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Jesuits in Slovenia apologize for Rupnik abuse, say they believe victims

Hannah Brockhaus By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA

Father Marko Rupnik, SJ. / Screenshot Vatican News

Rome Newsroom, Jan 11, 2023 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

Jesuits in Slovenia have asked for forgiveness from the women who have have accused Father Marko Rupnik, S..J, of spiritual and sexual abuse, saying they believe the claims.

Rupnik, a Jesuit priest and artist originally from Slovenia, has been accused of the sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuse of at least nine women from a religious community with which he was formerly connected.

The alleged abuse took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s. An investigation into the claims was dropped by the Vatican in October 2022 due to the statute of limitations.

“It is obvious that, as a province, in the past we did not know how to listen to the victims and take appropriate action to clear up the issues and put an end to the suffering. We fully accept and understand the indignation, anger, and disappointment of the victims and their loved ones,” the Slovenian Jesuits wrote in a statement posted to their website Jan. 6.

The Jesuits said the abuse claims “deeply shook us. We believe in the sincerity of the religious sisters and other victims who spoke about their suffering and other circumstances regarding emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse by our brother.”

“We sincerely ask everyone for forgiveness,” they said, addressing in particular the victims and former and current members of the Loyola Community.

The allegations of victims “undoubtedly show that the competent Church leaders did not take appropriate action, as a result of which the unsuspected suffering of a number of women was increased and prolonged,” the statement said.

Rupnik’s ministry is overseen by superiors in Rome, where he has lived since 1993.

The artworks of the 68-year-old sacred artist decorate Catholic churches, chapels, and shrines around the world, including the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican and the major seminary of Rome.

“We all want the whole truth to come out, which will allow everyone involved to get justice,” the Slovenian Jesuits said, noting that “an investigation and judicial process is usually necessary to reveal the truth.”

Following media revelations, the bishops of Slovenia also issued a statement about Rupnik.

The bishops said they held an extraordinary meeting in Ljubljana on Dec. 21, 2022, to discuss the Rupnik case.

They condemned the alleged abuse and said they support the Jesuits “in their quest for truth and justice.”

“Victims are never guilty!” the bishops said. “We are on the side of the victims. We express our compassion and closeness to them and commit ourselves to help them.”

In light of Rupnik’s success as a sacred artist, the bishops also asked people to “distinguish his unacceptable and reprehensible actions from his extraordinary spiritual and artistic accomplishments in mosaics and other areas. These facts are a great test of our faith and trust in God.”

Media reports published in early December 2022 alleged that Rupnik had, approximately three decades ago, sexually, spiritually, and psychologically abused sisters in a religious institute with which he was formerly associated.

Following the reports, the Jesuits in Rome confirmed that Rupnik had also incurred an automatic excommunication for absolving an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment. The excommunication was verified, and shortly afterward lifted, by the Vatican in 2020.

The Jesuits said Rupnik’s ministry has been under restrictions since 2019 and 2020. While under restrictions, the Jesuit artist has continued to preach online and receive public accolades. In March 2020, he gave one of the annual Lenten sermons to the Roman Curia and Pope Francis.

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  1. Given that “in the past” means “before the situation was publicized by the media last month,” how can the Jesuits and the bishops expect their protestations of remorse to be taken seriously?

    • The first gesture must be to scrap this man’s art, or at the very least, remove it from all consecrated buildings.
      Sure, his art is the product of a gift from God, but he has tarnished this gift by dragging his priestly vocation into the gutter.
      His art will always therefore be a monument to himself and the property of his master, the great deceiver.
      Furthermore, many believe his art is grossly overrated in any event. The church cannot be that hard up for art and artists, can it?
      The church cannot forgive him his violations – only his victims can!
      He can seek forgiveness through the confessional, but this a private matter.
      If the church (institutional) isn’t prepared to hand down justice for his crimes, it should hand him over to the local, civilian authorities so he can answer before the law of the land.
      God didn’t found His Church for it to become a refuge for serial, sexual predators!

  2. How wonderful that he is a talented artist. Jesus did not ask us to be talented but said “if you love me, keep my commandments.” More hypocrisy from the Jesuits. The Rainbow Jesuit alone must have Saint Ignatius Loyola in heavenly tears!

  3. 1. Suppress the Jesuits
    2. Demote all voting-eligible Cardinals and start again to fill the vacant slots.
    3. Ask for the resignation of all bishops and fill the vacancies accepted by the Pope with priests faithful to the total Magisterium of the Church.
    4. Pray that the Holy Spirit might fill the minds and hearts of all the Faithful.

  4. “In March 2020, he gave one of the annual Lenten sermons to the Roman Curia and Pope Francis.”

    That last sentence says *so* much.

  5. You can look at Rupnik’s work online.

    I find it about as inspiring as those big-eyed waifs from the sixties painted by Margaret Keane.

  6. Very true. I wonder if Francis had audiences with Rupnik and James Martin on the same day or different days (eye roll)? It would be comic if it wasn’t so tragic. More like circling the wagons than protecting the flock.

    • “ More like circling the wagons than protecting the flock.”
      As a reader I note the ease that you Athanasius makes such a statement regarding Pope Francis all the while protesting venomously when the slipper is on the other foot with regards to Cardinal Pells leadership responsibilities with the Australian Church. I also note the nature of supporting material, or rather the absence of, with respect to your comment. It seems to me the issue of abuse is not your primary focus but rather what side of the ecclesiastical divide is implicated. In good faith I invite you to show me orhwise.

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