Religious community co-founded by Fr. Marko Rupnik to close: SNAP hopes this heralds a change in Catholic responses to abuse
For Immediate Release December 15, 2023)
The Slovenian Archdiocese of Ljubljana announced today that the Vatican has decided to shut down the religious community of nuns co-founded by accused abuser Father Marko Rupnik. SNAP is grateful for this decision, but we observe that it only came after intense public outcry over Fr. Rupnik’s case.
Fr. Rupnik is a former Jesuit priest who was expelled from that religious order in June for “disobedience.” Following his expulsion, in the wake of accusations that he had sexually assaulted as many as twenty-four adult women, the priest was inexplicably incardinated in August by the Diocese of Koper in Slovenia. We registered our deep dismay at the time.
Fr. Rupnik’s incardination shocked his accusers and sparked a huge public outcry. Subsequently, Pope Francis waived the statute of limitations that was preventing a canonical trial on the accusations, and the priest will face those charges. The dissolution of the religious community Fr. Rupnik co-founded is another step in the right direction.
However, the fact that it took a public outcry to bring about the canonical trial and the closure of the convent shows us that while the Church continues to say they have changed, their actions belie it. Catholic officials were once again protecting a prominent priest instead of supporting the brave survivors who came forward and protecting potential victims.
To us, Fr. Rupnik is a dangerous predator, likely made even bolder by the fact that up to now his actions have resulted in no permanent consequences. We simply do not understand why the Church protected him, and we cannot help but wonder how many less prominent perpetrators have been left in ministry because their cases did not provoke a public outcry.
We would hope that this case would be a lesson in point to the Vatican and that they would change their ways as a result. It should not have to take media pressure for a religious institution to act to protect its faithful from wolves in sheep’s clothing. However, until we see proof that things have changed, we will continue our fight for justice and accountability.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), 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)