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Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil. Featuring Rupnik mosaics.Video screenshot.

APARECIDA, Brazil (LifeSiteNews) — The prominent Marian shrine of Aparecida, Brazil, one of the largest Catholic churches in the world, will proceed with installing extensive artwork by disgraced Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, after plans were put on hold in 2023 amid the encircling scandal surrounding the priest. 

In an announcement made last February and highlighted recently by OSV News, the shrine’s rector, Father Eduardo Catalfo, CSsR, joined the shrine’s administrator, Father Fábio Evaristo, to reveal details of the installation of Rupnik’s famous mosaics. 

Mosaics by Rupnik and his Rome-based Aletti Center adorn the south facade of the basilica, and will be officially unveiled on May 11. 

Rupnik’s unique mosaics already cover the northern facade of the basilica – the second largest church in the world (by interior size) after the Vatican – in what is the largest work of Rupnik’s to date. The Aletti Center has provided detailed images and a layout of the mosaics as they currently stand on the north face of the basilica, as plans had been drawn up for his mosaics to cover all four facades in the form of an outdoor Bible. 

As LifeSiteNews has extensively reported, Rupnik stands widely accused, in allegations which became public in late 2022, of committing serial abuse in multiple forms – sexual, spiritual, physical, and psychological. According to testimony from an alleged victim of Rupnik, who is also a former member of his Loyola Community, the priest abused at least 21 of the 40 members present in the community during the 1990s.

One of Rupnik’s alleged victims, Gloria Branciani, gave detailed descriptions of the instances of abuse that Rupnik allegedly performed on her, stating that such events – which included threesomes “in the image of the Trinity” – took place “even in his room at the Aletti Center.” Branciani attests Rupnik’s art is intimately connected to his alleged abuse, writing in 2022 that Rupnik’s “sexual obsession was not extemporaneous but deeply connected to his conception of art and his theological thinking.”

An ever-growing scandal has built up around Rupnik, since the details became public in December 2022, but also around Pope Francis, the Jesuit Order and the Diocese of Rome, with various allegations of inaction and deliberate cover-up being levied at each. 

READ: Disgraced Fr. Rupnik continues to live at his Rome art center where alleged abuses took place  

Since 2022, Rupnik has his images promoted by Pope Francis in June 2023 and by a variety of Vatican offices, including the Vatican’s Synod on Synodality office in September 2023. The images still remain in regular use by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and are used by the Vatican online for liturgical reflections for various feasts. This results from a July 2023 decision by the dicastery that saw no problem with the images.

In contrast, some English diocese have decided to withdraw Rupnik images from public use, given their intimate connection to his alleged abuse. 

His artwork is spread throughout the global church, and its future at prominent shrines remains less clear. For instance, Rupnik mosaics are heavily present at the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France and the Washington, D.C., shrine of John Paul II. Both shrines have refused to commit to a decision on keeping, or removing the images, despite respectively saying in April and June last year that they were considering the images’ future.

The Rupnik images planned for the south facade had already been placed on hold in August 2023, as shrine officials considered what to do after Rupnik was expelled from the Jesuits some weeks prior.

With the decision clearly having been made to move forward with installing Rupnik’s allegedly abuse-linked images onto the basilica, Frs. Catalfo and Evaristo welcomed how the mosaics would be revealed in time for Mother’s Day, May 12.

They also issued a call for donations in order to continue the project of turning the basilica “into a little piece of heaven.”

The Jesuits have compiled a 150-page dossier of reported instances of abuse that Rupnik is said to have committed from 1985 through 2018, the credibility of which is deemed by the priest’s former superior to be “very high.” But after his July expulsion from the order, all restrictions placed on him have been made defunct, as confirmed to this reporter by an official at the Jesuit Curia in Rome last October.

In order to fully outline the events relating to Rupnik since December 2022, along with the nature of continued promotion he has received in that time amid increasing scandal, LifeSiteNews has compiled a pdf version of the timeline, which can be downloaded here.