Rome Newsroom, Jul 24, 2023 / 11:30 am
The former superior of the now-expelled Father Marko Rupnik has stated that “internal procedures” at the Vatican prevented the Jesuit order from prosecuting the disgraced artist priest more vigorously for his sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuse of several women, according to an Associated Press report published Monday.
A communication officer at the Jesuit curia in Rome confirmed to CNA that the AP report, based on a letter written by Father Johan Verschueren, the major superior for the Jesuits’ international houses, is accurate.
In the letter, Verschuren confirmed that Rupnik is no longer a Jesuit after the Slovenian priest did not appeal his June expulsion before a July 14 deadline. The decree of expulsion was issued for what the Jesuits said at the time was Rupnik’s “stubborn refusal to observe the vow of obedience” after he had refused direction from his superiors to enter into a process of reparation for his abusive behavior.
Responding to criticisms that Rupnik is still a priest, Verschueren wrote that the Vatican’s current legislation “precluded an investigation that could have led to a harsher penalty,” according to the AP. The Vatican strengthened its laws to criminalize clerical abuse of adults in June 2021 but did not retroactively apply them to reported acts of abuse committed by Rupnik between 1985 and 2018 that had been found credible by the Jesuits’ investigative team.