An Argentine newspaper, El Tribuno, the first one to have reported on the Zanchetta case, published documents on Thursday [February 21] that demonstrate how bishops, the cardinal primate of Argentina, the nuncio, the Vatican, and the pope himself personally knew since 2015 about the case of a bishop who now faces a serious criminal charge of sexual abuse. In the last few days, the case has arrived in civil court, with a criminal accusation made by the victims of the former bishop of Oran. Based on photographs from a 2016 report, signed by five priests, three of whom are former diocesan vicars, it appears clear that Gustavo Zanchetta was accused not only of having obscene pictures of homosexual sex on his cell phone, but also of molesting seminarians, of not having registered the sale of an important piece of property in the diocese, and of immoral behavior related to both the finances and the people of the Diocese of Oran.
The report, which El Tribuno acquired and published photos of (read here), shows how the diocese by chance discovered photos of Zanchetta and other nude men in explicit poses. The chancellor of the diocese saw these photos while he was downloading some institutional images to his P.C. from Zanchetta’s cell phone, at Zanchetta’s personal request. The chancellor informed the authorities, beginning with the vicar general. Immediately afterward, they informed Bishop Emeritus Marcelo Colombo; Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta; the cardinal primate, Mario Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires; the papal nuncio, Paul Emile Tscherrig; and the pope. In October 2015, Gustavo Zanchetta was called urgently to Rome, and everyone in the Diocese of Oran thought it had to do with something linked to the Synod on the Family in view of the close rapport which has linked him to Jorge Mario Bergoglio ever since he was cardinal and president of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference. Zanchetta returned to Oran without anything happening, and nobody knows what he spoke about with the pope, but there are those who affirm that Bishop Zanchetta maintained that the photos were rigged.
In 2016 — as the photographs printed in El Tribuno prove — three of his vicars general and two monsignors made a formal internal denunciation to the nunciature, insisting on “strange behaviors” of Zanchetta with his seminarians. He met them without the presence of the rector of the seminary, he spent the night in their rooms with a flashlight, he asked them to give him massages, he went to their rooms at the time they were supposed to get up, he sat on their beds, he encouraged them to drink alcohol, and he showed a certain preference for those who were “a little more grateful.”
This denunciation did not have any visible repercussions, either. It was followed by another, in 2017, when alleged cases of sexual abuse of seminarians began to emerge.
Zanchetta should have left the diocese, but there was no ecclesiastical investigation, and he was not denounced to the civil authorities. And so Zanchetta landed in the Vatican, where the pope created a position for him that did not exist up until that moment: assessor of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. Thus, he became “Number Two” in charge of the Vatican coffers and took up residence at Santa Marta, where the pope himself resides.
See photographic evidence and read the rest of the story at One Peter Five