by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.
Claimed you ‘can’t turn a blind eye’ to pedophilia but then he did
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (ChurchMilitant.com) – Pope Francis, currently sporting a zero-tolerance policy in Rome, was known more for his zero-transparency policy concerning clerical sex abuse as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In 1989, Sebastián Cuattromo, a student at a Catholic school in Buenos Aires, was the victim of homosexual predation by a teacher at the school, Br. Fernando Enrique Picciochi, S.M. In 2002, when Cuattromo sought help in seeking justice from the diocese then headed by Cdl. Jorge Bergoglio, his vicar, Fr. Mario Poli, stonewalled Cuattromo for seven years.
One of the first acts that Bergoglio would do as Pope Francis was to make Poli the archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Brother Picciochi, a teacher at the Marianista de Caballito School in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires, was convicted in 2012 for homosexual predation of multiple students from the school. In 1991, the Marianist superior, Luis Casalá, admitted that he was informed of Picciochi’s homosexual abuse of Cuattromo two years prior and termed it “an act of aggression.”
Following revelations of Cuattromo’s abuse, Picciochi was sent for evaluation and deemed “normal, not homosexual.” He was then transferred to a different diocese. In 2000, Picciochi was charged with “repeated corruption of minors” involving sexual abuse but fled to the United States. When Cuattromo sought help seeking justice in 2002 from the archdiocese, Cdl. Bergoglio’s personal secretary, Fr. Martin Garcia Aguirre, and his vicar, Fr. Mario Poli, offered no assistance to Cuattromo whatsoever.
Seven years later, Picciochi was arrested in the United States and extradited to Argentina in 2010. In a book published that same year titled On Heaven and Earth, Cdl. Bergoglio claimed he never dealt with a single case of clerical sex abuse.
Speaking of clerical abuse of minors, Bergoglio said, “Now, when this happens, you can never turn a blind eye. You cannot be in a position of power and destroy the life of another person. In my diocese, it never happened to me.”
The cardinal went on to say, “A bishop called me once by phone to ask me what to do in a situation like this and I told him to take away the priest’s faculties, not permit him to exercise his priestly ministry again and to initiate a canonical trial in the tribunal that corresponds to that diocese.”
Picciochi was a member of a religious order but, nonetheless, was convicted in 2012 of molesting multiple students at the Catholic school in Bergoglio’s diocese.
Father Poli, who turned a blind eye and deaf ear to Cuattromo, the 13-year-old victim of Picciochi’s homosexual predation, was later elevated to the level of archbishop of Buenos Aires in March 2013 by Bergoglio when he became Pope that same month.