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Pope Francis greets Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta.El Tribuno

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SAN ROMAN DE LA NUEVA ORAN, Argentina (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta’s canon lawyer to investigate priests, deacons, and seminarians who testified against the convicted sex offender.

The case of the Argentine bishop serving a sentence in prison for abuse took an unexpected turn this week when Pope Francis sent the prelate’s canon lawyer to investigate the priests and seminarians of the Oran diocese.

Loyola Pinto, the judge of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal for the Argentinian province of Salta, confirmed that Spanish canon lawyer Javier Belda Iniesta was indeed appointed by the Pope.

Belda Iniesta, who formerly defended the imprisoned bishop, will thus now perform a second role in the Zanchetta saga: investigating  those who testified to his abusive behavior. He would not confirm the nature of his investigation, but said it technically “has nothing to do with the case of the abuses of the former bishop of Oran.”

It was suggested in Oran newspaper El Oranense that the investigation into some of Zanchetta’s accusers might be a form of intimidation against those whose testimony was relevant in the bishop’s fall from grace.

A former seminarian from Oran agreed, saying that “they are trying to make them [the witnesses] understand that what they testified is not so; it is a kind of pressure… and they are afraid.”

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Pope Francis: Don't make Bishop McElroy a cardinal - he knew about McCarrick
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Bishop Robert McElroy (right) is to be made a cardinal in August, despite his inaction on allegations against notorious ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

We all have a responsibility to speak up when serious wrongs are being brought to our attention, but McElroy didn't.

SIGN this petition to demand Pope Francis not reward a bishop who failed to report allegations against McCarrick

The Bishop of San Diego was told about serious sexual wrongdoing by McCarrick in 2016 when psychotherapist Richard Sipe, who had interviewed numerous victims of McCarrick, sent him a detailed letter, but McElroy sat on that information and is now being made a cardinal.

Appointing him to the College of Cardinals is not only an insult to those who suffered clerical sex-abuse, but also to those who are intent on ridding the Church of such evil.

This decision to make McElroy a cardinal must be reversed, and the only way to make that happen is with pressure from the laity.

SIGN and SHARE this petition to stop the appointment of Bishop McElroy to the College of Cardinals

Sipe told McElory that numerous seminarians and priests reported sexual advances and activity by McCarrick in a letter that also detailed extensive abuse by other clerics.

"I have interviewed twelve seminarians and priests who attest to propositions, harassment, or sex with McCarrick," the psychotherapist told McElroy in the 2016 letter, adding: "None so far has found the ability to speak openly at the risk of reputation and retaliation."

McElroy, who claims there was no corroborating evidence, could have brought the allegations to the pope, or even to the Papal Nuncio, but instead ended the correspondence with Sipe, himself a clerical sex-abuse victim.

It would take another year for the truth about McCarrick to slowly emerge in public.

SIGN the petition to stop Bishop McElroy being elevated to the College of Cardinals

Turning a blind eye to serious allegations of sexual wrongdoing is reprehensible in any context, but particularly when a bishop, a shepherd of souls, does so.  

He also supports giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, contrary to the Church's teaching, while he has concelebrated LGBT Masses as bishop and claimed Fr. James Martin's attempt to normalize the LGBT ideology is "fully consonant with Catholic teaching".

The sad truth is that McElroy is not fit to continue as a bishop, let alone become a cardinal.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to stop the rot that continues to tarnish Christ's Church. 

We must do what we can to clean up this mess now.

More Information: 

Bishop McElroy was warned about McCarrick - LifeSiteNews

Pope announces 21 new cardinals, including McElroy - LifeSiteNews

Photo: Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Robert McElroy (Lisa Bourne/LifeSiteNews & Diocese of San Diego/YouTube)


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Belda Iniesta told Argentinian news outlet Salta12 that he did not see a conflict of interest.

“I perform tasks as a defender in some cases, and in others I perform the role of investigator, notary, or even judge. There is nothing strange about it. In this case, I already knew the place,” he said.

Zanchetta is a personal friend of Pope Francis and is currently serving the four and a half year prison sentence he was given in March as a result of his sexual abuse of young men. His lawyer has requested that Zanchetta be permitted to serve his sentence under house arrest in a monastery.

Zanchetta, formerly the Bishop of the Diocese of Oran, was one of the first prelates to be appointed a bishop by Francis after his election to the papacy in 2013. In 2017, Zanchetta suddenly left his diocese of Oran, saying that he need to go to Europe for medical treatment.

Upon his arrival in Europe, the bishop stepped into a position created for him inside the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA). The APSA deals with “provisions owned by the Holy See in order to provide the funds necessary for the Roman Curia to function.”

Catholic journalist Christopher Altieri wrote in July 2020 that the APSA “is roughly and readily the Vatican’s central bank. Altieri found Zanchetta’s new role startling given the fact that Zanchetta was accused of financial irregularities during his tenure as Bishop of Oran.

It was reported in 2019 that Francis knew about the sexual misconduct accusations against Zanchetta before the bishop took up his new position in Rome.

Vatican officials denied that Pope Francis was engaged in a cover-up of Zanchetta’s actions, but one of the bishop’s accusers said he was  “a spiritual child of the Holy Father.”

While accusations of homosexual abuse were circulating – which included the sharing of naked selfies with seminarians – Zanchetta was invited to a private retreat with Pope Francis in 2019.

Zanchetta remains a priest in good standing, despite being found guilty of abuse by the Argentine courts.


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