(ZENIT News / Rome, 07.24.2023).- We publish the letter with which the Jesuit priest, Fr. Johan Verschueren, Delegate for the International Roman Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome, confirmed on Monday, July 24, the expulsion of the famous artist and former Jesuit Religious, Marko Ivan Rupnik. Still a priest, he remains expelled after a month of being told of his expulsion, amid a scandal related to sexual, power and conscience abuses. To Rupnik, even his excommunication was lifted for having absolved an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment.
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I have already informed you that on June 14, 2023, Fr. Marko Rupnik was handed the Decree of Expulsion from the Society of Jesus, signed by the Father General. Now, as the thirty days have passed granted to him to appeal against the Society’s decision, in keeping with the new canonical rules in this regard, we can state today that he is no longer a Jesuit Religious. As was also made known in the “Letter to the Friends of the Aletti Center” on June 23, Fr Marko Rupnik presented his request to leave the Society back in January of 2023. This petition never was in any way a “right” for him, given that the vows he made in his day in the Society of Jesus bound him to a commitment of obedience for life, and no obligation exists on the part of the Religious Congregation to agree to such a request. The reason why the Society did not want to agree to his request was the desire to bind him to his responsibilities in face of so many accusations, inviting him to undertake a path of truth and of confrontation with the evil, denounced by so many people who felt wounded. Unfortunately, he did not wish to accept our invitation, and we found ourselves in the necessity to dismiss him from the Society for reasons already exposed elsewhere.
As representative of the Society of Jesus and former Major Superior of Marko Rupnik, I cannot but lament enormously his insistent and obstinate inability to attend to the voices of so many people who have felt wounded, offended and humiliated by his actions and behaviour towards them. This does not exclude the good he has done, and the spiritual fruit he gave to so many and to many others in the Church. However, we recall what Jesus taught us: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (cf. Matthew 5:23).
Many have asked us why a process was not carried out, which could lead to the loss of Marko Rupnik’s clerical state. I would like to remind here that this is not the competency of the Society of Jesus itself, but of the Holy See. As Major Superior I have always wanted, in the diverse circumstances of these long and complex events, to be able to initiate a process that could guarantee the judicial investigation of the facts, the right to defense and the consequent sanction (or possible absolution) but different reasons, among them the current limits of the relative normative to similar situations, have not permitted it.
I can also state officially that it is the firm desire of the Society of Jesus to legally distance itself also from the Aletti Center, leaving formally the Public Association of Faithful that bears the same name and looking for the best way to rescind the relations of collaboration with the Center. We are looking for the best way to do so, also in collaboration with the Vicariate of Rome, on which the Aletti Center currently depends. Note also that there is no longer a Jesuit Community resident in the Aletti Center.
To all those that, in some way, have felt and feel themselves wounded and hurt by him who was our brother, I assure them of my full solidarity and openness to find in the future the best ways to reflect on how we can find interior peace and reconciliation through paths that we can study together.
Humbly, in Christ,
Fr. Johan Verschueren, S.J.
Delegate for the International Roman Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus (DIR)