Jesuits say they warned diocese that incardinated him about complaints against Father Rupnik

Father Marko Rupnik's former superior in the Society of Jesus denied that the Jesuits had facilitated the incardination of the priest accused of abuse in the Diocese of Koper (Slovenia), and said that they warned the local Bishop about the serious allegations against him.

In statements to ACI Prensa, the Jesuit priest Johan Verschueren, Delegate for the International Roman Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus, assured that in March 2023 the Jesuits “exhaustively” informed the Bishop of Koper, Bishop Jurij Bizjak, about the cases and allegations of abuse against Fr. Rupnik.

The Jesuit authority revealed that the Slovenian bishop “informed them on his own initiative that he would offer incardination to Father Rupnik if we granted him the pardon to leave the Society of Jesus.” However, as recalled, the priest was not pardoned but expelled from the Jesuits on June 15 of this year.

In a statement released by the Diocese of Koper on October 25, and signed by its vicar general, Fr. Slavko Rebec, it is indicated that Fr. Rupnik was accepted because “no judicial ruling has been issued” in his against.

The Diocese of Koper is located in the westernmost part of Slovenia and has about 266,000 inhabitants. Father Rupnik was born in the small town of Zadlog, which is located within this jurisdiction.

The response of the Jesuits on the new incardination

Father Rupnik's former superior denied that the Society of Jesus had managed the priest's incardination and recalled that since the Jesuits expelled him "for disobedience" in June, he no longer had any link with the order.

“We in no way participated in the incardination of MIR (Marko Ivan Rupnik). On the contrary. In March 2023 we exhaustively informed the Bishop of Koper about the cases and complaints against MIR, when this bishop informed us on his own initiative that he would offer incardination to MIR if we granted him the pardon to leave the Society of Jesus at the request of MIR (which, by the way, we rejected a few weeks later).”

At the end of January, Father Rupnik asked the Society of Jesus to leave the order “of free will” (dimissio petens), a request that was denied because, according to Father Verschueren, among other things “he lacked a letter of a bishop who would show his willingness to incardin him.”

A week later, the team commissioned by the Society of Jesus for complaints regarding the Jesuits drafted a dossier including 15 new complaints of abuse against Father Rupnik.

The Jesuit authority noted that in the month of March they received a letter from the Bishop of Koper with his “will to incardinate Fr. Rupnik.”

“By then we already knew the scandalous content of the conclusions of the referring team. Consequently, Father General refused to grant clemency to Father Rupnik. On the contrary, we wanted to keep him in the Society of Jesus under strict restrictions, in another place, and in order to begin a process of psychological evaluation and therapy.”

“It was our way of helping him, and moving towards recognition and reconciliation with the numerous alleged victims,” he noted.

He recalled that Father Rupnik “persisted in total refusal, which led to his dimissio non-petens” and his expulsion from the Society of Jesus.

“We asked the bishop (of Koper) if he would change his mind after receiving the information. Apparently, he did not do it,” states the Jesuit authority.

Who should approve the transfer of Father Rupnik?

Priest Fernando Puig, Doctor of Canon Law and professor of Church Organization and Government at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, explained that Father 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 Canon Law “no one in Rome has to approve this transfer of the bond of incardination.

Father Puig explained that from the point of view of canon law, despite his expulsion from the Society of Jesus, “there is no problem” in Father Rupnik having been accepted in another diocese.

The Spanish priest of Opus Dei explained that "the norm and praxis is that there are no so-called 'lazy' priests", that is, they are not incardinated in a particular Church or in a specific community.

Regarding Pope Francis' decision to lift the prescription of the Rupnik case and ask the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to review the case and carry out a process, he indicated that it does not alter the condition of Father Rupnik.

For Father Eduardo Baura de la Peña, Doctor in Canon Law from the University of Navarra (Spain), there is a “vacuum” in Canon Law for cases in which a clergyman is expelled from a religious order, but since From a strictly canonical point of view, Father Rupnik's incardination is legal.

Questions against the Jesuits
The Jesuits' handling of the Rupnik case has been highly questioned due to certain contradictions in the chronology of their actions, the order's alleged negligence in enforcing restrictions against the priest.

In December 2022, the superior general of the Jesuits, Father Arturo Sosa, confirmed that Father 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 did not make it public until the scandal broke out over the alleged abuses of Father Rupnik.

Sosa contradicted a previous statement from the Jesuits in which they stated that Ministerial restrictions were imposed on Father Rupnik due to complaints received in 2021 that the Vatican decided to archive because they were considered very old, as reported by the Associated Press.

The Jesuits said that Father Rupnik had been under ministerial restrictions since 2019. However, the artist continued to preach online, receiving public praise and even in March 2020 led a Lenten sermon before Pope Francis and the Roman Curia.

Last week it was reported that the Pope decided to revoke the prescription and the Vatican will begin an investigation into the allegations against Father Rupnik.