Abusive priest’s artwork poses a headache for Lourdes shrine in France

A GROUP made of priests, a psychotherapist and an victim of clerical abuse are pondering on whether to remove artwork created for the Basilica of the Sanctuary of Lourdes by Jesuit priest Marko Rupnik, inset above.

Rupkin stands accused of sexually and psychologically abusing consecrated women from the Loyola Community in Slovenia.

A few months back I reported that Rupkin’s mosiacs, dotted around 200+ churches and shrines around the world, were proving a problem for the the RCC. One priest said his instinct was to:

Strip it all. Remove every last tile. Hire jackhammers and drills and remove every trace.

The problem has now extended to the Sanctuary of Lourdes.

The Catholic News Agency reports that a “reflection group” has been established to decide whether to retain the artwork.

Image via YouTube

It comprises the bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, Jean-Marc Micas, above, the rector, a victim of abuse, an expert in sacred art, and a psychotherapist, whose objective is to reach a determination later this month.

The work was commissioned in 2008 for the facade of the Basilica of the Rosary at the Sanctuary of Lourdes on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the “apparitions of the Blessed Mother.”

The bishop of Lourdes said in a statement:

Like all works of art, they are appreciated by some, less by others, but the vast majority of pilgrims and visitors to Lourdes highlight their beauty.

He then noted that:

For several months, Father Rupnik has been in the news following various accusations of sexual abuse of adults in the framework of his ministry in various parts of the world.

 And he added:

Lourdes is a place where many victims turn to the Immaculate Conception for comfort and healing. Their anguish is great before the mosaics of Father Rupnik in this very place: We cannot ignore it.

Current restrictions imposed by Rupnik’s Jesuit order means that he is prohibited “from any public ministerial and sacramental activity,” banned from public communication, and:

May not engage in any public artistic activity, especially in relation to religious structures (such as churches, institutions, oratories and chapels, exercise or spirituality houses).

‘Inappropriate’ religious art in Oxford, England

The Rupkin report coincides with news that Oxford politicians may consider selling off classical and biblical paintings deemed inappropriate for a “progressive” council.

A canvas depicting a Roman myth could be removed from the city’s 120-year-old town hall because it shows “gender-based violence”, if a motion is agreed by local councillors.

Another painting of Salome bearing the head of John the Baptist could also be removed and sold off under the proposals to remove “inappropriate” artworks.

One of many gruesome versions of Salome’s head on a platter. This painting was done by Gustav Moreau (1876). Image via Wikiart CC.

It has been suggested that money raised by the sale of these works could be used to buy new paintings to “rebalance the lack of diversity” in the city council’s art collection.

A motion tabled by a city councillor states:

Within Oxford City Council’s art collection there are several items that are of no practical value to the city, do not have a clear link to Oxford, and depict themes that are inappropriate for a progressive public body that wants to lead by example: namely animal cruelty and gender-based violence.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Oxford report)

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If you spot any typos in this report please notify me at freethinkered@aol.com

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