Slovenian Bishops hold a press conference Slovenian Bishops hold a press conference 

Slovenian Bishops express grief and dismay over Fr. Rupnik case

The Bishops of Slovenia release a unanimously-approved statement in response to allegations of abuse on the part of the Jesuit artist Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik.

By Vatican News staff reporter

“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.”

The Slovenian Bishops’ Conference released a statement on Thursday beginning with that declaration, following an extraordinary session held on 21 December.

Closeness to abuse victims

The statement was approved unanimously by the Bishops, and affirmed that abuse “is never the victims’ fault”. The Bishops also expressed their “sympathy and closeness” to victims of abuse, saying they are “on their side”.

“After the Jesuit superiors confirmed the veracity of the facts,” said the Bishops, “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.”

The head of the Jesuits’ Houses in Rome released a "Timeline of the investigations into allegations against Fr. Marko Rupnik” on Tuesday.

Condemnation of abuse

In their statement, the Bishops of Slovenia lament that Fr. Rupnik’s “unacceptable acts remained hidden for so many years and caused suffering to the victims and their loved ones.”

They also expressed their regret for the “omission of responsible actions and the concealment of the facts of sexual and spiritual violence and the abuse of power and authority”, both in the case of Fr. Rupnik and of others “that have happened in Slovenia or anywhere else.”

“Any misuse of spiritual power and authority to carry out violence against subordinates is an unacceptable and despicable act.”

Plea for victims to come forward

According to the Jesuit-released “Timeline”, the Dicastery (then-Congregation) for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the allegations of abuse exceeded the statute of limitations and that no trial could proceed.

In response, the Slovenian Bishops said “regardless of the fact that some actions are legally past the statute of limitations, the latter are always reprehensible and demand condemnation.”

They also ask everyone to report any abuse and violence, saying that only by “working together and breaking the silence” will it be possible to “stop this evil.”

Chance for renewal

In conclusion, the Bishops of Slovenia said the “painful discoveries” of abuse by Fr. Rupnik can provide an “opportunity for the purification and renewal of the Church.”

“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.”

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22 December 2022, 16:29