Rupnik case: Jesuits invite anyone who has suffered abuse to contact them
December 18th, 2022
“Rupnik case: Jesuits invite anyone who has suffered abuse to contact them”
“Structure to handle complaints” says Delegate of Fr. Sosa.
Statement from Fr. Johan Verschueren SJ, Delegate of Fr. General Sosa SJ
and Major Superior for the International Houses
The last week has seen a focus on two investigations carried on concerning the ministry of Fr Marko Rupnik. One concerned a matter relating to the sacrament of reconciliation; another related to abuse against several women of the Loyola Community by Fr Rupnik. The information shared has provoked many questions and I share below a timeline of the events in the hope of providing some clarity.
My main concern in all of this is for those who have suffered and I invite anyone who wishes to make a new complaint or who wants to discuss complaints already made to contact us. I assure you that you will be listened to with understanding and with empathy. Already a few months ago, we established a team of people, women and men, from various disciplines and with a variety of expertise in dealing with these situations. They are available, and indeed have been, to listen, support and to help. The e mail of this service is: [email protected] and people can write in English, Slovenian, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and German (see below explanations on how our Survivor Response system works).
I re-iterate what Fr General said last Wednesday December 14th:
“The case of Fr. Marko Rupnik, which became public last week, is a good example of how much we still have to learn, especially about people's suffering. This case, like others, causes us shock and sorrow; it forces us to understand and empathize with the suffering of all those involved in one form or another. It confronts us with the challenge of respecting this pain at the same time as we scrupulously initiate the procedures demanded by civil or canonical laws. We seek to communicate this in a way that does not conceal the facts, while we also, enlightened by the Gospel and other human experiences, try to open paths toward healing the wounds produced.”
I conclude by assuring you that the Society of Jesus, as asked by General Congregation 36, wants to create a culture of safeguarding and that we are committed to the highest standards in our ministry. We try to exclude that anybody runs the risk of being harmed in any of our ministries.
Johan Verschueren SJ
Delegate of the Superior General for the International Houses in Rome
Original Language: English
Timeline of the investigations into allegations against Fr Marko Rupnik
Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the 6th commandment
- October 2018: Allegations of sexual misconduct and an allegation of the absolution of an accomplice by Fr. Rupnik in a sin against the sixth commandment, are received by the SJ Curia delegate for the Interprovincial houses in Rome. The Society sets up a preliminary investigation.
- May 2019: The investigation deems the allegations credible. A file is sent to the CDF.
- June 2019: Precautionary restrictions are imposed by the then Delegate Fr. Guerrero, Major Superior of DIR.
- July 2019: The CDF asks Father General to set up a penal administrative process. The General appoints a delegate and two assessors.
- January 2020: The delegate and the assessors (all are external to the Society of Jesus) unanimously say that there was indeed absolution of an accomplice.
- May 2020: The CDF declares that the absolution of an accomplice happened and therefore declares that Fr. Rupnik is in the status of excommunication latae sententiae; the excommunication is lifted by a CDF decree later that month. Restrictions (administrative, for a three years period) are imposed on Fr. Rupnik and he ceases to be director of Centro Aletti.
Allegations of misconduct of Fr. Rupnik against members of Loyola Community
- June 2021: The CDF contacts the SJ General Curia about allegations regarding Fr. Rupnik and some members of Loyola community.
- July 2021: Father General asks the Delegate of the DIR, Fr. Johan Verschueren, to set up a preliminary investigation led by a person external to the Society (the restrictions from May 2020 remain in place).
- January 2022: The investigation concludes there was a case to answer. The results are sent to the CDF with a recommendation of a penal process.
- February 2022: Fr. Verschueren, Major Superior of DIR, imposes new ministerial restrictions.
- October 2022: The DDF says the events are statute barred; no trial can proceed.
- The restrictions on the ministry of Fr. Rupnik continue.
- December 2022: New restrictions are imposed by the DIR Major Superior.
A note on the Role of the Delegate for the Interprovincial Houses in Rome - Explanatory Note:
The Delegate for the Interprovincial Roman houses is the major superior of the following communities and institutions:
• Collegio del Gesù
• Collegio del Bellarmino
• Centro Aletti Jesuit Community
• Università Gregoriana
• Pontifical Biblical Institute Rome
• Pontifical Biblical Institute Jerusalem
• Pontifical Oriental Institute
• Peter Canisius Jesuit residence
• Vatican Observatory
• La Civiltà Cattolica
• Collegio Russicum
Rome, December 20th, 2022
“We are determined to keep improving our response to abuse”
Delegate of Fr Sosa explains how the Survivor Response system works
I make this statement to explain how our Survivor Response system works. It was established in September of this year and covers all situations for the Jesuit communities and works in Rome that are under my leadership - which is a leadership delegated from Fr. Sosa.
When someone contacts us by the dedicated email ([email protected]), the request goes immediately to our response team comprising psychologists, spiritual guides, and legal experts. A designated person of the team then contacts the complainant to take a full testimony. A preliminary investigation is set up if the facts seem to warrant that.
According to the specific case, the team offers the necessary help and support to the complainant and advises about the next needed steps. If a formal procedure is required against a Jesuit, the formal investigation starts according to canonical, civil or criminal law.
For sure, we all still need to journey to find better ways to address these difficult situations and to ensure recognition of the facts, justice and a path to possible healing (acknowledging that this can involve a long and painful journey). We are determined to keep improving our response to any situation of abuse, and to receive all complaints in open and fair manner.
Fr Johan Verschueren, SJ
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