Argentine Archbishop Convicted of Gender Violence Against Nuns

Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta, a city in northern Argentina, has been convicted of gender violence against Discalced Carmelite nuns, the Salta-based El Tribuno has reported.

The nuns had accused Archbishop Cargnello, who has governed the archdiocese since 1999, of harassment of a psychological, economic, and physical (though not sexual) nature. In 2020, he, along with his judicial vicar, attempted to wrestle away a camera from a nun as she was recording a meeting, in what El Tribuno described as the principal incident under review.

Archbishop Cargnello “presents indicators of rigid, structured thinking; therefore, when faced with situations and/or events that differ from his ideology or what he expects, he could react with anger or irritability, triggering intimidating behaviors,” according to a psychological report that was published with the court’s ruling. Judge Carolina Cáceres Moreno ordered Archbishop Cargnello to undergo psychological treatment, as well as training in gender violence.

Also convicted were Bishop Martín de Elizalde, the retired bishop of Nueve de Julio, Argentina; Father Loyola Pinto y de Sancristóval, the judicial vicar; and Father Lucio Ajaya.

The judge also ordered Father Javier Belda Iniesta, Pope Francis’s delegate to resolve disputes between Archbishop Cargnello and the nuns, to convey news of the decision to Pope Francis.

Both Archbishop Cargnello and Father Belda Iniesta have played crucial—and opposing—roles in the events surrounding Bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta, the former bishop of Orán (2013-17) and assessor of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See who was convicted in 2022 of sexually abusing seminarians.

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