"Pope Francis has reportedly intervened to swiftly lift the excommunication of a notable Jesuit, who was automatically excommunicated and found guilty by an ecclesiastical court of absolving in confession a woman with whom he had sexual relations.
Italian news outlet Left.it recently reported that Father Marko Ivan Rupnik S.J. had been accused of psychologically and sexually abusing religious sisters. Rupnik, a prominent Jesuit and director of Rome’s Aletti Center, had been accused by a number of nuns in Slovenia of 'psychological abuse and sexual violence,' reported Left.
The accusations themselves dated back to the early 1990s and involved the community of nuns which was founded by a nun to whom Rupnik was both a friend and a 'spiritual father.'
After allegations were made against Rupnik, the bishop of Ljubljana removed the Slovenian Jesuit from the diocese in 1992-93. Since just prior to then Rupnik has been based in Rome at the Centro Aletti.
As well as directing the Centro Aletti and teaching at various pontifical institutions in the city, he has held a number of curial positions, including being a consultant for the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation.
Rupnik, a prominent artist, has gained increased notoriety in recent years due to painting the official image of the 2022 World Meeting of Families and, upon the request of Pope John Paul II, leading the renovations of the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel...
However, according to Left’s un-named source, while the news has only emerged in recent days, Rupnik has actually already faced a canonical trial and been found guilty in early 2022.
This was corroborated by Italian Catholic news site Messa in Latino, who wrote that 'high level source' had confirmed Rupnik had indeed faced trial earlier this year...
The Jesuit had been convicted for 'absolving the accomplice in confession.' According to Messa in Latino, the tribunal had unanimously ruled that Rupnik had
allegedly absolved in confession a woman (of age and consenting) with whom he had engaged in 'de sexto' [against the sixth commandment] relations.
With this being a direct violation of Canon 977, Rupnik thus would have incurred an automatic excommunication, or a latae sententiae excommunication, according to Canon 1378 §1. This was handed down by the Tribunal.
Yet, according to the blog’s 'high level' sources, Pope Francis intervened within 'a few hours' to overturn the excommunication, thus removing the penalty from the Slovenian priest...
A few hours after the notification of the sentence, however, due to pressure from Fr. Rupnik the Holy Father lifted the excommunication, in contrast with the decisions of the court. The Jesuits themselves, who had a statement on the matter ready, were stopped.
The blog’s sources added that Pope Francis’s alleged intervention in favor of Rupnik had further implications. Referencing the abuses, dating back 'to more than 30 years ago,' Messa in Latino wrote that the Jesuit’s attorney general wished to take Rupnik’s case to trial, since the abuses were 'defined as ‘gruesome’.'
However, the trial did not occur, with the blog’s sources stating that this was due to Francis’ intervention..."
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