Alleged victims of Rupnik have hopeful expectations of Pope Francis’ decision — By: Catholic News Agency

Father Marko Rupnik / Courtesy of the Diocese of Rome

ACI Prensa Staff, Oct 31, 2023 / 16:30 pm (CNA).

A group of alleged victims of Father Marko Rupnik said Monday that Pope Francis’ decision to lift the statute of limitations on the case and order the opening of a new process against the priest accused of sexual abuse “is an appropriate step for the truth to be recognized.” 

Gloria Branciani, Mirjam Kovač, Vida Bernard, Mira Stare, and Jožica Zupančič are the authors of a news release shared with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, commenting that they were “very surprised” by the statement from the Holy See.

The five women, former sisters of the Loyola Community, were referring to the Oct. 27 statement by the Holy See Press Office that reported that Pope Francis had decided to lift the statute of limitations on the Rupnik case, allowing a canonical process to take place. The priest is accused of having sexually abused women for decades.

According to the Holy See, “in September the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors brought to the pope’s attention that there were serious problems in the handling of the Father Marko Rupnik case and lack of outreach to victims.” 

“Consequently, the Holy Father asked the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith to review the case and decided to lift the statute of limitations to allow a process to take place.”

The alleged victims hope “that this is an appropriate step for the truth to be recognized. We are waiting for new developments.”

The former sisters, with the exception of Zupančič, were the same women who wrote an open letter in September stating they were left “speechless” by the final positive report on the Diocese of Rome’s canonical investigation of the Aletti Center, which Rupnik founded. 

They also pointed out that the pope’s Sept. 15 meeting with Maria Campatelli, current director of the Aletti Center and close collaborator of Rupnik, caused them even more pain, because the pontiff had never responded to the letters sent to him by members and former members of the Loyola Community.

The Aletti Center is an art and theology school in Rome that Rupnik ran from 1995–2020 and where he allegedly abused some of its members as well as members of the Loyola Community in Slovenia.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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