The Bishop of Lourdes, Jean-Marc Micas, finds himself at a crossroads as he deliberates the fate of mosaics crafted by the alleged abuser, Father Marko Rupnik, at the revered shrine in Lourdes, France. With a “pile of letters” pouring in from Catholics worldwide, Bishop Micas acknowledges the weight of the decision before him, expressing hope to reach a conclusion by spring.
In a conversation with CNA, Bishop Micas revealed the profound impact of this decision on his daily thoughts and prayers, particularly in light of encounters with abuse survivors. While acknowledging the complexity of the matter, he emphasized the necessity of reaching a resolution.
The formation of a special commission last year underscored Bishop Micas’s commitment to exploring all perspectives. The commission, comprising sacred art specialists and experts from across France, has been diligently assessing the situation. However, the bishop’s decision-making process has been further enriched by input from abuse survivors and concerned individuals worldwide.
One such encounter with a volunteer from England, who shared stories of abuse survivors seeking solace at the shrine, left a lasting impression on Bishop Micas. Her poignant words highlighted the significance of the shrine’s architecture as symbols of comfort and healing, now potentially overshadowed by associations with Father Rupnik.
The mosaics in question, created by Rupnik’s mosaic school, Centro Aletti, adorn the facade of the lower basilica, adding a contemporary touch to the historic sanctuary. Yet, amidst the splendor of these modern artworks, questions linger about their appropriateness in light of the allegations against their creator.
As Bishop Micas grapples with the decision, he remains guided by a commitment to honor the sanctity of the shrine and provide solace to those seeking healing. With global attention focused on Lourdes, the bishop’s forthcoming decision holds profound implications for the shrine’s future and its significance to Catholics worldwide.