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The Church hesitates to continue displaying mosaics of a priest accused of sexual assault

The Church hesitates to continue displaying mosaics of a priest accused of sexual assault
The Church hesitates to continue displaying mosaics of a priest accused of sexual assault

The decision to keep exposed in the French sanctuary of Lourdes the mosaics of a Slovenian priest accused of sexual assault But “without putting them into value”, it shows the Church’s doubts in addressing this delicate case.

The bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes in southwestern France, Jean-Marc Micasannounced on Tuesday that Marko Rupnik’s mosaics In the well-known sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes “they would no longer be highlighted as they have been until now with a play of lights” at night.

“My opinion (…) is that it would be preferable to remove the mosaics”the bishop added, an option that according to him “meets opposition” and would provoke “even more division and violence”he explained in a statement.

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The Vatican reopened the Rupnik case in 2023.

The mosaics are works of Rupnika world-renowned theologian and artist 69 years old and who has more than 200 works spread around the world, from Lourdes to Fatima, passing through Damascus, Washington, Madrid and the Vatican.

The priest is accused of having exercised psychological and sexual violence on at least twenty women for almost 30 yearsin most cases within a Catholic community he led in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, now dissolved. In Lourdes, Its large mosaics are visible on the facade, the doors and the access ramps of the basilica..

But according to the bishop Micasfor the victims are “like two arms of an abuser that embrace them and awaken in them an absolutely horrific trauma”he told the French Catholic newspaper La Croix on Wednesday. In 2023 Micas set up a commission including bishops, experts in sacred art, victims and psychologists to reflect on the fate of mosaics.

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Lawyer Laura Sgro with sisters Gloria Branciani and Mirjam Kovac, who reported sexual and psychological abuse by Rupnik.

Lawyer Laura Sgro with sisters Gloria Branciani and Mirjam Kovac, who reported sexual and psychological abuse by Rupnik.

Reuters

How does the case continue?

For the Attorney Laura Sgrowhich represents five women who had demanded the removal of the Rupnik works, the decision is only “a first step” but others will have to be taken because during the day the mosaics “will be visible and “will continue to fuel the dismay of the faithful and the feeling of pain of the victims”.

The debate is also raging within the Church and even in the Vatican. According to the American Jesuit magazine ‘America’, the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication (equivalent to a ministry in the Vatican), Paolo Ruffinidefended in June keeping the mosaics because “deleting, erasing and destroying art is never a good option”.

His dicastery uses Rupnik’s works to illustrate its online publications, such as the Vatican News website. In contrast, the American Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the Vatican News website, Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minorssaid that one must be “careful” with the works to avoid “the message that the Holy See is unaware of the psychological distress suffered by so many people“.

The Vatican reopened the Rupnik case in 2023 And the Bishop of Lourdes, who expects 3.1 million visitors in 2024, said that after this “first step” he will continue to “make concrete progress” in the coming months. “I want at all costs to avoid tearing the Church apart further”Micas assured the newspaper.

Source: Ambito

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