Two of the victims of the Slovenian Jesuit Marko Rupnikknown for being the author of mosaics in churches around the world, publicly told this Wednesday for the first time the sexual and psychological abuse to which they were subjected and asked for “transparency” in the canonical process that was reopened against him in the Vatican.

For the first time, two of the former religious of the Loyola community in Ljubljana who suffered abuse at the hands of Rupnik, who was the center’s spiritual guide, came to light and explained at a press conference that They estimate that another 20 nuns from this institution were abused by the Jesuit and what was built around the case “a wall of silence” who hope that now it can be broken.

For more than an hour, Gloria Branciani, born in Rome in 1964, recounted in great detail and deeply emotional that when she was a medical student she was completely manipulated by Rupnik, who managed to do whatever he wanted with her. “so that their spirituality would grow”.

The woman recounted the sexual abuse committed in the mosaic studio where she worked in Rome, in the car where he took her around Slovenia “so that she could get to know the culture” or even forced her into relationships between three people, along with another nun also captured by the Jesuit telling him that it was “the maximum representation of the Holy Trinity.”

Brancini describes a situation of total “abuse of conscience” and that there came a time when He just wanted to die, but he managed to leave the community. The former nun tried to report everything to her superior, but she advised him to keep quietas with Marko Rupnik’s spiritual father who even told him that he should leave the community and denounced that in all this time no one has believed him.

Over time, another of the nuns, Mirjan Kovac, received testimonies from other of her colleagues about Rupnik’s years of abuse and also decided to react to the power and psychological abuses that she also suffered.

Both women have been called to testify to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responsible for canonical processes regarding sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults, after Pope Francis decided to reopen the case in October 2023 after that it had been closed at first with hardly any consequences, what it had cost the Vatican harsh criticism for the management of this matter.

The two women appeared today with the lawyer who will represent them in this case, Laura Sgro, known for several trials in the Vatican Court, and who today announced that new judicial steps “are being evaluated” although she did not want to specify which ones or where. “Until now the management of this case has not been clear and that is why we have exposed ourselves to stimulate greater transparency,” explained Gloria Brancini.

At the moment, it is known that a Diocese of Slovenia confirmed that it had welcomed Marko Rupnikafter he was expelled from the Society of Jesus, to which he belonged, for “his obstinate refusal to observe the vow of obedience.”

When the case broke out, the Jesuits admitted that Rupnik had been sanctioned with some restrictions such as the prohibition of the exercise of the sacrament of confession, spiritual direction and accompaniment of spiritual exercises after an investigation into sexual and psychological abuse of nuns in the 90s.

It was also explained that, according to the chronology published on its page by the Society of Jesus, which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued in May 2020 a decree that punished the Jesuit with excommunication for the crime of “absolving an accomplice of a sin against the sixth commandment”, but shortly after, with an extraordinary act, the excommunication was lifted.

It is unknown for what reason the artist’s excommunication was lifted. According to some media, the pope is the only authority that can do it, while others suggest that the sentence could have been challenged by Father Rupnik and later changed to other types of sanctions. With the possible opening of a new process, this time for sexual abuse, the priest could be sentenced to expulsion from the priesthood.


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