Lourdes bishop faces resistance on removal of Rupnik art

Lourdes bishop faces resistance on removal of Rupnik art Fr Marko Rupnik, recently expelled from the Jesuit order, is pictured in a 2015 photo in Rome. Photo: OSV News/Cristian Gennari, KNA

The Catholic leader responsible for a world-famous and much beloved Marian healing shrine in France has ordered measures to lower the visibility of mosaic artwork by an accused serial rapist, but has stopped short – for the time being – of ordering the removal of the art. Fr Marko Rupnik is accused of abusing dozens of victims – most of them women religious – over several decades, much of which he spent in Rome at the Centro Aletti art institute he founded in the early 1990s.

Last Tuesday, Bishop Jean-Marc Micas of Tarbes and Lourdes, France, issued a press release saying his “personal preference” is for the removal of the Rupnik mosaics at present adorning the healing shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, but also noted there is still resistance from some quarters and consensus is not reached. Bishop Micas announced he is suspending the illumination of the Fr Rupnik mosaics during evening processions at the shrine, calling this a “first step” and promising both to continue working toward consensus around his view of the matter.

“My role is to ensure that the Sanctuary welcomes everyone, and especially those who suffer,” Bishop Micas said, “among them, victims of abuse and sexual assault, children and adults.