The timeline released by the Society of Jesus notes that in June 2019, after the then Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considered the accusations credible, the Jesuits imposed certain restrictions on the priest, although they did not specify what they were.
Asked by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, about the application of these restrictions, Verschueren said on Dec. 15, 2022, that “the weak point of them is the interpretation of the local superior; hence the last public appearances of Father Rupnik were in accordance with the measures. The local superior allowed it.”
“We are aware of this problem, and we are honestly upset about it. It is obvious that we need to adjust the weak point of the measures as they were put in the previous decree; we are working on it,” Verschueren said.
Asked again in January 2023, Verschueren confirmed to ACI Prensa that between 2018 and 2020 the restrictions on Rupnik were limited to prohibiting him from hearing confessions, giving women spiritual direction, and leading the Spiritual Exercises.
Father Johan Verschueren (2020–present)
From 2020 to today, the superior of the priest accused of sexual abuse is Verschueren, current general councilor and delegate for Houses and Interprovincial Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome.
Verschueren was born in Berchem, Belgium, in 1960, entered the Society of Jesus in 1985, and was ordained a priest in 1995. He has studied botanical sciences, philosophy, and theology.
In statements to ACI Prensa, Verschueren expressed his confidence that the testimony of the alleged victims of Rupnik “now opens up hope for many persons to come without fear.”
Although he did not confirm the current whereabouts of the priest accused of abuse, he said he had asked Rupnik not to leave Italy’s Lazio region because of new ongoing investigations that he hopes will be made public in February.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.