The Jesuit superior had previously said that removing Rupnik from the clerical state or ordering the abuser priest into a life of penance were possible options, but, under present norms, Rupnik remains a priest without any direct supervision and he hypothetically could be put into ministry by a sympathetic bishop.
In his letter, Verschuren also noted that the Jesuits would disaffiliate from the Centro Aletti, an artistic community founded by Rupnik in the 1990s and has since been linked canonically with the order.
The controversy surrounding Rupnik, whose mosaics can be found in some of the most prominent Catholic religious sites in the world and have been regularly used in Vatican initiatives, has raised serious questions about the Society of Jesus’ handling of abuse claims — and also of Pope Francis’ role in the matter.
Knowledge of Rupnik’s abuse — which he is alleged to have inflicted upon religious sisters during his time as the leader of the Loyola Community in Slovenia in the 1980s, but also in the following decades — only became public knowledge after Italian media began reporting on accusations of abuse.
The superior general of the Society of Jesus, Father Arturo Sosa, confirmed on Dec. 14, 2022, that Rupnik had been excommunicated in May 2020 for having absolved one of his accomplices, a measure that was lifted that same month after he repented.
During a Jan. 24 AP interview, Pope Francis was asked if he had any role in deciding Rupnik’s case, to which he replied: “I had nothing to do with this,” adding that he was only “involved in a small process that came to the Congregation of Faith in the past.”