Fraud Charges against Lourdes Rector

Catholic World News
July 3, 2008

Lourdes ( - The rector of the renowned Marian shrine in Lourdes, France, is under investigation on charges of fraud, just weeks before he is due to welcome Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) to the shrine.

Father Raymond Zambelli has been accused of diverting nearly $700,000 in donations, collected at the shrine, to his personal accounts. The rector has denied all charges.

The accusations against Father Zambelli come at an extremely sensitive time for the Lourdes shrine, which is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions there. Pope Benedict will visit the sanctuary in September.

A local prosecutor reportedly began collecting evidence of unusual activity in Father Zambelli's bank account early in June, but recommended postponing prosecution until after the papal visit.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.