Accused Bishop Has Job in Rome Despite being “Suspended,” Vatican Tells Argentinian Court

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

August 28, 2019

An Argentinian bishop who is actively being investigated for sexual abuse against at least two seminarians has been allowed to travel back to Rome due to his “daily work,” this despite being supposedly suspended from his job during the abuse investigation.

Once again, the Vatican is saying one thing publicly and doing the opposite behind closed doors. Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was “suspended” from ministry in February when he was officially charged with sexual abuse. However, despite that suspension Vatican officials appear to be working to ensure that Bishop Zanchetta remains free, telling the court that the demands of his “daily work” require him to be in Rome instead of Argentina while the investigation progresses. This decision is at best questionable and at worst an opportunity for the Argentinian bishop to flee from justice, since there is no extradition treaty between the Vatican and Argentina.

If Pope Francis was serious about his “all-out battle” against cases of clergy abuse, he should order Bishop Zanchetta to remain in Argentina under the supervision of the criminal authorities while awaiting the outcome of the investigation. The Pope should also be personally visiting his home country and urging anyone with information concerning the allegations against Bishop Zanchetta, or any other church official, to come forward and contact law enforcement. He should not be telling the public that the Argentinian bishop is suspended but then submitting documentation to the court that Bishop Zanchetta’s “work” requires his presence in Rome.

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