Jesuits Resurrect Case on Serial Abuser Artist

News: World News
by Jules Gomes  •  •  December 20, 2022   

Society of Jesus hotshots protected celebrity priest who abused 20 nuns

You are not signed in as a Premium user; you are viewing the free version of this program. Premium users have access to full-length programs with limited commercials and receive a 10% discount in the store! Sign up for only one day for the low cost of $1.99. Click the button below.

ROME ( - Jesuit bigwigs who ignored or covered up the abuse of at least 20 nuns at the hands of celebrity artist Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik are inviting victims to contact them. 

Jesuits Zollner, Verschueren, Ladaria and Zust

"Anna," a religious sister who was forced by Fr. Rupnik into a threesome with another nun, wrote an open letter to the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa. In the email, she also copied concerned cardinals, bishops, provincials, superiors and laity. 

"I write this open letter to try to break — once again — the circle of silence and exclusion within which I found myself for many — too many years: twenty-eight," Anna wrote.

After she complained to multiple authorities, including Cdl. Tomáš Špidlík (Rupnik's spiritual director at the time), the victim described how the hierarchs "decided to cover everything with a blanket of silence."

She added, "It was an easy game because I was too sick, and I was totally alone."

Not one of the 18 clerics (mostly Jesuits) or laity who were informed of the abuse responded to the June 2022 email or intervened to denounce the Slovenian serial abuser. Rupnik was allowed to continue his public ministry despite restrictions placed on him by the Jesuits.

Jesuit Offer

However, following intense media pressure, Fr. Johan Verschueren, a delegate of the Jesuit superior general for the International Houses in Rome, offered to "invite anyone who wishes to make a new complaint or who wants to discuss complaints already made" to contact him.

"My main concern in all of this is for those who have suffered," Verschueren wrote on Sunday. "I assure you that you will be listened to with understanding and with empathy." Fr. Verschueren is one of the senior Jesuits who received but did not respond to Anna's email. 

This case shows me that I must be even more attentive and sensitive.

Verschueren said that the Jesuits had created a team of "women and men from various disciplines and with a variety of expertise in dealing with these situations" who were available "to listen, support and to help." 

People could write in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and German, Verschueren added, indicating that Rupnik's victims were from a wide range of national and linguistic backgrounds. 


The Jesuit delegate, who is the major superior of prestigious institutions run by the Society of Jesus in Rome (including Rupnik's Aletti Center), also provided a timeline of the investigations into allegations against Fr. Rupnik. 

The timeline acknowledged that the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith excommunicated Rupnik in May 2020 for sacramentally absolving a sexual accomplice. Later the same month, a second DDF decree lifted the excommunication. 

Who seriously believes that there are no biases here?

"Restrictions on the ministry of Fr. Rupnik continue," the timeline noted, revealing details of a second investigation concerning abuses of sisters from the Loyola Community. The DDF dropped the case in October 2022, claiming that it was beyond the statute of limitations. 

Zollner's Admission

Church Militant contacted Fr. Hans Zollner and asked why the Jesuit who is a leading expert on sexual abuse did not respond to Anna's email. Zollner heads the Institute of Anthropology's Interdisciplinary Studies on Human Dignity and Care at the Pontifical Gregorian University. 

Zollner's office directed this apostolate's query to the priest's latest interview with Spanish Catholic media COPE, where the Jesuit expert admits to receiving an "open letter" in "mid-June" from a victim that discussed "an ongoing legal proceeding in the Church."

Mosaic by Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik

Zollner maintained that he "always responds" to communications addressed to him personally, but, with the pressure of work, he would "often have nothing to do but acknowledge receipt, listen on the extent possible and redirect it to the competent authorities," Zollner replied. 

"But this case shows me that I must be even more attentive and sensitive," the abuse expert acknowledged. 

The lack of transparency on the part of the Jesuits may have been because of "an erroneous understanding of the importance of data protection and the rights to privacy of the person, to the fact that someone wanted to do someone a favor," Zollner explained. 

"It affects me a lot to realize that the lack of transparency and coherence exists not only outside but also within the Society of Jesus, to which I belong," he lamented, noting that the handling of the Rupnik case "since the 1990s is so serious that appropriate lessons and conclusions need to be drawn for the future."

"For years, many people have been asking that the reasons for the verdicts reached by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith be published," Zollner said, observing that very often "there is no comparability between the judgments."

Zollner also emphasized the need "for an independent agency that victims can turn to and that is staffed with sufficient and trained personnel," which would "initiate and implement far-reaching, fundamental changes in managing a case like Fr. Rupnik's."

Silence of the Shepherds

Anna also sent her letter to DDF prefect Cdl. Luis Ladaria, Pope Francis' cardinal vicar Angelo De Donatis, auxiliary bishop of Rome Daniele Libanori, Ljubljana Bp. Stanislav Zore, procurator Fr. Benoit Malvaux, provincial Fr. Roberto Del Riccio and Slovenian provincial Fr. Miran Žvanut. 

Last Tuesday, Fr. Žvanut dismissed news reports about Rupnik as "quite inflated and with a lot of untruths," Church Militant reported.  

The victim's letter was also sent to five members of Rupnik's Aletti Center: Fr. Milan Žust, Fr. Ivan Bresciani, Michelina Tenace, Marina Štremfelj and Manuela Viezzoli. The letter was even sent to Rupnik himself. 

Pauline Media presenting Rupnik with an award

"The accused Rupnik is a Jesuit. The head of the agency [the DDF], Cdl. Luis Ladaria, is a Jesuit. A senior official of this agency lives in the same house as Rupnik. The pope is a Jesuit. Who seriously believes that there are no biases here?" Dr. Doris Reisinger, a former nun raped by a priest, tweeted on Thursday.

On Friday, the diocese of Versailles issued a communiqué announcing it had severed relations with the world-famous mosaic artist and was withdrawing its commission to Rupnik to decorate the interior and exterior of the new St. Joseph le Bienveillant church.

Pauline Books and Media, a Catholic publishing empire run by the Daughters of St. Paul, also withdrew three books authored by Fr. Rupnik, Church Militant reported. Jesuit LGBT propagandist Fr. James Martin wrote the forward for Rupnik's Human Frailty, Divine Redemption.

--- Campaign 32075 ---


Have a news tip? Submit news to our tip line.

We rely on you to support our news reporting. Please donate today.
By commenting on you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our comment posting guidelines

Loading Comments