by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. •ChurchMilitant.com •January 22,
The Holy See knew about abusive bishop
Even the Associated Press (AP) is coming down on the Vatican for rehabilitating a prelate who came to Rome with credible allegations of sex abuse in his past.
The AP on Sunday broke the news that the Vatican was aware as far back as 2017 that former bishop of Oran, Argentina, Bp. Gustavo Zanchetta, had been credibly accused of sexually abusing seminarians.
The scandal over Zanchetta, 54, is the latest to implicate Francis as he and the Catholic hierarchy as a whole face an unprecedented crisis of confidence over their mishandling of cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors and misconduct with adults. … The pope’s decision to allow Zanchetta to resign quietly, and then promote him to a new No. 2 position in one of the Vatican’s most sensitive offices, has raised questions again about whether Francis turned a blind eye to the misconduct of his allies or dismissed allegations against them as ideological attacks.
Zanchetta’s former vicar general has confirmed that in 2015 and 2017, he notified the Holy See that the Argentine bishop had abused seminarians. After resigning abruptly in 2017 from his diocese of Oran, Zanchetta was given a prominent position specially created for him by Pope Francis where he oversaw millions of dollars in Vatican assets.
This is nothing new for the Curia under the direction of Pope Francis. The former archbishop of Buenos Aires has a poor record on sex abuse that goes back to his time in Argentina, as seen by the case of Fr. Julio César Grassi. Grassi was convicted in 2009 of molesting a boy in a refuge for street children founded by him.
Grassi remained free for four years, owing in part to a secret study commissioned by Cdl. Jorge Bergoglio, then archbishop of Buenos Aires and president of the Argentine bishops’ conference. A provincial supreme court, however, was not persuaded by the detailed report and upheld Grassi’s conviction. Grassi started his 15-year sentence in 2013.
Another cover-up from the past of Cdl. Bergoglio is the case of Bp. Juan Carlos Maccarone, formerly of the diocese of Santiago del Estero, who resigned as bishop in 2005 after a video surfaced of his homosexual encounter with 23-year-old Alfredo Serrano. An initial PR campaign under Cdl. Bergoglio made Maccarone out to be the victim while avoiding the moral implications of Maccarone’s actions.
The scandal widened when Maccarone surfaced five years later administering the sacraments in a diocese next to Buenos Aires. In 2010, Maccarone confirmed children at Holy Trinity parish in Rufino while residing a few hundred miles away in Claypole, a suburb of Buenos Aires, at a mission that was home to a large number of disabled children.
Watch the panel discuss Rome’s recent amnesia regarding accused clerics in The Download—More Vatican Cover-Up.