Sunday 21 April 2024

Ex-Jesuit, alleged abuser Rupnik listed as consultant in 2024 Pontifical Yearbook

Father Marko Rupnik, a priest dismissed from the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 2023 — accused since 2018 of having committed serious sexual, spiritual, and psychological abuse against at least 20 women in the Loyola Community that he co-founded in Slovenia — continues to appear as a Jesuit and consultant to the Vatican in the 2024 Pontifical Yearbook.

The information appears on page 1346 of the yearbook, where the list of the consultants of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is published. The entry reads “P. Rupnik Marko Ivan, S.I.” The abbreviation “S.I.” stands for “Societas Iesu,” the Latin name for the Society of Jesus.

Rupnik was dismissed from the Jesuits on June 15, 2023. The decision was made public in a statement noting that on more than one occasion he ignored the restrictions imposed by his superior and refused to respond to his alleged victims and to address his past actions.

ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, contacted the director of the Vatican Press Office, Matteo Bruni, to ask him how it is that Rupnik appears in the Pontifical Yearbook but did not receive a response by time of publication.

The debate on Rupnik’s art

Rupnik is also a famous Catholic artist whose works — especially mosaics — are found in many pilgrimage sites around the world. An important part of the ethical debate surrounding Rupnik’s case is whether his artwork should be removed out of respect for his victims.

An April 15 editorial in the National Catholic Register, CNA’s sister news partner, argued: “His distinctive mosaics were commissioned for a purpose: to lift minds and hearts toward God. They are no longer capable (if they ever were) of achieving that purpose,” therefore they should be removed.

Father Eduardo Hayen Cuarón, a Mexican priest and exorcist, wrote on X April 15: “I found the mosaics of Father Marko Rupnik to be amazing, especially those at the National Shrine of St. John Paul II in Washington.”

“It's a shame that they have to be removed now. The reason? After the accusations against him for abusing several nuns, his works of art no longer fulfill their function of elevating the spirit toward God,” the priest commented.

Blogger and former atheist Leah Libresco on April 16 commented on X that “if you want to defend Rupnik’s art, you have to be advocating for justice for Rupnik and reparations for his victims. Part of why people are going after the art is because there has been so little progress in pursuing consequences for the man.”

Catholic radio show host Al Kresta quoted from the Register editorial April 16 on X: “While it is far short of the sort of justice that this case demands, we have reached beyond the point in the Father Marko Rupnik scandal when concrete steps must be taken to remove the disgraced artist’s ubiquitous mosaics from public display.”

The Rupnik case

Bishop Daniele Libanori, the Vatican investigator who uncovered allegations of sexual and spiritual abuse by Rupnik, said the claims are true, according to a letter he sent to Italian priests obtained by the Associated Press. Libanori now serves as the Holy Father’s supervisor for Consecrated Life.

Rupnik was excommunicated in May 2020 for hearing the confession of one of his victims with whom he had sexual activity, but the sanction was lifted two weeks later.

The Society of Jesus dismissed Rupnik from the order in June 2023, and the Diocese of Koper in Slovenia incardinated the priest in August that year stating that it did so because “no judicial ruling has been issued” against him.

In October 2023, Pope Francis lifted the statute of limitations and asked the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to review the case in order to allow a process to take place after it had been determined that “there were serious problems in the handling of the Father Marko Rupnik case and lack of outreach to victims.”