Slovenian bishops issue a communiqué on Marko Rupnik
While concern was rising in the Vatican and Borgo Santo Spirito over the revelations that Silere non possum made regarding the case of Marko Ivan Rupnik, the press in Slovenia was engaged in a strident defence of the Jesuit artist.
The Slovenian Bishops’ Conference itself immediately rejected the accusations and published on its website the statements, later revealed to be false, of the Slovenian Jesuit provincial Father Miran Žvanut. The Jesuit said: “the facts are exaggerated”. Žvanut lied and the Society of Jesus itself was forced to admit what we had denounced on 01 December 2022. In this case, too, the Society of Jesus showed that it didn’t even coordinate its members.
Today, following the many requests we have made over the past 20 days, and following some stances also taken by some local presbyters, the Slovenian bishops signed a declaration that is clearly a washout. The text was presented during a press conference, which you can find at the end of this article.
The bishops’ lies
First of all, it should be pointed out that it is not possible that the bishops did not know about the visits that H.E.R. Msgr. Daniele Libanori made to the Slovenian community of consecrated women. Secondly, the accusations against Rupnik had also been made several times in Ljubljana, and the letter we published was also sent to H.E.R. Msgr. Stanislav Zore, Archbishop of the city.
How come, he never replied? Today’s statement, which the Franciscan signed, is therefore false. It isn’t true that he learned of the abuses committed by the press, he learned of them, at least, in June 2022.
Despite the tragic nature of the events, the Slovenian bishops are keen to write: “We have known Fr. Rupnik as an outstanding artist and insightful spiritual leader who has marked many personal lives and communities and created many works of art and spiritual literature. We understand that many of you are hurt by this news and that you are wondering whether or not it should all be thrown away. We beg you, with this tragic realization in mind, to distinguish his unacceptable and reprehensible actions from his extraordinary spiritual and artistic accomplishments in mosaics and other areas. All of this is a great test of our faith and trust in God.”.
Obvious, right? We, we still don’t understand what these “extraordinary works” are that are being talked about, having said that, it is a test of faith. That obnoxious phrase that is always used is back: ‘He did good things too, come on’.
It must also be remembered that within the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference, Marko Ivan Rupnik’s influence is still very strong. Suffice it to say that H.E.R. Bishop Andrej Saje, the current president, was moulded by the Jesuit. In this photo, he is shown with the Pontiff inside the Domus Santa Marta and wearing the pectoral cross designed by Ivan Rupnik around his neck.
Rupnik’s power is more important than the victims.
The Bishop of Rome and his Vicar
This morning, during the Pope’s address to the Roman Curia, the Vicar of His Holiness, who would have gladly saluted the Pontiff without lingering too long, endured a rebuke from Francis.
Despite this, Angelo De Donatis does not hint at wanting to take any steps regarding the Rupnik Case. The Slovenian Jesuit remains rector of the Church of San Filippo Neri on the Esquiline and a member of the Commission for Sacred Art and Cultural Heritage. In the last few hours, the parish priests have received a letter from the Vicar inviting them to retrieve the Christmas booklets, but not a word of clarification about Marko Rupnik.
A sad reality
Of course, it must be said that in this situation no one is saved. The Slovenian press made a bad impression. Until the very end it wanted to accuse everyone of a conspiracy against the great man, the bishops listened to the Slovenian provincial who lied, and now they make a statement that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Here in the Vatican, we look at all this with a certain astonishment. Even the Italian press, especially the one most closely associated with Francis, did not want to tarnish the figure of the King. The Pontiff, even this morning, was annoyed. Not so much because Rupnik did what was said, but because the news came out.
With Francis, the system is as follows: the prince must not cast a shadow over the king. He must not create problems for him. That is why he was angry with Angelo De Donatis.
Sadly, we have to say that what we predicted has turned out to be true: there is a terrible hypocrisy surrounding the sad scourge of abuse. The Truth, it interests few people.
Silere non possum
We the Slovenian bishops, assembled in Ljubljana on 21 December 2022 for an extraordinary session of the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference upon the discovery of abuses by the Jesuit Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik, unanimously make the following statement:
It is with great sadness and hurt that we are following the disclosure of various abuses by Fr. Rupnik, which took place over a long period of time, but which the current Slovenian bishops have learned about from publications in the media. After the Jesuit superiors confirmed the veracity of the facts, we condemn all of Rupnik’s acts of emotional, sexual, and spiritual violence and gross abuse of the sacrament of reconciliation. We support the superiors in their quest for truth and justice. It is never the victims’ fault! We are on their side. We express our sympathy and closeness to them and pledge to help them. We also want to stand by the wider community.
We regret these unacceptable acts remained hidden for so many years and caused suffering to the victims and their loved ones. We regret the omission of responsible actions and the concealment of the facts of sexual and spiritual violence and the abuse of power and authority, not only in the case of Rupnik, but also in all other cases that have happened in Slovenia or anywhere else. We also regret that the victims have not really been heard for decades. Any misuse of spiritual power and authority to carry out violence against subordinates is an unacceptable and despicable act.
We stand for greater transparency and zero tolerance towards physical, sexual, psychological and spiritual violence. Regardless of the fact that some actions are legally past the statute of limitations, the latter are always reprehensible and demand condemnation. We commit ourselves to more persistent monitoring of the activities in our Church communities, so that there will no longer be any abuse of authority by persons who have any leadership role in the Church.
We urge the victims of abuses by Fr. Rupnik to contact the published addresses (e.g. email@example.com) in order that the truth and a fair verdict can be reached as comprehensively as possible. We also ask other victims of violent acts by other perpetrators in our Church communities to come forward as well. We ask everyone to report any abuse and violence in any form whatsoever. In addition, we beg your patience in order for us to strengthen our urgently needed structures, implement the prescribed procedures and provide education and awareness training regarding the issue of sexual and spiritual violence. Only by working together and breaking the silence, which sides with the perpetrators, can we stop this evil.
The news about the abuses committed by Fr. Rupnik have shocked the Slovenian and global public. The broader community also is indirectly a victim of his actions. We have known Fr. Rupnik as an outstanding artist and insightful spiritual leader who has marked many personal lives and communities and created many works of art and spiritual literature. We understand that many of you are hurt by this news and that you are wondering whether or not it should all be thrown away. We beg you, with this tragic realization in mind, to distinguish his unacceptable and reprehensible actions from his extraordinary spiritual and artistic accomplishments in mosaics and other areas. All of this is a great test of our faith and trust in God.
Let the learning about these painful discoveries be an opportunity for the purification and renewal of the Church. We invite you all to come together in search of the truth and create a common vision of the future. The holy days of Christmas are just before us. Jesus is coming into our darkness to save and cleanse us. He is come to be the Light to all people. Let us not allow the forces of darkness and lies to win.
Msgr. Andrej Saje
Bishop of Novo Mesto and
President of the Slovenian Bishops’ Conference (SBC)
Msgr. Peter Štumpf
Bishop of Murska Sobota and
Vice-President of the SBC
Msgr. Maksimilijan Matjaž
Bishop of Celje and
Member of the Permanent Council of the SBC
Msgr. Stanislav Zore
Metropolitan Archbishop of Ljubljana
Msgr. Alojzij Cvikl
Metropolitan Archbishop of Maribor
Msgr. Jurij Bizjak
Bishop of Koper
Msgr. Anton Jamnik
Auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana
Msgr. Franc Šuštar
Auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana
Article published on 22 December 2022