Silere Non Possum [Italy]

December 10, 2022

The canonical trial of Father Ivan Rupnik can be represented with the image of a bottle. The consecrated women of the Loyola Community, where the Slovenian Jesuit was confessor and spiritual director, found themselves victims of a man who was abusive and, at the same time, aware of his power. Indeed, one cannot count the friendships that Rupnik cultivated over the years. Too big to fail, whispers someone, here in the Vatican.

The canonical process

The first courageous women who chose to denounce Mark Ivan Rupnik’s abuse of power were confronted by people who said: ‘No, it cannot be possible‘. This often happens when the perpetrator is powerful and enjoys an aura of sanctity. The human mind cannot accept this being questioned. Yet, psychology teaches us, it is in this very fabric that the worst violence is born.

The complaints, however, became more and more numerous and the canonical investigation became a duty. H.E.R. Msgr. Daniele Libanori, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, conducted a meticulous investigation to verify the veracity of the reports. He also went to Slovenia and heard and examined many testimonies. Not only the victims were heard but also several people who had been in contact with the Jesuit artist. There were many questions to be answered: in the Loyola Community there were many sisters who abandoned religious life, why? Was there a causal connection? Why were these exits traumatic and violent? Were the consecrated women who accused Rupnik credible? Were the stories likely or were they revenge against the Jesuit?

“The victims heard are credible and their story is solid”, these are the conclusions of Mgr. Libanori contained in a dossier to be found at the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“Rupnik forced me to do things that I, in reality, did not want to do. He used violence on me, he hit me. In his eyes, in his voice, there was the conviction that he was untouchable. He abused me, my trust. I was submissive. His power, the esteem he enjoys. He is convinced that no one would question his good faith” reports a consecrated woman.

The defence circle

The consecrated women of the Loyola Community also had to face with the power and the circle of people who gathered around Rupnik. The difficulty for these victims was also to become aware of being victims. Even in Slovenia, Ivan Rupnik continues to have great power. Worldwide is esteemed.

The esteem for Rupnik comes from all over the world, where many look at his mosaics with admiration. Many, however, are unaware of what happened within the walls of some communities and what Rupnik did when the spotlight went out. On 30 November 2022 he was even awarded an Honorary Degree by the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná.

The Pontifical University awarded a Jesuit priest who is still under canonical proceedings for abuse. But really, how can people who are unaware of the canonical proceedings know these things? Even though the Provost General has imposed restrictions on Ivan Rupnik, he continues to record his homilies and broadcast them on the Aletti Centre website. The investigatio previa ended with a clear judgment: women are credible, Rupnik must be stopped.

“Someone slowed down the process, put it on stand by. This Someone is at the top”, sources within the Dicastery report.

One of the people who knows about these abuses is a long-time spiritual son of Father Rupnik: H.E.R. Cardinal Angelo De Donatis. The Vicar of His Holiness was also aware of these abuses in 2020, when he commissioned Rupnik to paint and mosaic 1,700 square metres in the Chapel of the Pontifical Roman Seminary.

It is a project that has cost a lot of money and for which De Donatis has asked money, even alumni. Chapel that, moreover, will serve very little seen the desert that has become the Pope’s Seminary. Even now, we are thinking of designing another smaller one. Perhaps another mosaic will be commissioned from the Jesuit?

Does the relationship between Rupnik and Angelo De Donatis work in favour of the Slovenian Jesuit? On many occasions, the cardinal has not shown partiality.

Within the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, there have also been several ‘bottlings’. The file on the Slovenian priest arrived when the Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was H.E.R. Archbishop Giacomo Morandi. As is well known, the current Archbishop of Reggio Emilia Guastalla is very close to the Aletti Centre and has also taught there.

Why were there delays? Did Rupnik’s friendships work in his favour?

The matter, however, certainly did not stop at the Curia offices. Pope Francis, when he received Ivan Rupnik in January 2022, knew about the accusations against him and the ongoing proceedings. Why did Francis not dismiss him from the clerical state? Why did the Pope receive him, smiling, despite the serious evidence in the file?

“No, Holiness, it is all speculation”. In favour of Father Rupnik there also seems to have been the voice of a nun whom the Pope has appointed as head of a section of a dicastery of the Roman Curia. The theologian nun, however, seems to have enjoyed the Slovenian Jesuit’s friendships and certainly did not look at the file. Once again, Francis decides by listening here and there to the opinions of anyone?

The story is very reminiscent of that of Marcial Maciel Degollado. The only difference is that Francis calls himself, and is called, the one who fights for transparency in the Church and the fight against abuse.