Sunday, March 17, 2019

Francis Goes on Retreat With Pet Predator Bishop

"The City With Burning Desires"

Edit: this reminded us of Confessions of St. Augustine:

To Carthage I came. There I put my ear to the cauldron and heard from within and all around a song of unholy loves.1

(Rome) On the evening of the First Sunday of Lent, the fasting exercises of the Pope and the Roman Curia began. Through Twitter, Francis asked for the prayer "for me and my co-workers". Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta is among "my co-workers" who attend the retreat.

At 6 pm on Sunday evening, this year's fasting exercises for the curia started. They take place again in the retreat house "Divin Maestro" in Ariccia. They are being held by the Olivetan Abbot Bernardo Francesco Gianni of the Abbey of San Miniato al Monte in Florence. The Olivetans are a reform branch of the Benedictine Order, which originated exactly 700 years ago, 1319, as a hermit movement. The monks are also known as "White Benedictines" because of their religious habits. In 1960, the Olivetans joined as a Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation. The congregation has 26 independent monastic monasteries worldwide.

The theme of the retreat, which lasts until March 15, is: "The City of Burning Desires. For paschal vistas and gestures in the life of the world." The first part refers to the Florentine poet Mario Luzi (1914-2005), who was spiritually close to the Renouveau Catholique (Catholic Renewal). On the occasion of his 90th birthday, the then Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi appointed him senator for life. Luzi died five months later, without being able to speak in Parliament. The theme was chosen by Abbot Bernardo Francesco Gianni, who published on the lyricist on the occasion of Luzi's death.

In his last tweet, before the beginning of the retreat, Pope Francis wrote:

"I ask all of you to remember in prayer to me and my collaborators of the Roman Curia, who begin this evening the week of spiritual retreats."

Among "my coworkers" Pope Francis also included the Argentine Curia Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, who in 2017 left his diocese Oran in a without a leader and vanished for half a year. With his disappearance, he submitted the resignation request, which the pope immediately accepted. There remained an irritated diocese, which did not know how it happened. Later, Zanchetta suddenly reappeared in the Vatican and received a high-ranking position from Francis in the Apostolic Property Administration APSA, which was specially created for him. At that time it was already known that he had left the finance and administration of two dioceses in chaos, first as vicar general of his home diocese, then as bishop of his diocese of Oran. An employment in the Vatican's property management was therefore particularly surprising.

Shortly before Christmas 2018 it became known that the financial disorganization of his diocese was not really the reason for the nightly departure as bishop, but allegations of an aberrosexual double life and the sexual harassment of his seminarians.

On January 4, the Vatican press office reported that an Argentine bishop had been charged with investigating the case. Bishop Zanchetta will "leave the job" during the investigation. Should the suspicions be confirmed, the case will be forwarded to the Special Commission for the Bishops."

The interim Vatican spokesman, Gisotti justified the Vatican's approach so that at the time of Zanchetta's resignation as the diocesan Bishop of Oran, only allegations were known of an authoritarian style of leadership, but still no allegations of sexual misconduct.

Shortly thereafter, a veritable media bomb exploded: The Argentine daily El Tribuno published a 2015 submission that showed that the Vatican had been informed of sexual misconduct even then, two years before Zanchetta's escape from his diocese. The complaint had been made by the two Vicars General, the Rector of the seminary and other prelates of the diocese. It was also about authoritarianism in the Bishop's dealings with his priests, but also about the bishop's "obscene selfies" found on his smartphone and about the bishop's sexual harassment of seminarians.

In 2016, the rector of the seminary turned "very worried" to the Apostolic Nunciature in Argentina over the behavior of Bishop Zanchettas towards the seminarians in the first year of studies, who let them attend classes in the episcopal residence. The behavior of the bishop demanded "urgent measures" to protect the seminarians, said the rector to the Nuncio.

Since then, the credibility of the Holy See has been severely shaken in the matter. Francis, however, sticks to his agenda as if nothing had happened. So far also Bishop Zanchetta. In any case, the protection of seminarians from lustful bishops does not seem to be a primary goal of this pontificate. Francis protected Cardinal McCarrick till the last possible moment, as he did with Auxiliary Bishop Pineda of Tegucigalpa. It is still the case for Bishop Zanchetta. All have taken advantage of their own seminarians. In all cases, Francis did not act until the media exposed the sexual activities too loudly.

The British Catholic Herald headlined yesterday:

"The Bishop who is being investigated for sexual misconduct is with Pope Francis at spiritual retreats".

To requests of the Catholic Herald regarding the current state in the case of Zanchetta, the Vatican press service has not responded.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Vatican.va (screenshot)
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com

1. The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Modern English Edition, Spire, Baker Book House, 2005.

AMDG


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