Latest developments in the Rubinek scandal: The Vatican dissolves the Loyola Sisters of Ljubljana

Latest developments in the Rubinek scandal: The Vatican dissolves the Loyola Sisters of Ljubljana

ROME — In the latest development in the ongoing saga of former Jesuit Father Marko Rubnik, a celebrated artist who now faces multiple accusations of sexual abuse against adult women, the Vatican has dissolved the community of nuns he co-founded in his native Slovenia in the 1980s.

Earlier this year, the church disciplined the community's current leader, Sister Ivanka Hosta, and ordered prayers for the victims of her and Father Rupnik's abuses.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni confirmed on December 15 that “under the decree signed in recent weeks, following the apostolic visit and after consultation with those responsible for the visit and other figures familiar with its life and work, the Loyola community has been effectively suppressed.” “.

He co-founded the Loyola Rubnik and Hosta Community in Ljubljana in the 1980s, a women's community dedicated to living the spirituality of Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.

For many years, the community has been the subject of various allegations of mismanagement and mismanagement, which have been under investigation since 2019.

Following Bruni's statement, the Diocese of Ljubljana later Friday afternoon posted a statement on its website announcing the dissolution of the Loyola community.

The community's papal delegates, Father Amedeo Sencini, Sister Marisa Adami, and Father Victor Pope, presented the decree of dissolution to members of the Loyola community, some of whom were online, during the month of December, the statement said. 14 meeting in Ljubljana.

The decree was issued by the Vatican's Department for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, more commonly known as the “Department for Religious Affairs.”

Although he co-founded it with Rupnik — who is currently under Vatican investigation and faces allegations of sexual abuse of at least 25 adult women — he broke with Hosta in 1993, with Rupnik and several loyalists moving to Rome, where he founded the Aleti Center The famous. He continued to build his profile as the most famous muralist and mosaic artist in the Catholic Church.

In 1994, the then Archbishop of Ljubljana, Aloisj Šustar, agreed to consider the Loyola Community an institute of diocesan right.

However, allegations of abuse from current and former members prompted Archbishop Stanislaw Szur, the current Archbishop of Ljubljana, to request an apostolic visit to the group in 2019.

Given that the General Office of the Loyola Community is located in Rome, while its main office is in Abnek, in Slovenia, the Jesuit Auxiliary Bishop of Rome Daniele Libanori was assigned to conduct the visit. The visit concluded in February 2020, and in October of that year, Zur asked Libanori to take over governance of the community as commissioner.

In September, Portuguese website 7MARGENS reported that Hosta was the subject of a disciplinary decree from the Vatican.

A small part of the decree, which was reportedly dated June 21 and published by the Portuguese website, said that the “anomalies” in governance revealed during the visit had brought “confusion” to the members, and that “a great deal of suffering” had been discovered among some of the sisters. Both in the community and among those who have left.

Hosta was reportedly found guilty of engaging in a “governing style that is detrimental to the dignity and rights” of members.

In addition to a small excerpt of the decree, the website also reported that three penalties were imposed on the hosta, one of which was a ban on holding any position of governance or authority within the community, including providing spiritual guidance.

Hosta was also reportedly ordered to move to community property in Portugal and banned from contacting, directly or indirectly, any members or former members of the Loyola community for three years.

She was also apparently ordered to make an annual pilgrimage to a Marian shrine near her Portuguese residence to pray for Rubinek's victims and all the nuns of the Loyola community whom she herself was accused of abusing.

The Ljubljana Diocese said in its new statement that the decree dissolving the sect was signed on October 20 “due to serious problems related to the exercise of authority and the way of living together.”

According to the 7MARGENS website, Libanori has been tasked with overseeing the dissolution process, which should be completed within a year.

Rupnik himself, 68, is accused of engaging in the sexual, psychological and spiritual abuse of at least 25 adult women over a 30-year period.

The allegations emerged publicly in 2021, revealing that he had been briefly excommunicated in 2020 for allegedly using a confessional to exonerate a woman with whom he had had sexual relations.

Speaking to an Italian newspaper tomorrow In December 2022, one of Rupnik's alleged victims said he was her spiritual guide in the Loyola community while in Slovenia, that he demanded “absolute availability and obedience,” and that he isolated her from her friends and family during her pregnancy. From physical and spiritual abuse.

“Father Marco began openly coercing the other sisters in the community using the usual psychological and spiritual strategies he had already used on me, with the aim of having sex with as many women as possible,” the former nun said, adding that there were about 41 women. Sisters in the Loyola community in the early 1990s, “and as far as I know, Father Rubinek was able to assault approximately 20 people.”

Rupnik was also accused of engaging in sexual acts with consecrated women at the Aletti Center he founded in Rome, which for years served as his global base of operations.

When complaints began to arrive, the Vatican's Department for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) initially refused to open legal proceedings beyond the initial excommunication, citing a statute of limitations in church canon law for adult abuse, which had previously been waived in other cases.

An internal investigation by the Jesuits concluded that the allegations were “highly credible” and culminated in Rubinek's expulsion from the order in June on charges of insubordination. However, he was registered in the Diocese of Cooper in Sulvinia a month later.

On September 15, Pope Francis met privately with a longtime ally of Rupnik who publicly described the charges against him as a “lynching.”

Just three days later, the Archdiocese of Rome, after paying a visit to the Aletti Centre, gave him a clean bill of health, pointing to what it said in a statement were “highly anomalous procedures” behind Rubinek’s excommunication in 2020 and raising “well – raised doubts” about the decision .

In October, Pope Francis appeared to reverse course in the Rubinek case and waived the statute of limitations, allowing the FDF to launch a formal investigation and pursue charges.

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