The Bishop of Lourdes is considering removing the artwork of alleged abuser Father Marko Ivan Rupnik from the facade of the Basilica of the Rosary at the Marian Shrine.
We must make sure the disgraced priest's artwork is removed from one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world, making clear that sexual abuse has no place in the Catholic Church.
SIGN: Tell Bishop Jean-Marc Micas to remove Rupnik's artwork
Bishop Jean-Marc Micas of the Diocese of Tarbes and Lourdes recently said he will make a decision by spring regarding the potential removal of the former Jesuit's artwork. This delay comes despite victims identifying the link between the artwork and Rupnik’s alleged abuse.
The Jesuits, who expelled Rupnik from the order last year, had compiled a 150-page dossier of reported instances of abuse that the Slovenian allegedly committed.
These date from 1985 to 2018, and Rupnik’s former superior, Father Johan Verschueren, S.J., stated that the credibility of the allegations against Rupnik is “very high.”
We must urge the bishop to strongly consider the removal of these images which are linked to horrible evils.
SIGN: Tell Bishop of Lourdes to take down artwork of allegedly abusive priest.
In 2008, Rupnik – known throughout Italy for his modernist artwork before multiple allegations of sexual assault were made against him – was responsible for designing the facade of the Basilica of the Rosary at the Shrine of Lourdes to mark the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady.
Those peculiar mosaics depict the Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, with some critics suggesting Rupnik's bizarre modernist style betrays a disdain for the traditional artwork that inspired the moral life of believers.
Alleged victims of Rupnik have said that Rupnik made sexual advances during painting sessions, after Holy Mass, or after hearing confessions in his Rome Aletti Art Center.
Rupnik was automatically excommunicated by the Vatican in 2020 after the DDF unanimously ruled he was guilty of absolving one of his sexual accomplices.
Separately, Rupnik has been accused of psychologically and sexually abusing religious sisters in the Loyola Community, an order that he himself was a co-founder. The abuse is alleged to have taken place against at least 21 of the 40-strong Loyola Community of religious women, which he co-founded in his native Slovenia. A further 15 alleged victims have come forward in the past year.
SIGN: Seek removal of artwork linked to alleged abuse.
An estimated six million pilgrims visit the world-famous shrine each year, some of whom are victims of abuse and come seeking healing.
One woman apparently described to the bishop how the architecture of the Basilica, with its grand entrance of two large curving ramps, is meant to convey “the arms of the Immaculate Conception embracing her children ... And now, for me, for them, the arms are not the arms of the Immaculate Conception. They are the arms of Father Rupnik.”
As faithful Catholics, we must demand that Rupnik’s artwork be removed from the Shrine, which is intended to be a place of healing and comfort, and not of trauma.
The decision regarding Rupnik’s artwork at Lourdes is of the utmost importance because it will influence the choice to either keep or remove Rupnik’s other artwork across the world.
We must urge Bishop Micas to make the right decision and set the precedent for the rest of the bishops also needing to make the choice.
SIGN & SHARE – Tell Bishop of Lourdes to remove artwork of priest allegedly guilty of abuse.
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