August 28, 2019
By Ines San Martin
Despite being investigated for allegations of having sexually abused two seminarians, an Argentinian bishop close to the pope has once again been allowed by a judge to travel to Rome.
The judge said that Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta has “collaborated” with the investigation and has a document from the Vatican saying he must return to Rome “to continue with his daily work” – even though he has been suspended from his job.
Crux can confirm that the document being used as justification for allowing Zanchetta to travel back to Rome is a certificate signed by Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, arguably the third highest position in this office.
Peña Parra was appointed to that key role by Pope Francis last year. The Substitute is responsible for the Vatican’s daily workflow, and is usually the only person, including the Cardinal Secretary of State, who can simply walk in on the pope unannounced.
The Venezuelan prelate has been under fire recently, after Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the controversial former papal representative to the United States, accused him of of perpetrating sexual abuse; the Venezuelan bishops’ conference released a statement last week strongly defending Peña Parra, calling Vigano’s claims “a series of calumnious accusations.”
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