Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes; A View Of The Exterior Of The Basilica Del Rosario. Photo: Centroaletti

France: Lourdes Shrine Announces a Period of Reflection to Decide Whether To Keep or Remove Jesuit Marko Rupnik’s Works

The Bishop of Lourdes-Tarbes stresses that “given the specificity of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, the general question of the status of the works of artists involved in situations of abuse acquires a much more sensitive character here.”

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(ZENIT News / Lourdes, 04.04.2023).- Last March 31, the Bishop of Lourdes-Tarbes, Jean-Marc Micas, announced the beginning of a period of reflection in view of taking a decision regarding the fate of Jesuit Marko Ivan Rupnik’s works, in one of the world’s most important Marian Shrines.

In 2008, on the 150th anniversary of the Apparitions, the Lourdes Shrine decorated the façade of the Rosary Basilica with mosaics illustrating the Luminous Mysteries. The studio of Fr. Marko Rupnik, Jesuit of Slovenian origin, was commissioned to create the mosaics.  

In a press release, the Bishop stated:

“As all works of art, they are appreciated by some and less so by others, but the great majority of pilgrims and visitors of Lourdes highlight their beauty. For several months now, Fr. Rupnik has made news after various complaints of sexual abuses committed against adults in the framework of his ministry, in several regions of the world. He was sanctioned by his Religious Superiors and by the Holy See. The question arises about the state of his works and their future.”

Monsignor Micas emphasized that “Given the specificity of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, the general question of the status of the works of artists in situations of abuse acquires here a much more sensitive character. Lourdes is a place where many victims go to the Immaculate Conception to seek consolation and healing. Their anguish is great in face of Mr. Rupnik’s mosaics in this very place: we cannot ignore it.”

As a result of this, they shared that “On Monday, March27, with the Rector Fr. Michel Daubanes, we took over the Shrine’s Orientation Council and posed this question. The subject was very seriously addressed: now we know that the victims must be in the center of our thought, and any decision will have grave consequences.” Hence my communication that “To be helped in the decision that I’ll have to take, it was decided to create a group of reflection already in April. In addition to the Bishop and the Rector, there will be in this group a victim, an expert in sacred art and a psychotherapist. At this stage there is a mission and two “instructions”: To develop the necessary elements to take the best decision; To carry out this reflection in the most serene way possible; Not to reject a priori any hypothetical decision.”  

Although no decision has been taken yet on the fate of the works, in the recent past the Francisco de Vitoria University of the Legionaries of Christ in Madrid, paused the collaboration with Rupnik in the University Chapel. The French diocese of Versailles also announced the suspension of artistic collaboration with the Jesuit and a Brazilian University withdrew the Doctorate Honoris Causa conferred on him.

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