“However, administrative law, which secures the quality of religious life, is of the competence of the major superior. And, as the Society of Jesus wants to take measures to ensure the highest standards in our ministry, the measures are still in place,” he added.
“We don’t need the results of the penal process for the taking of preventive measures,” Verschueren emphasized. “And even when the focus points of DDF are declared time-barred, this doesn’t change anything with respect to our legal (administrative) perspective. Hence, measures can be imposed, proportionate, just, effective in order to assure maximum security for the people of God.”
Jesuit bishop confirms basis for referral
Rupnik is a world-renowned artist whose works include projects in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, the Knights of Columbus’ National Shrine to John Paul II in Washington, D.C., the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de Almudena in Madrid, and the Fatima Shrine.
Rupnik made the logo for the Jubilee of Mercy called by Pope Francis on Dec. 8, 2015, and was in charge of creating the official image of the 10th World Meeting of Families held in 2022.
In the early 1990s, together with Sister Ivanka Hosta, Rupnik was involved in the founding of the Loyola Community in Ljubljana (Slovenia), a women’s institute of religious life.
By 1993, the Jesuit priest ended his involvement with the Loyola Community after apparent conflicts with Sister Hosta and went to Rome, together with several of the nuns, and created the Aletti Center, which was dedicated to the promotion of religious art and its connection with Ignatian spirituality.
In 2020, former members of the Loyola Community turned to the Holy See to report abuses involving coercion and control that were experienced within the institution dating back to the years during which Rupnik served as the community’s chaplain.
The Vatican then appointed Bishop Daniele Libanori, a Jesuit and auxiliary bishop of Rome, as apostolic commissioner. In the process of his investigation, Libanori became aware of sexual abuse allegations against Rupnik, which he referred to the Vatican, Left.it reported.
In a Dec. 9 statement to ACI Prensa, Libanori said that in the case of Rupnik the DDF “was the competent authority at that time.”
“When a case is presented, the authority to which the complainant remits sends it to the ordinary of the subject reported for investigation. Once the investigation is finished, the conclusions must be sent to the competent dicastery, which in turn must decide how to proceed,” Libanori told ACI Prensa.
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“The Society of Jesus did what it was obliged to do and, so that there was no appearance of impropriety, it entrusted the investigation to a person outside the Society itself,” he said, referring to a Dominican religious who interviewed several people.
“As for the competent dicastery, at the time of the investigation the competent one was the DDF,” he said.
Libanori also maintained that appointing a commissioner to the Loyola Community has not been kept secret. “The appointing of a commissioner to the Loyola Community has been made public in the appropriate forum, that is, the Church,” he said. “I myself duly informed all the bishops in whose dioceses there is a house of the institute.”
Are the restrictions on Rupnik being obeyed?
Another question relating to the aftermath of the Vatican’s involvement in the Rupnik case is whether the measures the Society of Jesus imposed on the priest are being obeyed.
The religious order’s statement made clear that Rupnik was adjoined from “conducting the Spiritual Exercises” and “forbidden to engage in public activities without the permission of his local superior.”