29 September 2023, The Tablet

Letter to Pope needed to stop ‘truly dangerous’ Rupnik, says author

by Walter Sanchez Silva, CNA

“Many of the sisters are still in quite bad shape and have never received any help, neither material nor psychological.”

Letter to Pope needed to stop ‘truly dangerous’ Rupnik, says author

Marko Rupnik with his design for the tenth World Meeting of Families.
Screenshot from Diocese of Rome YouTube channel / CNA

One of the original members of the Loyola Community founded by Fr Marko Rupnik has explained the reasons that led her and the others to publish an open letter following a report by the Diocese of Rome on the Centro Aletti, also founded by the Slovenian priest.

Prof Fabrizia Raguso alleges that she was abused by Rupnik, whom she met in 1990.

“I personally cannot sit still and wait for everything to be decided behind our backs, without being informed of anything and without being allowed to participate in [how things turn out for us],” Raguso said in an interview with La Nueva Brújula Cotidiana.

“Although I have already requested and received the indult [to leave] and therefore I am completely freed from the community, I nevertheless feel a responsibility, both civil and ecclesial, so that everything that has happened in these 30 years comes to light and justice is done,” she explained.

“Many of the sisters are still in quite bad shape and have never received any help, neither material nor psychological. The others who signed with me, in some way, with certainly personal nuances, feel the same,” she said.

Rupnik co-founded the Loyola Community with Ivanka Hosta in Slovenia in the 1980s, where he allegedly abused adult nuns.

After a preliminary investigation entrusted to the Society of Jesus, the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) “determined that the incidents in question should be considered beyond the statute of limitations and therefore closed the case at the beginning of October of this year 2022,” according to a statement from the Jesuits dated 2 December 2022.

A group of alleged victims of Rupnik, who has been expelled from the Jesuits, published an open letter on 19 September in which they expressed their outrage and consternation following the report of the Diocese of Rome on the Centro Aletti.

The letter, addressed to the Pope and published in seven languages, is signed by women who were part of the Loyola Community, including Raguso, now an assistant professor of psychology at the Portuguese Catholic University of Braga, Mira Stare, doctor in theology from the University of Innsbruck, Gloria Branciani, a philosophy graduate, Vida Bernard, a theology graduate, Mirjam Kovac, a doctor in canon law, and Jožica Zupancic, a doctor in missiology.

“The events and communications that have taken place in recent days: the private audience, later made public through images that appeared on the web, granted by the pope to Maria Campatelli, former nun of the Loyola Community and current president of the Aletti Centre, and the statement made public today with the final report of the canonical visit made to the community of the Aletti Centre, leave us speechless, without a voice to shout our consternation, our outrage,” says the letter.

The letter also charges that the report from the Diocese of Rome “ridicules the pain of the victims, as well as that of the entire Church, mortally wounded by such ostentatious arrogance”.

In her interview with La Nueva Brújula Cotidiana, Raguso noted that the signatories of the open letter feel “responsible for all the other people who may still be involved in Rupnik and Ivanka’s plots, especially if they are young”.

“In addition to Rupnik’s cunning ways of insinuating [himself] into civil, cultural, and ecclesial life, Ivanka has always continued to look for ‘vocations’. She was concerned that not only was the community not growing but that many had left over time,” Raguso said.

She warned that Rupnik and Hosta “are truly dangerous, they must be stopped definitively”.

“Now, faced with this clumsy but also arrogant attempt to rehabilitate Rupnik and the Aletti Centre, we feel that waiting for truth and justice from the ecclesial authorities was a waste of time,” she said.

“We had to take a decisive step: writing an open letter and putting our names and academic titles was a way to give a face and a name to the victims and counteract the preconceived idea that victims are ‘vulnerable’ because they lack awareness or are little educated,” she explained.

After emphasising that “in the spiritual life, abuse destroys the relationship of the abused person with God,” Raguso said that after the abuse she has always seen Rupnik “as a true narcissist and with a great desire to assert himself, to gain fame and power – very angry when contradicted”.

The Diocese of Rome released a statement on 18 September about the canonical visit made to the Centro Aletti with the aim of “investigating the dynamics of the association”.

Fr Giacomo Incitti, professor of canon law at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome who led the investigation, said in the report that the centre has “a healthy community life, free of any particular critical problem”.

In addition, the visit also examined “the main accusations made against Fr Rupnik, especially the one that gave rise to the request for excommunication,” the report states.

“On the basis of the abundant documentary material studied, the visitor has been able to note and, therefore, point out seriously anomalous procedures, the examination of which has generated well-founded doubts even about the request for excommunication itself,” said the report.

Rupnik was briefly excommunicated in 2019 for absolving in confession a woman with whom he had sexual relations.

“I believe that a Church so torn by these plots lacking clarity will not be able to endure much longer. It sincerely pains me that the bishops still do not understand that hiding evil destroys the Church, it doesn’t preserve it at all,” Raguso said.

  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99