CV NEWS FEED // The Jesuit order in Rome confirmed Fr. Marko Rupnik’s official expulsion on July 24, but the order cites current Vatican legislation as preventing the defrocking of the sexually and spiritually abusive priest.
According to Rupnik’s Jesuit superior in Rome, Fr. Johan Verschueren, the Vatican’s current legislation prevented a further investigation that could have led to Rupnik’s laicization. Now that Rupnik has been expelled, the Jesuits’ previous restrictions on his priestly capabilities no longer apply.
Rupnik only needs to find a bishop willing to take him into the diocese in order for him to be able to preach and perform the sacraments again, AP News reported. Given that Rupnik has supporters within the Church, his renewed activity as a Catholic priest is possible.
As previously reported by CatholicVote, Rupnik was well-known for his mosaics adorning major churches and chapels worldwide before his scandal broke in 2022.
In December 2022, the Jesuits publicly confirmed that Rupnik was operating under ministry restrictions due to accusations of sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse. The order also confirmed that Rupnik had been excommunicated for a short time in 2020 for absolving a woman with whom he had had sex. In February 2023, the Jesuits launched an official internal investigation of Rupnik.
The Jesuit order officially expelled Rupnik on June 9, according to a June 15 statement from Fr. Verschueren.
Verschueren confirmed the final expulsion on July 24 in another statement, as reported by AP News. Due to Church law, the Jesuit order gave Rupnik a month to appeal his expulsion, which he did not do. Rupnik still remains a Catholic priest but has been officially and permanently removed from the Jesuit order, Verschueren explained in the statement.
Rupnik now has no religious supervision, preventing him from becoming active in the Church once more. Verschueren said that the Jesuits are unsure what will happen in Rupnik’s future.
AP reported that Verschueren expressed regret about the Church’s apparent lack of immediate action in response to the allegations against Rupnik.
“I cannot help but greatly regret this insistent and stubborn inability to deal with the voice of so many people who have felt hurt, offended, and humiliated by his behavior and his way of acting and behaving towards them,” he wrote in the July 24 statement. “To all those who have felt and still feel hurt by this once-brother of ours, I assure you of my full solidarity.”
Verschueren and the Jesuits in Rome did not respond to a request for a copy of the letter or a request for comment at the time of publication.