Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

URGENT: Knights of Columbus to Cover Rupnik’s Play in DC and Connecticut

By meerna Jul12,2024
URGENT: Knights of Columbus to Cover Rupnik’s Play in DC and Connecticut

The Vatican has not provided any further information about the investigation, and it is unclear whether Rupnik still lives in Rome, even though he was ordained a priest in a diocese in his native Slovenia last year.

Growing public outrage

What to do with Rupnik’s once widely praised works, colorful mosaics characterized by large, fluid figures and large eyes, has proven controversial in the wake of multiple accusations against him that first came to light in December 2022.

While some want to await the Vatican’s decision before taking down and reinstalling Rupnik’s works, many of which were created in collaboration with other artists from Centro Aletti — the art school and theological center in Rome that Rupnik founded — public outcry over demands to remove his works has intensified.

The Knights also announced several immediate changes that would be made at the shrine in solidarity with abuse victims, including providing educational materials about the mosaics, making clear that their display during the consultation “was not intended to ignore, deny or diminish allegations of abuse.”

Every Mass at the St. John Paul II National Shrine will now include prayer for victims of sexual abuse, and saints who have been associated with abuse victims, such as St. Josephine Bakhita, will be specially commemorated.

The group said it learned of the allegations against Rupnik in December 2022 — and noted that the artist, although under investigation, is still a priest in good standing in the Koper diocese in Slovenia.

“This decision is based on the Knights of Columbus’ core purpose of protecting families, especially women, children and those who are vulnerable and voiceless,” Kelly said in a July 11 statement.

The Redemptor Hominis Chapel at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, DC, features mosaics by Father Marko Rupnik. Source: Lawrence OP|Flickr|CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The St. John Paul II National Shrine is a pastoral initiative of the Knights of Columbus, established in 2011 and recognized as a national shrine by the U.S. Catholic bishops in 2014.

Rupnik’s mosaics were installed in the sanctuary in 2015. The Holy Family Chapel at the Knights’ headquarters has displayed Rupnik’s art since 2005.

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Underscoring the evangelizing mission of the John Paul II shrine, the supreme knight said, “the art we sponsor must therefore serve as a touchstone — not a stumbling block — in faith in Jesus Christ and his Church.”

Rupnik has not made any statement since the allegations were made public.

A Glimpse of Lourdes

The Knights’ decision to hide the mosaics comes just a week after the bishop of Lourdes, France, said that despite his personal feelings that Rupnik’s work at the renowned Marian shrine should be removed, he had decided to hold off on making a final decision because of “strong opposition from some.”

After a special commission was formed in May 2023, Bishop Jean-Marc Micas of Tarbes announced on July 2 that more time was needed “to discern what should be done” regarding the Rupnik mosaics at the site of the Marian apparitions, because his belief that they should be demolished “would not be sufficiently understood” and “would lead to even greater division and violence” at that time.

As a “first step,” the French bishop announced that he had decided that the mosaics would no longer be illuminated at night during candlelight rosary processions held at the sanctuary.

By meerna

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