Jesuit artist was excommunicated before latest abuse report, superior says

ROME (CNS) ─ The superior general of the Jesuits
confirmed that Father Marko Rupnik, a Slovenian Jesuit and artist in restricted
ministry because of abuse allegations, earlier had been excommunicated for what
canon law describes as “the absolution of an accomplice in a sin against
the Sixth Commandment,” a reference to sex.

Father
Rupnik incurred excommunication automatically when he heard the confession and
granted absolution, but the excommunication was confirmed by the
then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said Father Arturo Sosa,
superior general of the order.

At
his annual pre-Christmas meeting with reporters Dec. 14, Father Sosa said the
excommunication was lifted when Father Rupnik admitted his wrongdoing, repented
and wrote a formal request for forgiveness.

Several
Italian blogs reported that the case involved a consecrated Italian woman and
that the doctrinal office’s investigation of that allegation was conducted from
2019 to 2020.

The
Jesuits had confirmed in early December that the Dicastery for the Doctrine of
the Faith received another complaint about Father Rupnik in 2021 involving
members of a women’s religious community in Slovenia; Father Rupnik was a
spiritual adviser to the community in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The
doctrinal office asked the Jesuits to conduct a preliminary investigation,
which they entrusted to a religious from another order, the Jesuits’ Dec. 2
statement said. A report was submitted to the doctrinal office, which
“closed the case” because the statute of limitations had expired.

Still,
the Jesuits said in early December, Father Rupnik, whose mosaics decorate
chapels in the Vatican, all over Europe, in the United States and Australia,
continues to have restrictions placed on his ministry by the Jesuits. He is
barred from hearing confessions, offering spiritual direction and leading
retreats, and he is required to have the permission of his local superior
before publishing articles or books or engaging in any public ministry.

Father
Rupnik may continue celebrating Mass and making art, Father Sosa told reporters
at the pre-Christmas gathering.

The
restrictions imposed were determined by “the type of situation that was
reported” by the victims, he said, describing them as “surpassing the
limits” of what is appropriate in a relationship between adults when a
priest is carrying out his ministry.

Father
Sosa said Father Rupnik was heavily involved in the formation of the
“Skupnosti Loyola” or Loyola Community, a new religious community in
Ljubljana, Slovenia, but when relationships in the community became
“conflictive,” his local Jesuit superior sent Father Rupnik to Rome.

In
formal remarks to reporters, Father Sosa said the case shows “how much we
still have to learn, especially about people’s suffering. This case, like
others, causes us shock and sorrow; it forces us to understand and empathize
with the suffering of all those involved in one form or another.”

While
“scrupulously” following the procedures required by civil and canon
law, he said, the Jesuits did not want to conceal facts, but they also wanted
to “try to open paths toward healing the wounds produced” for the
victims and to help Father Rupnik recognize and change the way he interacts
with others.

Maintaining
the restrictions on Father Rupnik’s ministry, Father Sosa said, “goes
beyond” the juridical requirements of the case but is part of the
“long process” of helping his victims and helping Father Rupnik
recognize his abuse and change.

Asked
by Associated Press why the Jesuits did not mention the earlier excommunication
in their statement Dec. 2, Father Sosa said, “These were two different
cases.”

https://www.detroitcatholic.com/news/jesuit-artist-was-excommunicated-before-latest-abuse-report-superior-says