Slovenian Jesuits ask for forgiveness in major abuse case

Reuters [London, England]

January 7, 2023

By Philip Pullella

Slovenia’s Jesuits say they believe sexual abuse allegations against a prominent member of their order are true and have asked for forgiveness.

It is the latest development in the case of Father Marko Ivan Rupnik that has rattled the religious order and the Vatican.

It was only after Italian media reports in November alleging that Rupnik, 68, had sexually and psychologically abused nuns when he was their spiritual director in his native Slovenia three decades ago that Jesuit headquarters acknowledged the case.

They said he is under partial sanctions, including a ban on hearing confessions and leading spiritual retreats, but that the Vatican’s doctrinal department ruled that the case had gone beyond the statute of limitations.

Jesuit headquarters also said the same Vatican department had excommunicated Rupnik several years ago but lifted the excommunication after the priest had repented.

The order’s public statements in Rome have been contradictory, leaving many questions unanswered. Some leading Jesuits have called for a full review of how the order and the Vatican have handled the case.

“We believe in the sincerity of the nuns and other victims who have spoken out about their suffering and other circumstances regarding emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse by our confrere. We sincerely ask for forgiveness from all,” Slovenia’s Jesuits said in a website statement posted on Friday.

It added that statements made by the nuns “show beyond doubt that the competent Church leaders did not take appropriate action, which has increased and prolonged the untold suffering of a number of women”.