An important read, from Father Patrick Briscoe in Our Sunday Visitor:
Last December, when news started to come to light about the “very highly credible” accusations of abuses committed by former Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik, I cautioned against removing his art.
In the face of the outrage I saw, I advocated for a more measured response. We didn’t yet know the extent of the facts and allegations surrounding Father Rupnik.
Back then, I’d tried to articulate some principles to preserve his art. I really was trying to be patient, impartial and just. And I was wrong.
Knowing now the scale of Father Rupnik’s abuse — and his appetite for holding power over vulnerable people — my former position is nothing short of untenable.
It is particularly appalling to learn that some abuse actually occurred while Rupnik was creating his art. Imagine praying or contemplating before an image that was created in the midst of known evil acts. That’s a foundational reason why Father Rupnik’s art must be treated differently than the works of other Catholic artists who have committed even grievous sins.
Symbols matter, as plenty of good Catholic friends have patiently argued that fact with me. “How can his artwork be seen as anything other than symbolic of the rot and moral decay that has poisoned the Church these last decades?” my friends have insisted. I struggled to accept this, telling myself that most Catholics won’t know who Father Rupnik is. But it’s important that they be told, and even more important that when they are, they see the Church responding properly, with justice for his victims and action meant to heal all of us.
Father Rupnik’s art must go. No longer can it be used for our sacred spaces. It can’t appear intact in books or in our media. Dioceses and Catholic ministries mustn’t use it to illustrate retreats or events. Most urgently, it must be stripped from our consecrated places. And to that end, there are two points I want to double down on.