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Zanchetta will return to Argentina, due in court on Thursday

Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has been accused of “aggravated continuous sexual abuse” of two adult-aged seminarians.

Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta in 2019. (CNA photo)

Vatican City, Nov 25, 2019 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- Argentine Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta will be returning to his home country to face charges of sexual and financial misconduct on Tuesday, he announced in a statement through his canon lawyer on Saturday.

Zanchetta, the former Bishop of Oran, has pledged to fully cooperate with authorities, and said he will appear at a court hearing on Thursday. Zanchetta has been accused of “aggravated continuous sexual abuse” of two adult-aged seminarians.

The bishop’s last known residence was in the Domus Santa Marta in Vatican City, where he is currently suspended from his role as assessor at APSA, the Holy See’s central bank and sovereign asset manager. He has repeatedly denied suggestions he was fleeing justice.

“We wish to clarify that Bishop Zanchetta is neither in an unknown location nor of a refugee status, with the intention of escaping from justice,” said a statement from Dr. D. Javier Belda Iniesta, Zanchetta’s canon lawyer, released to the media on November 23.

The bishop has been widely believed to have returned to Rome after he was allowed by the court to leave Argentine, having presented a document showing that he is employed within Vatican City.

Per the Saturday statement, Zanchetta was confirmed as still living “in the residence that has been communicated to the judicial authorities to the appropriate effects,” that is the Domus Santa Marta.

Iniesta said that Zanchetta had been living at Domus, where Pope Francis also has chosen to live, for the past two years which, the statement said, predated any criminal accusations against him. The first accusations of sexual misconduct against Zanchetta were made in 2015–four years ago.

Zanchetta was one of Pope Francis’ first episcopal appointments in Argentina, where he led the Diocese of Oran where he was appointed in July of 2013.

After being allowed to resign as Bishop of Orán for “health reasons” in 2017, Pope Francis named Zanchetta to the specially created position of assessor at the Administration for the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), the body which acts as the Holy See’s central reserve bank and sovereign wealth fund.

Argentine media has since reported that the bishop was first accused of sexually inappropriate behavior as early as 2015.

According to a report from El Tribuno, one of the Zanchetta’s secretaries alerted authorities after accidentally finding sexually explicit images sent and received on Zanchetta’s cell phone in 2015. The complaint says that some of the images depict “young people” having sex, in addition to lewd images of Zanchetta himself.

Pope Francis summoned Zanchetta to Rome for five days in October 2015. The bishop claimed his phone and computer had been hacked, and that the accusations were motivated by ill feeling towards the pope. Francis reportedly accepted the bishop’s excuse that his cell phone had been hacked, and took no further action.

Fr. Juan José Manzano, the former vicar general of the Diocese of Orán has claimed publicly that he first reported Zanchetta in 2015, after the pornographic images were found on his phone. Manzano says he also reported him again in 2017.

In January, 2019, the Holy See confirmed Zanchetta was the subject of a canonical investigation and had been suspended from his role at APSA. It is unclear what, if any, active role he currently has in the curia following his presentation of a letter of employment to the Argentine court.

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  1. A late in the day, brief thought experiment:

    This victim of gossip, lies, phone and computer hacking and expert photo shopping will have his day in court in Argentina. If Bergoglio believes him that’s good enough for me.

    Personally I have found Bergoglio’s belief in Zanchetta and Zanchetta’s explanation (which includes the motive of hatred towards Bergoglio) helpful in understanding what “belief” and “the truth” mean to Bergoglio and why Bergoglio laughed at the suggestion that he’s a heretic.

    • Except Zanchetta’s excuse is laughable on the face of it while we know that it must have been false- civil and Church authorities have determined the allegations are credible/there is evidence to support it. To contend that all evidence against him is being manufactured and both civil and Church authorities have been duped or are conniving is bizarre. The selfie stuff was already refuted back at the time by further responses and documentation from multiple officials at his diocese sent to the Holy See, e.g., they pointed out that in the background of the photos one can see it is clearly Zanchetta’s room with certain personal effects. How did a hacker take photos of his room? Further, for someone to have nude photos of themselves means they must have taken them or had someone else take them with their permission. In other words, if he was the victim of hacking, how did someone else have nude photos of him in the first place? And photo-shopping doesn’t explain it. To further say this is all a plot because of “anti-Francis” feelings is despicable and insulting to Zanchetta’s victims. Such papalatry is the real problem- willingness to overlook even criminal behavior for fear it will make Francis look bad. We’re also reminded this kind of thing is a pattern- the protection of those involved in misconduct- so you have to extend this same bizarre explanation to every other instance, which becomes even more untenable. The fact you throw in something about heresy, when this has never been mentioned, is also odd.

      • Please read my characterization (and treatment) of accepting Zanchetta’s explanation and Bergoglios’s acceptance of Zanchetta’s explanation as a “thought experiment.”

        I too feel it is laughable and absurd (was being straight-faced/sarcastic, providing a text for what third party acceptance must sound like) and I do extrapolate this break with reality to something like “heresy” such that Bergoglio’s “belief” of Zanchetta indicates IMO what “belief” means to Bergoglio.

        I am hardly into papolatry. I assure you. I agree with people like Douglas Farrow and Aidan Nichols, OP…let’s just leave it at that.

        • Don’t worry, Joseph, I got the joke. I thought it was funny. The point is, all Francis’ besties seem to be somewhat compromised…don’t know why that would be…

  2. If Francis’s Pontificate does end in resignation, it will in part be due to his past in Argentina (exemplified by Zanchetta) catching up with him, and due to the financial corruption scandal currently engulfing the Vatican thanks to his allies, Parolin and Becciu.

    • In the final analysis it ALL starts with and ends with ACCESS TO MONEY…lots of it…money.

      Minus the cash to travel with (and the means to bring along youthful male companions), minus the cash for properties (ex. the infamous beach house)and yes minus the cash to hand out on visits in Rome in envelopes…minus the cash spent in the non-budget, position-establishing, St Gallen planning town, the frequent destination of Switzerland, McCarrick would have simply been (with apologies)… a local perv. But that wouldn’t “sound” right. Somehow the “sound” of that is the sacrilege? Even the word “accused” has some victim currency for McCarrick etc… They don’t settle for that status, local perv. So even when it is wrong from every angle…THEY are beneath being treated like “that”…they get a “new appointment”…just like Zanchetta.

      But here’s the worst part” it’s not as Bergoglio would have us believe because of their being priests, hierarchs, because of “clericalism” that they roll along….or just being homosexual..but because where they come from and where they are they are far better off than most people, this includes here in America BTW and yes I reference vow of poverty religious orders here in worries about your next meal, full medical and dental…education…and properties and “holy” reasons to travel…and more study..and go on “retreats” with other priests. All of this: well-insulated. Homosexual, yes, and having the catalyst of funds.

      Minus all that cash(and crime family level of “insulation”)…we would already be reading a report long long delayed on McCarrick…that is of course “coming soon.”

      And still…Bergoglio rails against capitalism and the West…

      They like “nice stuff” and “nice places” and “nice faces” this does not coincide in their “theology” with the possiblity of going to hell or even the existence of hell…certainly not staying there. They like to “leave” when things get unpleasant. We might also drily add that hell is… off-putting.

      Their “theology” is really then about money…a set of worldly, economic propositions …not really about a God of mercy AND justice…or salvation…but form of donations. Ergo, liberation theology…and as Alasdair MacIntye rightly sees in Marxism..individualism and self-interests after all (an understatement).

      To borrow Bergoglio’s use of “catechism” ( as it relates to the “cruelty” of America dropping atomic bombs and Japan)…these “personalities” under the leadership of Bergoglio, this entire narrative provides a “catechism” on St Paul’s teaching (that most rejected part of the New Testament except as a source for bogus Gnostic supports)..and yes, as we now privilege “sentiments of Christ” vagueness to justify anything… these homosexual, financial scandals and now publicly practiced yet “unintended” not-really-so idolatry? provide a “catechism” relating idolatry and perversity of every kind.

      But let me correct my intentional mistake (no longer a mistake to us if that’s the way the pontiff uses the word “catechism?”) to make another point…these scandals are simply EXAMPLES OF the catechism…they are NOT Revelation, Scripture or Tradition…and so I reject this notion of “catechism” and this tenet of a new false Hegelian inspired synodal church.

      Not only has belief in the Real Presence been devalued but also belief in Revelation. Do you remember in the late 70s when we were all going to learn more about the “authoritative” Bible?

      If what “already is” is now taught as “revelation” …there is no Revelation really…just “what happens” and what “I want to conclude” however “spiritual” this might sound.

      Is the “cleansing of the temple” simply the “sentiments of Christ” or a Teaching to be obeyed and applied….starting with the Church?

      With our eyes on Christ, not on some imagined sense of “Peter” as World Savior, start with “the money” and the rest of the filth will follow.

      Like the betrayal of Christ, the abandonment of doctrine in the Church has been paid for with money.

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