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World News

Priest accused of abusing nuns returns to ministry in Slovenia

by Donna Birrell

A former Jesuit priest who has been accused of spiritual and sexual abuse by more than 20 nuns has returned to ministry in his native Slovenia.

Marko Rupnik returned to ministry in August after discussions between the Bishop of the Slovenian Diocese of Koper and senior prelates in Rome.

68-year-old Rupnik, who was also a famous mosaic artist, was dismissed from the Jesuits in June after an internal investigation into accusations against him spanning from 1985 to 2018.

The Jesuits said the "highly credible" accusations from 25 women - most of whom were religious sisters - included claims of spiritual, psychological, and sexual abuse and abuse of conscience.

Despite the allegations, Rupnik maintained a public profile, concelebrating Mass at a basilica in Rome in March. He also remained an official adviser to several Vatican departments.

Msgr. Slavko Rebec, vicar general of the Diocese of Koper, said in a statement to The Pillar: "The Bishop of Koper admitted him … on the basis of the fact that Rupnik had not been sentenced to any judicial sentence. Until such time as the above sentence is pronounced on Rupnik, he enjoys all the rights and duties of diocesan priests."

Rupnik was well known in the Church as the director of the Centro Aletti, an institute founded in the 1990s at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome as a centre of art, theology, and culture.

His mosaics decorate some of the most prominent Catholic pilgrimage destinations, including Lourdes.

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