Rupnik Dismissed from Jesuits

The priest and artist Father Marko Rupnik was dismissed from the Jesuits this month, according to the religious order.

Newsroom (17/06/2023 Gaudium Press) The Jesuit priest and artist Father Marko Rupnik has been dismissed from the Jesuits due to his “stubborn refusal to observe the vow of obedience,” according to a statement from the Society of Jesus.

Rupnik had been asked to change communities and “accept a new mission,” the statement said. “Faced with Marko Rupnik’s repeated refusal to obey this mandate, we were unfortunately left with only one solution: dismissal from the Society of Jesus.” Under canon law, Rupnik has 30 days to appeal the decision.

The Jesuits had opened an internal procedure against Rupnik in February after receiving accusations of physical and psychological abuse against him spanning from 1985 to 2018. The allegations included claims of spiritual, psychological, and sexual abuse, as well as abuse of conscience. The investigating team delivered its dossier on the accusations in February, leading to restrictions being imposed on Rupnik’s ministry.

The restrictions included changing communities and accepting a new mission as a last chance for Rupnik to come to terms with his past and provide a clear signal to the victims who had testified against him. However, media reports suggest that Rupnik defied these orders and engaged in activities such as travelling to Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hvar Island in Croatia for art projects, despite being directed to remain in central Italy and not participate in public artistic activities.

Father Johan Verschueren, Rupnik’s superior, confirmed the accuracy of these reports and stated that Rupnik’s travels were a serious transgression of the imposed restrictions. Rupnik visited Mostar as a guest of the Franciscan Order for the closing of the renovation of a church, and he travelled to Hvar Island to study the possible restoration of a chapel at the request of the bishop. Since January, Rupnik had been asked not to leave central Italy for ongoing preliminary investigations, and since February, he had been prohibited from engaging in public artistic work, particularly related to religious structures.

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The dismissal of Father Marko Rupnik from the Jesuits comes in response to his refusal to comply with orders and allegations of abuse, and the case remains subject to further legal proceedings and appeals.

Rupnik was well known in the Church as the director of the Centro Aletti, an institute founded in the 1990s at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome as a centre of art, theology, and culture.

His mosaics decorate some of the most prominent Catholic pilgrimage destinations, including Lourdes and the crypt chapel in San Giovanni Rotondo, which contains Padre Pio’s tomb.

  • Raju Hasmukh with files from CNA

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