Former vicar: Vatican already knew about sexual abuse allegations against Argentine bishop

Rev. Juan Jose Manzano’s statement contradicts the Vatican’s recent claim that they had only gained knowledge of sexual abuse allegations against Zanchetta a few months ago.

Argentina's flag is seen as Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 27, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan 20, 2019 / 12:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an exclusive report from the Associated Press, the former vicar to Argentine Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta said that the Vatican had had information about sexual abuse allegations against Zanchetta for several years.

This contradicts a Vatican statement made just weeks ago in which they said that they had only gained knowledge of sexual abuse allegations against Zanchetta a few months ago.

Bishop Zanchetta resigned as Bishop of Orán, Argentina on Aug. 1, 2017, slightly more than four years after his appointment there. At the time, he cited health problems and “difficulty in managing relations with the diocesan clergy and in very tense relations with the priests of the diocese,” and “an incapacity to govern the clergy.”

About four months after his resignation, Zanchetta was appointed by Francis to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) in December 2017. The APSA manages the Holy See’s assets and real estate holdings.

On January 3, 2019, the Vatican announced that they had first received accusations of alleged sexual misconduct against Zanchetta only a few months ago, in the fall of 2018.

Alessandro Gisotti, interim Holy See press officer, said Jan. 3 that “at the time of his resignation there had been against (Bishop Zanchetta) accusations of authoritarianism, but there had been against him no accusation of sexual abuse…the accusations of sexual abuse date to this autumn.”

But Rev. Juan Jose Manzano, Zanchetta’s former vicar, told the AP that the Vatican received complaints against Zanchetta in both 2015 and 2017 for alleged “obscene behavior”, misconduct and sexual harassment of adult seminarians, and naked selfies found on his phone.

Manzano, who now is a parish priest in Argentina, told the AP that he and several other diocesan officials alerted the Vatican in 2015 of Zanchetta’s concerning behavior. He said he sent the Vatican the naked selfies and other compromising images that had been found on the bishop’s phones.

“In 2015, we just sent a ‘digital support’ with selfie photos of the previous bishop in obscene or out of place behavior that seemed inappropriate and dangerous,” he told the AP. The 2015 complaint against Zanchetta was not issued as an official canonical complaint, Manzano noted.

“It was an alarm that we made to the Holy See via some friendly bishops. The nunciature didn’t intervene directly, but the Holy Father summoned Zanchetta and he justified himself saying that his cellphone had been hacked, and that there were people who were out to damage the image of the pope.”

Manzano said that for a time after being summoned to the Vatican, Zanchetta’s behavior seemed to improve. But then it worsened, and he would allegedly visit the seminary “at all hours,” get drunk with seminarians, and travel with them alone often without the permission of the rector of the seminary.

Again in May or June of 2017, Manzano told the AP that he and the rector of the seminary made a second complaint against Zanchetta to the Vatican’s nuncio in Buenos Aires, who forwarded it along to the Vatican. At that time, the situation had become “much more serious, not just because there had been a question about sexual abuses, but because the diocese was increasingly heading into the abyss,” Manzano said.

Shortly thereafter, in July 2017, Zanchetta announced his resignation from his position as Bishop of Oran. After spending some time in Spain, Zanchetta took up his position in the Vatican in December 2017.

Manzano said part of the reason the allegations against Zanchetta may have not been taken seriously by the Vatican was because of the bishop’s close relationship with Pope Francis.

Francis had appointed Zanchetta as Bishop of Oran in 2013. Zanchetta had also been the executive undersecretary of the Argentine bishops conference which was headed by then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from 2005-2011.

Still, Manzano said he didn’t believe the Vatican meant to lie or hide anything about Zanchetta. He said he believed Francis and other Vatican officials had also been victims of the bishop’s “manipulation.” He said the recent Vatican statement may have been making a distinction between informally filed allegations and a formal complaint against Zanchetta.

“There was never any intent to hide anything. There was never any intent of the Holy Father to defend him against anything,” Manzano said.

According to Gisotti’s Jan. 3 statement, the current Bishop of Oran is in the process of collecting testimonies regarding allegations against Zanchetta, which will be sent to the Congregation for Bishops.

“If the elements needed to proceed are confirmed, the case will be referred to the special commission for bishops,” Gisotti said.

Zanchetta has been placed on a temporary leave from his APSA position while the investigation is ongoing.

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  1. They knew? Not a surprise.

    They lied about knowing? No surprise there, either.

    Systemic and systematic — “do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do” from the top down.

  2. Either the Holy Father has been grossly negligent in vetting his proposed appointments to the Episcopacy, or (as Vigano said) he is deliberately promoting clerics who are morally corrupt because they will promote his agenda.

    If the Holy Father refuses to do his duty, and be the Shepherd to his flock that he took an oath before God to be, then his resignation (and the resignation of his closest advisers) is sadly the only means for the Church out of this crisis.

    • Ja Johann, 100% correct.
      Just one priest found guilty of such abominable behaviour is a telling blow to each and every one of us Catholics. The unpunished existence of such a priest deliberately and wilfully smites Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ right in his Sacred Face. It damages the One Holy Roman Catholic Church in so many ways. It is unjustifiable.
      That Bishops and Archbishops and Cardinals can stoop to commit such wickedness, a wickedness that threatens the whole edifice and structure of our Church is much worse. It is simply intolerable. Once you realise, with certainty, the undeniable fact that some who are “very high-up” consort to cover up such evil is an unbearable torture. It must stop and those guilty must pay the penalty for betrayal.
      I will say no more.

  3. On sure: I am very sure that Francis and his team were not trying to hide anything. I trust him 100% – to throw smoke at the truth.

  4. Pope Francis is so utterly corrupted because he is the friend of utterly corrupt Bishops and Cardinals, who are notorious sex abusers and coverup artists.

    We know from “the great abuser,” the unrepentant idolator McCarrick’s own lips (he could be watched on a publicly available video) at Villanova in Oct 2013 that he and Jorge Bergoglio were friends, and McCarrick stated that Bergoglio was elected to “change the Church in 5 years.”

    And we saw with our own eyes that the notorious sex abuse coverup Cardinal Danneels of Belgium stood on the balcony with Pope Francis on Day 1, only 3 years after his retirement in disgrace under Pope Benedict, for covering up the homosexual abuse of “the Belgian McCarrick” Bishop Vangelhuwe, who raped his own little nephew, just like McCarrick raped James Grein (child of a family friend).

    These are monstrously evil people. And they are all pals. Which is why they promote each other and pay each other off and coverup everything and are pathological liars.

    See the Phillip Lawler post on Jan 11 about the Zanchetta case. Pope Francis is just another McCarrick fraud.

  5. Only those living in a bubble and willfully blind cannot see the entire institutional edifice is rife with immorality, vice, and corruption. Cowards and apostates all.

  6. So the guy was out of ministry two years after some naked selfies were discovered.

    Ummm, well, OK.

    And from the article itself: “Manzano said he didn’t believe the Vatican meant to lie or hide anything about Zanchetta.”

    But those pesky details don’t stop the mindless mob attacking the Church.

    • Mr. Pierre:

      The reality is that Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, clergy and laity have been “unmindful” of the network of moral and financial frauds operating generationally in the Church.

      The price of remaining unmindful is paid first and last by young people, mostly teenage boys and seminarians, who are treated as expendable by sociopaths like McCarrick and his “friends.” And the price is also paid in propagating a dull-witted and morally bankrupt Church, which reveres anti-Christian frauds like Cardinal Mahony and Cardinal Danneels and Ex-Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop Zanchetta and Rev. Grassi and Rev. Inzoli and Bishop Barros etc etc etc.

      Catholics are likened as sheep…not cattle.

  7. Misplaced priorities are common. For the Church catastrophic. The Pope ingeniously cites sexual immorality as the lesser moral crime. Correct. Fact. More, by far more sins are sexual not “Money Madness”, terminology suggested as major cause of sin by an interviewer to which Pope Francis reckoned “Sins below the belt comparably are quite secondary”. Fact. More souls will likely be condemned because of a growing rampant sexual immorality encouraged by a Church policy that downplays the crime. On Zanchetta Sandro Magister says it best: “Exemplary in this regard is the case of Argentine bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta, for whom Bergoglio even acted as confessor, whom he promoted in 2013 as bishop of Orán and then, in December of 2017, called to Rome for a leading role at the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, in spite of the fact that on two occasions – as documented on January 20 by Associated Press – the Vatican had received accusations from his diocese of his bad behavior ‘below the belt,’ with young seminarians, and twice the pope had asked him to respond to the accusations, deciding afterward to remove him from the diocese but also to promote him to an even more prominent position, evidently seeing [homosexual sexual sin] as irrelevant, ‘light,'” (Magister). That “light” sin is most grievous deviate sin contrary to divine law that is at this time devastating the Church. A sin continuously likened to normal behavior by this Pontificate.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Pope Francis Knew this Argentine Bishop Took Nude Selfies and Abused Seminarians ~ Hiptoro
  2. Pope Francis Knew this Argentine Bishop Took Nude Selfies and Abused Seminarians – Hiptoro
  3. [Novus Ordo] Les abus sexuels au Vatican exposent les réalités de la religion moderniste | Fide Catholica

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