Completely shameless or just tone-deaf?
In Your Face: Francis uses Serial Abuser Rupnik’s Art in Video Message to Marian Conference
The name of ‘Fr.’ Marko Ivan Rupnik, S.J. (b. 1954) has become infamous in recent months.
Rupnik is a Slovenian Jesuit presbyter and artist whose religious mosaics have been used in various churches in Europe, including Redemptoris Mater chapel in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. In late 2022, accusations of spiritual, psychological, and sexual abuse surfaced against him — and then followed additional revelations:
- “The head of Pope Francis’ Jesuit religious order admitted Wednesday that a famous Jesuit priest had been convicted of one of the most serious crimes in the Catholic Church some two years before the Vatican decided to shelve another case against him for allegedly abusing other adult women under his spiritual care.” (Associated Press)
- “A Vatican-appointed investigator … said the claims of the women about the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik were true and that they had ‘seen their lives ruined by the evil suffered and by the complicit silence’ of the church. …the Jesuit religious order of Pope Francis admitted that Rupnik, an artist whose mosaics grace churches and chapels around the world, had been excommunicated for having committed one of the most serious crimes in the church: using the confessional to absolve a woman with whom he had engaged in sexual activity.” (Associated Press)
- “After the Jesuit superiors confirmed the veracity of the facts, we [Slovenian Novus Ordo bishops] condemn all of Rupnik’s acts of emotional, sexual, and spiritual violence and gross abuse of the sacrament of reconciliation.” (Katoliska Cerkev)
- “In 2020, while subject to a penal process but before the penalty of excommunication was declared, Rupnik was invited to preach a Lenten retreat to the Roman curia. Since his conviction, [as of Dec. 22, 2022] he has traveled widely, received international awards for his work, and continued to release video commentaries on theological matters.” (The Pillar)
Here are some further links to various news articles about the horrific Rupnik affair:
- Rupnik scandal is new piece of Vatican mosaic on abuse cases
- Interview: An alleged Rupnik victim speaks out
- The Fr. Rupnik case: What is wrong with these people?
- The Father Rupnik Case: A Timeline
- Rupnik abuse scandal knocks at Santa Marta
- Alleged Rupnik Victim Pens Open Letter to Jesuits, Vatican
- Father Rupnik ‘egocentric and violent,’ a sister from his former community alleges
- Rupnik’s exit leaves a ‘mosaic’ of questions
In short, the Rupnik case is really serious and touches upon ‘Pope’ Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) himself. Not to mention the fact that Rupnik’s religious art, where it is present, will now inevitably draw people’s thoughts to this frightful abuse scandal rather than to heavenly things. (Not everyone, by the way, is impressed with his artistic work, and at least one Novus Ordo priest says “it’s not sacred art”.)
Here is a typical mosaic Rupnik designed, depicting St. Anthony of Padua with the Christ Child, found in a church in Rome:
Here is an example of Rupnik’s work being used in a sanctuary in Bratislava, Slovakia:
Portraying figures with large dark eyes is the Slovenian Jesuit’s trademark. Remember the bizarre-looking logo for Bergoglio’s ‘Year of Mercy’ in 2015/16? Guess who designed it:
If you look closely, you will see that although there are only two heads, there are three eyes. The middle one is shared by both of them. The Jesuit artist makes it possible!
Even as late as 2021, the Vatican used Rupnik to design the logo for the World Meeting of Families, even though he had already been convicted of abuse and excommunicated in the previous year. That logo, too, shows a “shared third eye”.
With all this background of the Rupnik case, we can finally move on to what just happened on May 23, 2023: ‘Pope’ Francis recorded a brief video message, released on June 1, for the 16th Mariological Conference in Aparecida, Brazil.
The full text of the message has been translated by Catholic Conclave here, but the content does not really concern us. Francis simply explains how the Blessed Virgin is the “ladder”, so to speak, by which God descended into our world. To illustrate his point, however, he points to an icon of the Blessed Mother with the Christ Child in his apartment at the Casa Santa Marta; and wouldn’t you know it, the icon is a mosaic of Marko Rupnik, S.J. See for yourself:
Out of all the images, paintings, icons, and sculptures of our Lady with the Lord Jesus — a great many of which, surely, can be found in Vatican City — the ‘Pope’ had to choose one made by the convicted spiritual, psychological, and sexual abuser. Ah, but you see, this icon shows the sacred Feet of the Christ Child in the hands of His Mother, who seems to be “making a ladder”, as it were, for her Divine Son. No doubt, the world needed to see Rupnik art for that reason alone.
Meanwhile, Vatican News has no qualms either about continuing to use Rupnik’s artwork, for example, to announce the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (More about that here.)
Long-time readers may remember that ‘Pope’ Francis visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida during his World Youth Day visit in the summer of 2013. Interestingly enough, a permanent installation of ‘Fr.’ Rupnik’s mosaics has been underway for all four facades of the basilica, with two of them already completed. See here an article in Portuguese, but with photos:
“Named Biblical Journey, the decoration project of the four facades of the National Shrine of Aparecida was entrusted to Father Marko Rupnik, considered the most outstanding sacred artist of today”, states the article.
Also visible in Bergoglio’s video message, by the way, is a replica of the top portion of a column of a French basilica Francis loves to talk about (it can be seen right underneath the Rupnik mosaic). He claims, untruly, that this sculpture depicts Christ the Good Shepherd carrying the dead Judas Iscariot, signaling hope for his salvation. That is utterly false, but is yet another piece in the — pardon the pun — mosaic of Bergoglio’s diseased theology. We have covered this before:
- Francis: “Someone might think, ‘This Pope is a Heretic’…” for saying Judas Iscariot might be saved!
- Sympathy for the Devil: Vatican Newspaper tries to elicit Compassion for Judas Iscariot on Holy Thursday
Francis is known to have a soft spot not only for the traitor who died in despair, but also for questionable art. Also in his apartment, for example, we find a despicable painting showing a nude Christ bending over the corpse of Judas (see a report here); and then he has stated several times that Marc Chagall’s [blasphemous] White Crucifixion is his favorite.
Bergoglio does all this because he can.
Image sources: composite with elements from YouTube (screenshots) / Shutterstock (Renata Sedmakova; cropped) / Shutterstock (Renata Sedmakova) / Vatican
Licenses: fair use / paid / paid / fair use