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Thursday, December 22, 2022

Alleged Rupnik Victim Pens Open Letter to Jesuits, Vatican

Written by  Diane Montagna
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Father Marko Rupnik (right), who is close to Pope Francis, created several controversial graphics for Vatican events, including the so-called “two-eyed monster” that was used for the Year Of Mercy Father Marko Rupnik (right), who is close to Pope Francis, created several controversial graphics for Vatican events, including the so-called “two-eyed monster” that was used for the Year Of Mercy

VATICAN CITY —The Remnant has obtained a copy of a letter sent six months ago by an alleged victim of Jesuit artist Father Marko Ivan Rupnik to top Church leaders, asking why no action had been taken as the Slovenian priest continued to be held up as a reliable teacher in the Church.

 

The letter dated June 5, 2022 and sent by a former religious sister pseudonymously called Anna — who earlier this week gave an explosive interview to Italian media detailing the extent of the depravity she allegedly suffered — was addressed to the Jesuit’s superior general, Father Arturo Sosa, and copied to 17 Church leaders and Vatican officials.

They included Jesuit Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Vicar of Rome; and Jesuit Bishop Daniele Libanori, an auxiliary bishop of Rome whom the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) assigned to lead a preliminary investigation into the religious community co-founded by Father Rupnik.

The letter is published in full below with the victim’s permission.

Anna had described the nine years of abuse she had suffered as a “descent into Hell,” and said that Father Rupnik’s “sexual obsession was not extemporaneous but deeply connected to his conception of art and his theological thought.”

Anna begins her missive by stressing she is trying “once again to break the circle of silence and exclusion within which I have found myself for many, too many years: twenty-eight, after my first complaint of duress and psycho-physical-spiritual abuse, suffered in my relationship with Father Marko Rupnik.”

“I am bewildered by the fact that despite the serious accusations against him, and for which I have been called to testify again, Father Rupnik continues to give lectures around Italy and post his catecheses on YouTube,” she continued, citing a retreat the Slovenian Jesuit gave for priests in Larino, Italy, on May 10, 2022 (see other examples here).

In her Dec. 18 interview with Italian media, Anna had described the nine years of abuse she had suffered as a “descent into Hell,” and said that Father Rupnik’s “sexual obsession was not extemporaneous but deeply connected to his conception of art and his theological thought.”

In her June letter, she wrote: “I ask the Church to see my suffering” and added: “As a victim and a Christian, I feel it is my duty to forgive Father Rupnik, but at the same time I have a right to a word of truth from the Church about the facts reported.”

She concluded her letter, saying: “I am comforted by the Church’s oft-stated desire for transparency with regard to matters such as those I have suffered, and I await a response.”

The letter, which she sent by certified mail six months after testifying at Bishop Libanori’s request during a preliminary investigation for the CDF, was met with no reply.

“At that time, I could hardly imagine that there were so many other sisters involved in the abuse,” she says.

Four months later, in October 2022, the case was closed after a decision was made not to prosecute due to the statute of limitations — despite the fact that Father Rupnik had been temporarily excommunicated in May 2020 for the crime of using the confessional to absolve a woman with whom he had engaged in sexual activity.

Bishop Libanori had uncovered the alleged serial abuse when the CDF (now Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith — DDF) sent him to Slovenia to investigate the religious community to which Anna belonged from 1987-1994.

In her deposition, given Dec 10, 2021, the former religious said she recounted “the painful events that repeatedly threw me into despair to the point of seeking death by fleeing the Community.”

“At that time, I could hardly imagine that there were so many other sisters involved in the abuse,” she says.

Second Letter

In addition to Anna’s letter, the Remnant has also obtained a second missive sent to the same Church leaders by another ex-religious of the same community whom we call “Teresa” to protect her identity. She said she was “indirectly” involved in the complaints made against Father Rupnik and corroborated Anna’s claims.

Anna has confirmed the authenticity of the second letter.

In Teresa’s letter, addressed to Cardinal Ladaria and copied to Father Sosa and the same recipients as Anna’s letter, she wrote that through her role in the community she came to learn that Father Rupnik “was exploiting his role as confessor and spiritual father to establish, through manipulation, intimate relationships of a sexual nature.”

The Associated Press reported on a letter Bishop Libanori had written to Rome priests, saying that Father Rupnik’s victims deserve to be believed, that the full truth must still come out, and that those who protected Father Rupnik must step up.

At that time, she said she “gradually became aware of more and more sisters who were involved in this unhealthy relationship, as a result of which many of them had their lives destroyed.”

In a stunning statement, she writes: “At the time of the events recounted, to my knowledge, of all the sisters with vows, at least half were involved in this kind of relationship with Father Rupnik.”

The publication of Anna’s letter comes just days after the Associated Press reported on a letter Bishop Libanori had written to Rome priests, saying that Father Rupnik’s victims deserve to be believed, that the full truth must still come out, and that those who protected Father Rupnik must step up.

“Wounded and offended people, who have seen their lives ruined by the evil suffered and by complicit silence, have the right to have their dignity even publicly restored now that everything has come to light,” Bishop Libanori wrote. “We the Church have a duty to seriously examine our conscience, and those who are responsible must acknowledge it and humbly ask the world to forgive the scandal.”

Here below with the victim’s permission is a copy of the original letter, along with an English translation. The original has been redacted in order to protect her identity.

***

From:
[Name]

To:
Fr Arturo Sosa Abascal, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus

CC:
Cardinal Luis Ladaria, S.J., Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith
Fr Benjamin Earl, OP Procurator General
Card Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome
Fr Johan Verschueren, S.J., Delegate of the Interprovincial Houses of Rome
His Excellency the Most Rev. Daniele Libanori, S.J.,
Fr Benoît Malvaux, S.J., Procurator of the Society of Jesus
Fr Roberto Del Riccio, S.J., Provincial Superior of the Euro-Mediterranean Province
Fr Hans Zollner, S.J., Dean of the Institute of Anthropology
Monsignor John Joseph Kennedy, Secretary of the Disciplinary Section of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith
His Excellency the Most Rev. Stanislav Zore, OFM, Archbishop of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Fr Miran Žvanut, S.J., Provincial of the Society of Jesus in Slovenia
Maria Campatelli, Director of the Aletti Center
Fr Milan Žust, S.J., Superior of the Holy Trinity Residence (Aletti Center)
Fr Marko Rupnik, S.J., Aletti Center, Rome
Fr Ivan Bresciani, S.J., Aletti Center, Rome
Michelina Tenace, Aletti Center
Marina Štremfelj, Santa Severa Team - Aletti Center
Manuela Viezzoli, Aletti Center
Reverend Father General

My name is [NAME], I was born in [CITY] on [DATE OF BIRTH].  I am writing this open letter to try once again to break the circle of silence and exclusion within which I have found myself for many, too many years: twenty-eight, after my first complaint of duress and psycho-physical-spiritual abuse, suffered in my relationship with Fr Marko Rupnik.

I am bewildered by the fact that despite the serious accusations against him, and for which I have been called to testify again, Fr Rupnik continues to give lectures around Italy and post his catecheses on YouTube. This sad reality makes me doubt whether I have been believed. I have a need to know—I think legitimate, after so much suffering—if the Church considers Fr Rupnik a reliable teacher.

It would seem so, since in May of this year, he gave a lecture on ‘Creativity in Priesthood and Marriage’—the same man who forced me through pressure and blackmail, to do things that I reported in a timely manner and in the appropriate forum. It is with extreme difficulty that I still write about my experience today, but I feel a moral duty, as far as I am able, to help you understand his level of dangerousness.

About a year ago Fr Daniele Libanori SJ, auxiliary bishop of Rome, asked me, following the commissioning of the Religious Community of which I was a member from October 1, 1987, to March 31, 1994, if I would be willing to testify about the physical, psychological, and spiritual manipulation and abuse I suffered in my relationship with Fr Marko Rupnik SJ as spiritual director and confessor. I refer to my report and testimony given at the preliminary investigation for the CDF on December 10, 2021—the account of the painful events that repeatedly threw me into despair to the point of seeking death by fleeing the Community.

At that time, I could hardly imagine that there were so many other sisters involved in the abuse. After my first complaint, no one helped me, neither the Community, nor the Archbishop of Ljubljana at that time, nor Fr Tomaš Špidlik, SJ, Fr Rupnik’s spiritual director, with whom I spoke and tried to explain what was going on. All of them—in addition to Fr Špidlik there were also the Jesuit fathers who were Fr Rupnik’s direct superiors, and those who knew the facts—decided to cover everything up with a blanket of silence. It was easy because I was too sick and completely alone.

For these reasons, it was difficult and painful to bring to mind and bear witness to my experience with Fr Rupnik, and for these reasons today I ask the Church to see my suffering.

I have no desire for revenge for what I have suffered, but an expectation of justice for someone in her early twenties, a medical student, who has seen her life irreparably turned upside down.

Months have passed since, with pain and effort, I gave my deposition, and I see Fr Rupnik continuing in his role as a teacher in the Church.

As a victim and a Christian, I feel it is my duty to forgive Fr Rupnik, but at the same time I have a right to a word of truth from the Church about the facts reported.

In conclusion, I would like to express my deep concern that Fr Rupnik could harm anyone further.

I am comforted by the Church’s oft-stated desire for transparency with regard to matters such as those I have suffered, and I await a response.                    

In faith, [NAME]

Italian originals below:

 Pg 1 Original Redacted Anna Letter

Pg 2 Original Redacted Anna Letter

Pg 3 Original Redacted Anna Letter

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Last modified on Saturday, December 24, 2022