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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Jesuit celebrity artist Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik, who is accused of sexually abusing over 25 nuns, is the owner of an art installation company raking in millions, an explosive investigation has revealed.
Rupnik, in defiance of his vow of poverty, owns 90% of Rossoroblu, a limited liability company registered in Italy, which recorded a turnover of 1,176,500 euros and a profit of 119,607 euros in 2022, according to Italian newspaper Domani.
Ten percent of the company is owned by the Jesuit's partner, Manuela Viezzoli, a former sister of the Skupnost Loyola (Loyola Community), which was cofounded by Rupnik in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where the abuser perpetrated much of his sexual abuse against the nuns.
Viezzoli is part of a band of loyalists comprised of Slovenian Jesuits, sisters and laypersons who belong to the Aletti Center (an art and cultural center also cofounded by the Jesuit mosaic artist). They continue to support the abuser.
The ex-nun is also the sole director and company representative, and the two partners of the company are listed in all available reports as Rupnik and Viezzoli.
Rossoroblu — a name formed by combining the Italian words for red, gold and blue, Rupnik's trademark colors — is registered at Via Paolina 25, which is also the address of the Aletti Center where Rupnik is said to be currently residing.
Rupnik's ownership of the company has been kept secret from his Jesuit superiors, revealed Fr. Johan Verschueren, a delegate of the superior general of the Society of Jesus for the international Jesuit houses in Rome.
"The news is completely new to me and also quite shocking," Verschueren told Domani. A Jesuit is not permitted to own a company "because it is against the vow of poverty."
Rupnik's company recorded a turnover of 1,173,700 euros in 2021; 1,433,680 euros in 2020 and 1,073,982 in 2019, according to information available on Report Aziende, an Italian company database portal.
"The company trend is growing (up 32.50% in 2019), and profits have always increased in recent years, going from 41,490 euros in 2017 to 95,481 euros in 2020," Domani reported. "In short, the company is booming" with Rupnik raking in "tens of millions of euros."
As of Dec. 31, 2021, the company had 593,713 euros of receivables, almost all trade receivables, which increased in the financial year 2021 by 117,015 euros, which corresponds almost exactly to the company's operating profit (119,607 euros).
According to the Chamber of Commerce, Rupnik and Viezzoli founded the company in September 2007 with a starting share capital of ten thousand euros. Rossoroblu currently has 15 employees and recorded staff costs of 553,587 euros in its latest report.
The company's database notes that Rossoroblu's stated purpose is to carry out the laboratory creation and on-site installation of mosaics, stained glass windows, frescoes, murals, sculptures and paintings.
The company also engages in restoring works of art and organizing professional courses aimed at restructuring, maintenance, restoration, conservative rehabilitation and internal/external transformation of buildings of any kind.
However, this is the very same stated purpose of the Aletti Center, which has carried out over 220 mosaics, frescoes and stained glass windows in churches and religious institutions from 2000 to 2022.
Unlike Rossoroblu, the Aletti Center has two foundations that solicit donations to finance its activities: the Rome-based Agape Foundation and the Centro Aletti Foundation, created in Slovenia in 2002 by Marina Štremfelj, another ex-nun from the Loyola Community.
Authorities at the Aletti Center have refused to clarify if the costs for the works were paid to Rupnik's limited liability company. Church Militant asked the Aletti Center to clarify the relationship between Rossoroblu and the center, but we did not receive a response.
While the Aletti Center's website continues to list both Rupnik and Viezzoli, it does not have any reference to Rossoroblu.
On April 1, the diocese of Rome, which is managed on behalf of Pope Francis by Cdl. Angelo De Donatis, ordered an apostolic visitation to the Aletti Center. Both Francis and Donatis are close friends of Rupnik and supporters of the Aletti Center.
Rupnik and the Aletti Center have accepted major commissions for the installation of mosaics in the Vatican and the diocese of Rome.
Monsignor Giacomo Orazio Incitti, who teaches Canon Law at Rome's Pontifical Urbaniana University, is heading the investigation. The canonist is also an external appellate court judge in the Roman vicariate, consultor of the Dicastery for the Clergy and a canonist prelate on the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
In defiance of his vow of obedience, Rupnik is refusing to cooperate with the latest investigation launched by Fr. Verschueren.
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