Written by 12:28 pm In the News

Catholic priest expelled

Pope Francis’ Jesuit religious order said Thursday it has expelled a prominent Slovenian priest from the congregation following allegations of sexual, spiritual and psychological abuses against women.

A statement from the Jesuits, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, said the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik was dismissed from the Jesuit order by decree on June 9 “due to stubborn refusal to observe the vow of obedience.”

Rupnik is one of the most celebrated religious artists in the Catholic Church, whose mosaics decorate churches and basilicas around the world, including at the Vatican.

Late last year, the Jesuits acknowledged he had been accused by several women of sexual, spiritual and psychological abuses over a 30-year period.

But he had largely escaped punishment, apparently thanks in part to his exalted status in the church and at the Vatican, where even Francis’ role in the case came into question.

The Jesuit statement said Rupnik has 30 days to appeal the expulsion order. He remains a priest, just not a Jesuit priest, and has no authority to celebrate any sacraments publicly. He could eventually join a diocese, but such a process would take years and require a bishop to agree to take him in.

The Rupnik scandal exploded in December when Italian blogs and websites reported that consecrated women had complained for years about abuse by him, only to have their claims discredited or covered up by Rupnik’s superiors.

The case posed a problem for the Vatican and the Jesuits because of suspicions that the charismatic priest received preferential treatment by the Holy See, where a Jesuit pope reigns and Jesuit priests are in top positions at the sex abuse office.

(AP; Picture Courtesy: Vandeville Eric/ABACA via Reuters Connect)
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