A Slovenian priest, who is one of the Catholic world’s most celebrated artists, has been expelled from the Jesuit order following allegations of sexual, spiritual and psychological abuses against women.
A statement from the Jesuits said the Rev Marko Ivan Rupnik was dismissed by decree on 9th June "due to stubborn refusal to observe the vow of obedience". He remains a priest and has 30 days to appeal against the judgment by the Society of Jesus, of which Pope Francis is a member.
The Jesuits announced the decision with "a grieving heart" and followed “numerous complaints of all kinds that have reached us, coming from very different sources and for events that occurred over a period of time more than 30 years regarding Father Rupnik”, the statement said.
Rev Rupnik is a globally noted religious artist whose mosaics decorate churches and basilicas worldwide, including at the Vatican.
Rupnik had been asked to change communities and “accept a new mission,” the statement said.
“Faced with Marko Rupnik’s repeated refusal to obey this mandate, we were unfortunately left with only one solution: dismissal from the Society of Jesus.”
In February, the Jesuits said they had opened a new internal procedure against Rev Rupnik after receiving accusations against him spanning from 1985 to 2018. The “highly credible” accusations, they said, included claims of spiritual, psychological, and sexual abuse and what they called abuse of conscience.
Rev Rupnik’s superiors imposed certain restrictions on his ministry at the investigators' recommendation, including remaining in central Italy and not participating in public activities as an artist. But according to media reports in recent months, Rev Rupnik is alleged to have broken these instructions.