For immediate release: October 25, 2023
We call this decision absolute madness. The Church has complete control over who does and who does not work as a Catholic clergyman. A conviction for a penal offense has never been required for removal from ministry.
The incardination of Fr. Marko Rupnik is to us a telltale sign that while the Church continues to say they have changed, their actions belie it. It also reinforces that we need to continue our fight for justice and accountability. Catholic officials are once again protecting a prominent priest instead of supporting the brave survivors who came forward, as well as preventing future victims.
False accusations of sexual abuse are rare, multiple false accusations are even rarer. It appears that Fr. Rupnik has at least 24 accusations leveled against him. We also know that the priest had been briefly excommunicated in 2020 for using the confessional to absolve a woman with whom he had engaged in sexual activity. To us, Fr. Rupnik is a dangerous predator, likely made even bolder by the fact that his actions have resulted in no permanent consequences. We simply do not understand why any bishop would put the women in his diocese in harm's way like this.
We strongly suspect that this will discourage many survivors, particularly those abused as adults, from coming forward to the Church. It is also a slap in the face to all the brave women who did speak out against Fr. Rupnik, and will add to the burden of pain they already carry.
If the Diocese of Koper refuses to protect their faithful without a criminal conviction, then we encourage any victims of Fr. Rupnik to report directly to law enforcement. We have always found that reporting abuse to Catholic officials should be a last resort, as accusations are universally handled more appropriately outside of Church channels.
CONTACT: Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)