since then, reports of alleged abuse by Rupnik with then-young women under his spiritual guidance have continued to be published under aliases.
Italian newspaper Il Domani published Monday an interview with another alleged victim of Rupnik who stated that the priest pressured her to join the Loyola Community at 23.
The woman shared explicit details of the sexual acts Rupnik subjected her to over several years in her early 20s and the spiritual manipulation and grooming behaviour that started as early as her mid-teens.
Rupnik was the creator of the official image of the 2022 World Meeting of Families, and for more than 30 years, he has designed mosaic artworks for chapels, churches, and shrines worldwide, including the Vatican.
In March 2020, Rupnik preached the first Lenten sermon for the pope and the Roman Curia at the Vatican.
- Raju Hasmukh with files from CNA