“Not a single allegation of sexual abuse”

Abuse in the Catholic Church (symbol image) © Julian Stratenschulte

Vatican reviews allegations against Bishop Zanchetta. In a statement, Vatican spokesman Gisotti rejected accusations that the former bishop had been deposed by Pope. Rather, Zanchetta himself had asked to resign from office.

In the case of abuse allegations against Argentine bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, the Vatican has reiterated its position. Accusations of sexual abuse against the high-ranking employee of the papal goods administration are being investigated, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti announced again on Tuesday. "After that, there will be information on results," the terse statement continued.

Otherwise, Gisotti referred to his statement of 4. January: At the time of Zanchetta's appointment as assessor of the goods administration in December 2017, no allegations of sexual abuse had been known.

In the treasury of the Holy See

The Vatican spokesman was responding to the AP news agency's report, picked up over the weekend by some media outlets, that the Vatican had learned of misconduct by Zanchetta as early as 2015. However, according to the report, the indications reported to the Vatican before the appointment were below the threshold of criminal relevance. Gisotti said there had been "misleading reconstructions" in the reports.

Zanchetta, now 54, had been appointed bishop of Oran in northern Argentina in one of Pope Francis' first personnel decisions in July 2013. After Zanchetta stepped down as diocesan director 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 treasury of the Holy See.

Abuse victims to come forward

The Argentine newspaper "El Tribuno" had reported the accusations 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 reactions to the allegations.

The diocese of Oran, on the other hand, declared on 30. December that the personnel measures followed exclusively pastoral considerations. Oran's Bishop Luis Antonio Scozzina called on victims of sexual abuse to report to the relevant church authorities or the state justice system.

Difficult relationship with clergy

Vatican spokesman Gisotti in early January rejected the account that Zanchetta had been deposed by the pope. The bishop himself had asked to resign from office. Reason had been difficult relationship of Zanchetta with clergy. In the process, the bishop had been accused of authoritarian behavior, but there had been "not a single allegation of sexual abuse".

After an interim period in Spain, Zanchetta had been appointed to the Vatican "in view of his ability in administration". However, Gisotti said at the time that the position of assessor did not entail any management responsibility.

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