LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican has decreed that the community of nuns founded by alleged serial abuser Father Marko Rupnik is to be disbanded, although the ruling does not appear to be directly related to Rupnik’s actions.
In a brief statement issued December 15, and highlighted by English journalist Luke Coppen, the Archdiocese of Ljubljana announced that the Loyola Community’s dissolution had been ordered to take effect within one year.
According to the archdiocese, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life issued the news to members of the Loyola Community on December 14, although the Vatican decree was signed on October 20, 2023.
The Vatican’s decree, according to the archdiocese, cited “serious problems concerning the exercise of authority and the way of life together.”
The Loyola Community was co-founded in Slovenia in the early 1980s by alleged serial abuser Father Marko Rupnik and Sister Ivanka Hosta. However, the pair parted ways some years after, following a disagreement between them which reportedly resulted in the Bishop of Ljubljana removing Rupnik from the community.
From the mid-1990s Rupnik moved to Rome’s artistic Centro Aletti, rising to become its director just a few years later. Accompanying Rupnik to Rome were several of the women from the Loyola Community, who formed his new community at the Centro Aletti.
One of his alleged victims, under the pseudonym “Anna,” estimated that of the 41 women in the Loyola Community in the early 1990s, Rupnik had engaged in sexual abuse with about 20 of them.
Another former nun of the community under the pseudonym “Klara” stated that Rupnik began abusing her when she was 16. Rupnik reportedly stated this was “for her own good.” After being psychologically pressured into joining the Loyola Community, Rupnik “began to sexually exploit me as he pleased,” she said, providing explicit details of the continued abuse.
Rupnik was kicked out of the Jesuits in the summer in disgrace, as he was widely accused of committing serial abuse of multiple forms, including sexual. The Jesuits compiled a 150-page dossier of reported instances of abuse that Rupnik is said to have committed. These date from 1985 to 2018, and Rupnik’s former superior, Father Johan Verschueren, S.J., stated that the credibility of the allegations against Rupnik is “very high.”
Rupnik was automatically excommunicated by the Vatican in 2020 after the DDF unanimously ruled he was guilty of absolving one of his sexual accomplices. He subsequently had the penalty swiftly revoked – with much speculation over whether Pope Francis personally intervened to swiftly lift the excommunication.
However, it is not clear from today’s statement issued by the Archdiocese of Ljubljana that the Vatican’s decision is – at least officially – related to any of Rupnik’s activity.
Already in February 2020, according to the Archdiocese of Ljubljana, Archbishop of Milan Stanislav Zore, OFM conducted a visitation to mark the 25th anniversary of the Loyola Community’s constitutions being approved. He handed down his results to the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life.
According to the archdiocese’s statement, the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life then conveyed these results to the Diocese of Rome, since the Loyola Community has its general house in Rome.
In 2021, the Jesuit auxiliary Bishop of Rome, Daniele Libanori, was tasked with conducting an investigation into the Loyola Community – an investigation which brought to light accusations of abuse conducted by Rupnik during his time at the community. It was in late 2022 that the accusations and revelations about Rupnik were made known to the wider Church.
Then in September 2022 a final report on the Community was sent to the Dicastery via the Apostolic Nunciature, and over one year later – October 20, 2023 – the Dicastery signed its decree dissolving the community.
While Rupnik has been officially separate from the Loyola Community for around three decades, the community’s co-founder and former Rupnik confidante Sr. Ivanka Hosta was quietly disciplined by Bishop Libanori in June 2023.
She was removed from her position as head of the community, accused by the bishop-investigator of “exercising a style of government detrimental to the dignity and rights of each of the religious who make up the community.”
Banned from having any contact with former of current members of the Community for three years, Hosta was charged to make a monthly pilgrimage to a Marian shrine “for the victims of Father Marko Ivan Rupnik’s behavior and for all the religious of the Loyola Community.”
Hosta was accused of aiding Rupnik’s abuse, and alleged Rupnik victims from the Loyola Community wrote on September 19 of this year that “the victims of Ivanka Hosta’s abuse of power (who for 30 years covered up Rupnik’s nefarious deeds, and spiritually enslaved those who opposed his designs of revenge) have been waiting for a definitive, clear, maternal answer for more than a year. But they have only received silence.”
Around the same time as the Dicastery was preparing to sign its decree quashing the Loyola Community, in September 2023 the Diocese of Rome published the results of a canonical visitation into Rupnik’s Centro Aletti, praising the “healthy community life devoid of particular issues.”
The diocese’s report greatly exonerated the staff of the Aletti Center and Rupnik himself from wrongdoing, contradicting the independent judgements of the Jesuits and the Congregation (now Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as detailed testimonies of alleged victims.
This – along with the news that the Slovenian Diocese of Koper had incarnated the disgraced Rupnik with full rights and freedom – caused an international stir and outrage from certain quarters.
In what was seen as a face-saving move, Pope Francis announced in late October he had asked the CDF to “review” Rupnik’s case, after the “Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors brought to the Pope’s attention that there were serious problems in the handling of the Fr. Marko Rupnik case and lack of outreach to victims.”
Directors of the Aletti Center have continued to support Rupnik throughout.