The Vatican orders the closure of the community co-founded by Rupnik
The Vatican ordered the creation of a religious community co-founded by the mosaic artist and former Jesuit father. Marko Rubinek’s company is set to be dissolved by October next year after it found “serious problems” with its management.
The Diocese of Ljubljana in Slovenia, where the community was co-founded by Rubnik and Father Ivanka Hosta in the mid-1980s, announced the Vatican’s decision on December 15.
The Department of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (DICLSAL), which oversees religious communities, issued a decree on Oct. 20 giving the Loyola community a year to dissolve, she said.
The diocese said the department took this step “due to serious problems related to the exercise of authority and lifestyle together.”
The decree was presented to members of the community, in person and online, at a meeting on December 14 in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, with the papal legate, Msgr. Amedeo Sensini and his collaborators, Sister Marisa Adami and Msgr. Victor Babes.
Hosta and Rupnik co-founded the Loyola Society in an effort to give feminine expression to the charism of Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.
In 1993, the couple had an acrimonious parting of their ways. Accompanied by many supporters, Rubinek moved to Rome, where he founded the Aletti Center and received commissions to create mosaics at prominent Catholic sites around the world.
Archbishop Aloisj Šustar, then Archbishop of Ljubljana, approved the Loyola Community as an institute of diocesan right in 1994, meaning it was under his direct authority.
The dissolution decree ends an investigation that began when Ljubljana Archbishop Stanislaw Szur was ordered to visit the community in 2019, on the 25th anniversary of the Vatican’s approval of its constitution.
Zorr presented the results of the visit to the Vatican in February 2020. The Vatican then referred the matter to the Diocese of Rome, where the community’s general office is located.
Auxiliary Bishop of Rome Daniele Libanori, a Jesuit, was appointed Extraordinary Commissioner of the community in October 2020. He submitted a final report to the Vatican in September 2022.
Portuguese website 7MARGENS reported in September this year that Hosta was subject to a disciplinary decree signed by Libanori.
She said the decree, dated June 21, formally rebuked Hosta for practicing “a style of governance that is detrimental to the dignity and rights” of religious women who make up the community.
In a brief excerpt of the decree published by 7MARGENS, Libanori also referred to the “mingling of internal and external forums” in the management of the community.
The internal forum concerns spiritual or sacramental service related to one’s conscience, while the external forum, in this context, refers to the external leadership of an institution or ecclesiastical community.
The website reported that the decree imposed three measures against Hosta, the head of the sect.
The first was a ban on holding ruling positions within society or providing spiritual guidance.
The second is a commitment to move to the congregation’s home in Portugal and to have no contact, directly or indirectly, with former sisters or brothers in the Loyola community for three years.
The third is to visit the Marian shrine once a month for a year to pray “for the victims of the father’s behavior.” Marko Ivan Rupnik and to all the nuns of the Loyola community.
Rubinek has been accused of spiritually and sexually abusing several religious women over decades. He was briefly excommunicated in 2019 after being found guilty of trying to secretly absolve a sexual partner and was expelled from the Jesuit order in June for his “stubborn refusal to adhere to a vow of obedience.”
Pope Francis ordered a review of the church’s handling of the Rubinek case in October, days after it emerged that the priest had been canonized in the Slovenian diocese of Koper at the end of August, causing an uproar among Catholics around the world.
Several former members of the community testified publicly that Rupnick abused them in the 1980s and 1990s.
The 69-year-old priest has remained silent about the allegations and is said to have refused to cooperate with investigators.
The former members also accused Hosta of failing to help them. She has not responded publicly to these allegations.
The community’s head office is located in Abnenik, south-eastern Slovenia. In addition to its general office in Rome, it is also said to be active in Trieste, north-eastern Italy, Portugal, Poland and Brazil, and has a presence in Africa. The community has sisters of five nationalities.
Concluding its statement issued on December 15, the Diocese of Ljubljana said: “We are called to pray for the nuns and all those connected with the community.”