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Paolo Ruffini addresses the Catholic Media Conference in Atlanta, Georgia (OSV News/Bob Roller)

The head of the Vatican’s communications department is defending his office’s use of an accused sexual abuser’s art on its website. Source: Crux.

The Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, Italian layman Paolo Ruffini, offered his defence on Friday in response to questions from journalists attending his keynote address at the annual Catholic Media Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We did not put any new photos,” Mr Ruffini said, “we just left what [images] there were.”

“I think this is the reason,” Ruffini said. “We didn’t decide what, what wasn’t, in our charge to decide.”

The artist in question is ex-Jesuit Fr Marko Rupnik, who has been accused of abusing scores 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.

“We’re not talking about abuse of minors,” Mr Ruffini told a room of about 150 journalists and other media professionals. “We are talking [about] a story that we don’t know,” Mr Ruffini said. “Who am I to judge the Rupnik stories?”

Jesuit investigators have said they found allegations that Fr Rupnik spiritually, psychologically, and sexually abused his victims to be “highly credible” and the order expelled Fr Rupnik last year after he refused to abide by restrictions his superiors placed on him.

The Vatican is currently investigating Fr Rupnik after Pope Francis last October waived the usual statute of limitations in Church law for prosecuting offences against adults.

Fr Rupnik’s alleged victims, along with other survivors of clerical sexual abuse and victim-advocates, have repeatedly called for the Vatican to stop using digital reproductions of his works and have criticised the Vatican both for the persistent use of his images and for the Vatican’s silence in the face of those requests.

After acknowledging the criminal process currently underway against Fr Rupnik, Mr Ruffini said, “We think, the dicastery, and I personally think, that it,” removing the images from official Vatican media, “is not a good way to anticipate.”


Vatican comms chief defends use of accused sexual abuser’s artwork (Crux)


Vatican communications prefect on using Rupnik art: ‘I don’t think we have to throw stones’ (OSV News)