The Catholic leader responsible for a world-famous and much beloved Marian healing shrine in France has ordered measures to lower the visibility of mosaic artwork by an accused serial rapist, but has stopped short — for the time being — of ordering the removal of the art.

Father Marko Rupnik is accused of abusing dozens 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.

Rupnik’s accusers say the removal of Rupnik’s art from places of worship is necessary because the abuse they suffered was part of Rupnik’s “creative” artistic process, making the art particularly ill-suited to sacred space.

Other victims of sexual abuse say the presence of art bearing the signature of a notorious abuser — especially one who escaped justice for so long as Rupnik did — adds insult to injury and in fact creates new trauma.

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On Tuesday, Bishop Jean-Marc Micas of Tarbes and Lourdes, France, issued a press release saying his “personal preference” is for the removal of the Rupnik mosaics at present adorning the healing shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, but also noted there is still resistance from some quarters and consensus is not reached.

Micas announced he is suspending the illumination of the Rupnik mosaics during evening processions at the shrine, calling this a “first step” and promising both to continue working toward consensus around his view of the matter.

“My role is to ensure that the Sanctuary welcomes everyone, and especially those who suffer,” Micas said, “among them, victims of abuse and sexual assault, children and adults.”

“In Lourdes,” Micas said, “the tried and wounded people who need consolation and reparation must hold first place. This is the grace proper to this Sanctuary: nothing must prevent them from responding to the message of Our Lady inviting them to come on pilgrimage.”

“Because this has become impossible for many,” Micas said, “my personal opinion is that it would be preferable to remove these mosaics.”

Micas also addressed the subject in an exclusive interview with La Croix International, which also appeared Tuesday, explaining that the Rupnik pieces at the Lourdes shrine are installed so as to be removable without destruction.

“[T]hey will one day need to be removed,” he said, since they “prevent Lourdes from reaching all the people for whom the sanctuary’s message is intended,” but he has “decided not to remove them immediately, given the passions and violence the subject incites.”

“This option does not have widespread support,” Micas said in his statement, and “even meets with real opposition from some,” Micas said, adding, “were my conviction to become a decision, [it] would not be sufficiently understood, [and] would add even more division and violence.”

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It was not immediately clear who were the sources of opposition, nor was it clear who could possibly thwart the determined will of a diocesan bishop in his own see.

Micas said he will “continue to work even more with victims, to discern what should be done … in Lourdes, to honor the absolute requirement of consolation and reparation.” He said the Rupnik mosaics will no longer be illuminated during evening processions at the shrine.

“We will discern,” Micas said, “with the people of good will who agree to help us, the next steps.”