Prominent Priest Rupnik Expelled by Jesuits Following Allegations of Abuse against Adult Women

by Madison Thomas
priest abuse

The Jesuit religious order, led by Pope Francis, announced on Thursday the expulsion of Reverend Marko Ivan Rupnik, a prominent Slovenian priest, due to allegations of sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuses against adult women. The Jesuits released a statement obtained by The Big Big News, stating that Rupnik was dismissed from the order on June 9 for his persistent refusal to adhere to the vow of obedience.

Reverend Marko Ivan Rupnik is renowned in the Catholic Church as a celebrated religious artist, known for his mosaic artwork adorning churches and basilicas worldwide, including at the Vatican.

Late last year, the Jesuits acknowledged multiple accusations made by women, spanning over a 30-year period, regarding sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuses by Rupnik. However, he had largely evaded punishment, possibly due to his elevated status within the church and at the Vatican, where questions were raised even about Pope Francis’ involvement in the case.

The Jesuit statement mentioned that Rupnik has a 30-day window to appeal the expulsion order. Although he remains a priest, he will no longer hold the status of a Jesuit priest.

The Rupnik scandal gained significant attention in December when Italian blogs and websites reported that consecrated women had been lodging complaints of abuse for years, only to have their claims discredited or covered up by Rupnik’s superiors. The case presented a challenge for the Vatican and the Jesuits, as suspicions arose regarding preferential treatment given to the charismatic priest by the Holy See, which is headed by a Jesuit pope and houses Jesuit priests in prominent positions within the sex abuse office.

Following the eruption of these allegations, the Jesuits reluctantly admitted that Rupnik had been excommunicated in 2020 for committing one of the gravest crimes in church law: using the confessional to absolve a woman with whom he had engaged in sexual activity. However, Rupnik expressed repentance, leading to a swift removal of the sanction.

The subsequent year, nine women accused Rupnik of sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse during the 1990s at a community he co-founded in Slovenia. Although the Jesuits recommended a church trial, the Vatican’s sex abuse office declined to waive the statute of limitations, deeming the crimes too old to prosecute.

This outcome highlighted the routine tendency of the Catholic hierarchy to disregard spiritual and sexual abuse of adult women as punishable crimes, categorizing them instead as mere breaches of priestly chastity that can be forgiven, without fully considering the trauma experienced by the victims.

After the scandal, the Jesuits encouraged anyone with additional claims against Rupnik to come forward, resulting in 15 people stepping forward. The Jesuits subsequently requested Rupnik’s response, which he refused to provide, as stated in Thursday’s announcement.

“Consequently, we compelled Father Marko Rupnik to relocate and undertake a new mission, offering him a final opportunity as a Jesuit to come to terms with his past and to send a clear message to the numerous aggrieved individuals who testified against him, encouraging them to embark on a path of truth,” the statement explained. “Faced with Marko Rupnik’s persistent refusal to comply with this directive, we were regrettably left with only one recourse: his resignation from the Society of Jesus.”

Pope Francis’ involvement in the Rupnik case also raised questions, considering the remarkably swift reversal of his excommunication and the Vatican’s refusal to waive the statute of limitations for the subsequent allegations. In a January 24 interview with The Big Big News, Pope Francis denied any role in the handling of Rupnik’s case

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about priest abuse

Q: Why was Father Marko Ivan Rupnik expelled by the Jesuits?

A: Father Marko Ivan Rupnik was expelled from the Jesuit religious order due to allegations of sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuses against adult women. His persistent refusal to adhere to the vow of obedience led to his dismissal.

Q: What is the background of Father Marko Ivan Rupnik?

A: Father Marko Ivan Rupnik is a prominent Slovenian priest and celebrated religious artist in the Catholic Church. His mosaic artwork can be found in churches and basilicas worldwide, including the Vatican.

Q: How were the allegations against Father Rupnik handled by the Jesuits and the Vatican?

A: Initially, the Jesuits acknowledged the allegations made by multiple women against Father Rupnik. However, he largely escaped punishment, raising concerns about preferential treatment. The Vatican’s sex abuse office declined to waive the statute of limitations for the crimes alleged.

Q: Was Pope Francis involved in the handling of Father Rupnik’s case?

A: Pope Francis’ involvement in the Rupnik case came into question. While he denied any direct involvement, there were suspicions regarding the quick reversal of Rupnik’s excommunication and the Vatican’s decision not to prosecute the subsequent allegations.

Q: What consequences did Father Rupnik face after the allegations?

A: Father Rupnik was expelled from the Jesuit order, but he remains a priest. The expulsion serves as a response to his refusal to comply with addressing his past actions and offer a resolution to the aggrieved individuals.

Q: How did the Rupnik case shed light on the treatment of abuse against adult women in the Catholic Church?

A: The Rupnik case underscored the routine tendency within the Catholic hierarchy to downplay spiritual and sexual abuse of adult women, treating them as lapses in priestly chastity rather than punishable crimes. This approach fails to fully consider the trauma experienced by the victims.

More about priest abuse

  • The Big Big News – Source of the statement from the Jesuits regarding the expulsion of Father Rupnik.
  • Vatican News – Provides information on Pope Francis’ role in the Rupnik case and his denial of involvement.
  • Catholic News Agency – Covers the background and details of the allegations against Father Rupnik and the handling of the case by the Jesuits and the Vatican.

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Luv2SpeakOut June 15, 2023 - 5:16 pm

It’s about time these cases are brought to light. Adult women deserve the same protection and acknowledgment as any other victim. Let’s hope this expulsion leads to a deeper examination of how the Church handles abuse allegations.

CuriousMind June 15, 2023 - 7:35 pm

I wonder if there are more cases like this within the Catholic Church. It’s troubling to think that some perpetrators might receive special treatment due to their status. Transparency and action are crucial for healing and preventing future abuse.

Bookworm17 June 15, 2023 - 8:59 pm

This is a shocking revelation! How could the church cover up such heinous acts? The victims deserve justice and accountability. It’s disheartening to see these abuses persist.

SoccerFan88 June 16, 2023 - 7:19 am

This news is really disappointing. I admired Father Rupnik for his artistic talents, but it’s clear that fame doesn’t excuse or justify his actions. No one should be above the law, regardless of their position within the Church.


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