Vatican reopens case of accused priest-artist


Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican to revisit the case of Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, a renowned priest-artist accused of sexually, psychologically and spiritually abusing adult women.

The Vatican has removed the statute of limitations that had previously hindered a church trial based on these allegations.

The case of Rupnik (pictured) has garnered global attention due to the accusations against the once-revered Jesuit.

Rupnik is known for his remarkable mosaic artistry that graces churches and basilicas worldwide.

A Vatican statement disclosed that the Pope’s abuse prevention commission identified “serious problems” in the initial handling of the case.  The “lack of outreach to victims” was particularly emphasised.

Pope Francis has directed the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, responsible for addressing abuse-related crimes in church law, to “review the case and decide to lift the statute of limitations to allow a trial to take place.”

The Jesuits initiated an internal procedure to investigate sexual abuse accusations against Rupnik dating from 1985 to 2018. The accusations were deemed “highly credible.”

But the Jesuits said the Vatican’s canonical norms in force at the time of the alleged abuse precluded a canonical trial or harsher punishment.

In the end, the Jesuits expelled Rupnik not because of allegations of abuse but because of his “stubborn refusal to observe the vow of obedience.”

Innocent until proven guilty

Simultaneously, it has been announced that Father Rupnik has been accepted for priestly ministry in the Diocese of Koper, Slovenia.

The diocese confirmed Rupnik’s acceptance. It emphasised that it aligns with Article 11.1 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This article asserts the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a public trial.

Currently, Rupnik enjoys all the rights and duties of diocesan priests within the Diocese of Koper. The diocese covers the westernmost side of Slovenia and is home to 266,000 inhabitants.

Rupnik’s former Jesuit superior welcomed Friday’s Vatican announcement of an impending church trial against the accused priest-artist. The Rev. Johan Verschueren saw it as a “major step” toward justice for both the alleged victims and Rupnik himself.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which had raised concerns about the Rupnik case also applauded the decision, emphasising the importance of justice for abuse victims within the Church.


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News category: World.

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