Investigations underway

Investigations underway

Abuse scandal in the church (symbol image) © Evandro Inetti

According to a media report, the public prosecutor's office in Argentina has begun investigations into sexual abuse against the former bishop of Oran, Gustavo Zanchetta. According to the Vatican, there is "no allegation of sexual abuse".

The daily newspaper "La Voz" (Thursday local time) refers in its article to a communication of the investigative authority of Salta. This week, the Archbishop of Tucuman, Carlos Alberto Sanchez, had already begun canonical investigations in the case of Zanchetta. The diocese of Oran had announced this earlier in the week.

Zanchetta, 54, was named bishop of Oran in northern Argentina in one of Pope Francis' first personnel decisions in July 2013. After Zanchetta stepped down as diocesan leader in August 2017, Francis appointed him in December of the same year to the specially created post of assessor in the administration of goods, the Holy See's treasury.

Victims of sexual abuse should come forward

Argentine newspaper El Tribuno had reported the allegations against Zanchetta in late December. The paper interpreted several internal diocesan personnel decisions and even the transfer of papal nuncio Emil Paul Tscherrig from Argentina to Italy as responses to the allegations.

Oran diocese, on the other hand, declared on 30. December, saying the personnel measures were based solely on pastoral considerations. Oran's Bishop Luis Antonio Scozzina called on victims of sexual abuse to report to the appropriate church authorities or state justice system.

Vatican spokesman: Zanchetta not deposed by pope

The acting Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti rejected in early January the account that Zanchetta had been deposed by the pope. He said the bishop himself had asked to step down from office. The reason was a difficult relationship between Zanchetta and the clergy. In the process, the bishop has been accused of authoritarian behavior, but there has been "not a single allegation of sexual abuse," the Vatican said.

After an interim period in Spain, Zanchetta had been appointed to the Vatican "in view of his ability in administration". However, no leadership responsibility comes with the position as assessor, Gisotti said at the time.

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