Famed Jesuit Priest Artist Accused Of Sexual Misconduct Against Nuns
(For Immediate Release)
ROME – Reports emerged this week that Slovenian Jesuit Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, a world-famous artist whose murals adorn the walls of churches and chapels worldwide, has been accused of sexual misconduct with nuns and has been barred by his order from public ministry.
We applaud the nine women from the Loyola Community in Ljubljana, Slovenia who have stepped forward with courage to share their stories and we support and believe them. We can only wonder, however, whether these allegations had previously been reported to the order and what actions were taken. Given that the Fr. Rupnik was also the spiritual abuser for this community, we fear that his influence and position may have prevented these claims from getting out previously. If claims were made in the early 1990s, we'd like to know why no action was taken as a criminal investigation could have been launched immediately and more victims could have been spared the pain of abuse.
It is extremely problematic, however, that the Vatican declined in October to carry out a canonical process due to the statute of limitations because the complaint did not include minors. To us, the Vatican declining a canonical process due to the statute of limitations raises questions. Do Nuns not deserve equal protection? How does the Vatican square the decision to ignore the canonical process when the Vatican has criminalized the abuse of adults? Most critically, why now, in this case, is the Vatican taking guidance from secular laws when they are content to ignore them in so many other cases?
What concerns us most is that Fr. Rupnik had access to children as well. From 1987 to 1991 he lived in Gorizia at the Jesuit “Morning Star” Center where he worked mainly with youth. Although there are no allegations yet to indicate that children were abused, this case perfectly demonstrates how valid and credible allegations have been minimized and ignored to Fr. Rupnik’s benefit in the past. Similarly, a lengthy and distinguished career can provide favor to a suspect: disgraced former Cardinal McCarrick was known as abusive by Vatican officials in 1987 and still allowed to rise through the ranks for years to come.
We encourage anyone who may suspect, witnessed, or learned of abuse by Fr. Rupnik to immediately report their information authorities.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)