Verschueren noted that Rupnik “persisted in total refusal, which led to his ‘dimissio non-petens’” (unrequested dismissal) and his expulsion from the Society of Jesus.
“We asked the bishop [of Koper] whether he would change his opinion after having received the information. He apparently did not,” the Jesuit official added.
Who had to approve Rupnik’s transfer
Father Fernando Puig, a doctor of canon law and professor of church organization and government at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, explained that Rupnik “was incardinated in the Society of Jesus, not in the Vicariate of Rome, so the diocesan authorities [the pope, who is the bishop, and his vicar], did not have to intervene.”
According to Canon 269 of the Code of Canon Law, “no one in Rome has to approve this transfer of the bond of incardination,” Puig said.
Puig explained that from the point of view of canon law, despite his expulsion from the Society of Jesus, “there is no problem” with Rupnik having been accepted in another diocese.
Puig, a Spanish Opus Dei priest, explained that “the norm and praxis is that there are no so-called ‘idle’ priests,” that is, that they are not incardinated in a particular Church or in a specific community.
Regarding Pope Francis’ decision to lift the statute of limitations in the Rupnik case and asking the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to review the case and to allow a process to take place, he said that it doesn’t alter Rupnik’s status.
For Father Eduardo Baura de la Peña, a doctor in canon law from the University of Navarra in Spain, there is a “void” in canon law for cases in which a cleric is expelled from a religious order, but from a strictly canonical point of view, Rupnik’s incardination is legal.
The Jesuits’ handling of the Rupnik case has been widely questioned due to certain contradictions in the chronology of their actions and the order’s alleged negligence in enforcing restrictions against the priest.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
In December 2022, Father Sosa confirmed that Rupnik incurred excommunication in 2019 for absolving in confession a woman with whom he had sexual relations. The Jesuits were aware of this fact but didn’t make it public until the scandal broke out over the alleged abuse committed by the Slovenian priest.
The Jesuits said that Rupnik had been under ministerial restrictions since 2019. However, the artist continued to preach online, receiving public praise, and in March 2020 he even preached the first Lenten sermon to Pope Francis and the Roman Curia.
Last week it was reported that the pope decided to lift the statute of limitations and the Vatican will begin an investigation into the complaints against Rupnik.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.