The Church Takes Its Time
By Sergio Rubín
June 10, 2009
[Translated into English by BishopAccountability.org. Click below to see original article in Spanish.]
See original article.
Will Father Julio Cesar Grassi continue to exercise his ministerial duties after being convicted by the Court of Justice? The answer will not arrive any time soon. The Church awaits the outcome of the appeal made by Grassi’s defense before it makes a decision. If the guilty conviction holds, the Office of the Bishop of Morón – Grassi’s affiliation – will open an ecclesial trial that would result in his suspension for life from the ministry. This would mean that he couldn’t fulfill any of the duties of a priest, such as giving Mass and officiating the sacraments (baptisms, weddings, etc.).
Why did the bishopric not open the ecclesial trial when the initial verdict was made? Because, according to experts in religious law, the Church does not launch its legal mechanisms while the case is still open in the Courts of Justice, since doing so could be interpreted as an attempt to “condition” the judges.
The bishopric will not have much room to maneuver in this case, like it did in the past with another, similar case, involving the priest, Christian Von Wernich, convicted of serious human rights violations, because, following the sex abuse scandals implicating priests in the United States, the Vatican was clear that it would act “in a forceful fashion” on episodes of this kind.
The bishop at the time of the accusations, Justo Laguna, was always distrustful of Grassi, above all for his financial mismanagement. But Laguna also has been characterized as someone who doesn’t stick his head where he doesn’t belong. Grassi has not helped matters by openly declaring that he has the support of Cardenal Bergoglio. Neither have Grassi’s public advocates, who recently resisted the legal transfer of students of one of his religious schools, which led Bergoglio to give his backing to legal intervention.