VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has appointed his longtime friend and fellow Argentinian Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni to a Vatican position, despite Zaffaroni’s controversial record and his support for homosexuality and abortion.
Announced August 18 by the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis formally recognized a group first created in 2019 and made the peculiar move of designating it as a private association of the faithful.
The Pan-American Committee of Judges and Judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine [COPAJU] had its statutes and logo formally approved by the Pope, along with its first appointments and staffing assignments.
A brainchild and subsidiary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Committee was first established in 2019 from a meeting in the Vatican of 120 magistrates from across the Americas. According to the Pope’s chirograph, the group is oriented to “protection and promotion of social rights from the magistracy, placing special emphasis on the discarded social sectors, affected by the different processes of neo-colonialism.”
As a subsidiary of COPAJU, Pope Francis instituted a new research group, appointing to it a friend from his native Argentina whose record on life and family issues contradicts Catholic moral teaching. Raúl Eugenio Zaffaroni was appointed as one of the three founding board members of the new “Fray Bartolomé de las Casas” Institute for Research and Promotion of Social Rights.
The new Institute will deal with the “academic, teaching and formation purposes on the field of social rights, migration and colonialism.” As such, it will be financially “supported, directed and administered by COPAJU and will operate under the auspices of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.”
But Zaffaroni, despite his appointment to a Vatican-based body, has a long-standing record of promoting abortion and homosexuality. A former member of Argentina’s Supreme Court 2003 through 2015, Zaffaroni also served as a judge for the Inter American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) from 2016 through 2022.
As LifeSite’s Dr. Maike Hickson reported in 2019, Zaffaroni was chiefly responsible for organizing an event at the Vatican for LGBT activists on the decriminalization of homosexuality. The invitation letter, of which LifeSite obtained a copy, stated that “Professor Zaffaroni’s words will be followed by a historical speech by His Holiness relevant to the subject matter.”
The event was revealed by Dr. Frédéric Martel, an open homosexual and author of a book alleging widespread homosexuality amongst clergy in the Vatican. Martel described Zaffaroni as “a friend of Pope Francis.”
To support this claim is the well-documented fact that Pope Francis, when still the archbishop of Buenos Aires, invited Zaffaroni in 2010 to participate as a speaker at a diocesan event on children and youth, something that caused indignation among Catholics at the time. A letter penned to then-Cardinal Bergoglio at the time described Zaffaroni as someone who
publicly advocates for abortion rights (at a time when our country is prey to a ruthless campaign for the murder of the innocent), and has clearly and emphatically expressed in favor of homosexual “marriage” (which includes corruption of our children due to the possibility of adoption recognized by law), also in favor of the decriminalization of drugs, and countless sins from which the Church – as Mother and Teacher – and her pastors, must protect their children.
Indeed, Zaffaroni has made no secret about being a long-standing supporter of the decriminalization of homosexual relationships along with opposing the criminalization of abortion.
Zaffaroni and Francis: Pachamama supporters
An interesting parallel between the Argentine Pope and the Argentine judge is their advocacy for Earth-centered ecology, including support for Pachamama. Pope Francis was infamously a participant at the 2019 Vatican event which saw Pachamama statues being worship in the Vatican gardens. The statues of the Incan fertility goddess were then placed in a church just meters from the Vatican, before being thrown into the river by Catholic activist Alexander Tschugguel. Francis apologized to Amazon indigenous leaders for the statues’ being thrown into the river.
Zaffaroni is himself also a proponent of Pachamama idolatry. A 2017 article written by Pope Francis’ friend — the disgraced former Franciscan priest and liberation theologian Leonardo Boff — praised a book written by Zaffaroni entitled Pachamama and the Human Being. Boff argued the text was in the same spirit as Francis’ 2015 environmental encyclical Laudato Si’ and strongly defended animal rights against centuries of “human cruelty.”
The book also aligns with Francis’ 2020 text Fratelli Tutti, in that a concept of fraternity divorced from religion is proposed as the answer to the crises of humanity. “Only by substituting the knowledge of the dominus for the frater we can regain human dignity,” Zaffaroni wrote.
Zaffaroni and Argentine prostitution
But additional controversy has long surrounded the Argentinian judge. A 2011 investigation by Perfil found that numerous apartments he owned in Buenos Aires were being used for a lucrative prostitution business.
Zaffaroni denied being involved in the business, arguing that management of the property was handled by a real estate company and that he was a victim of a media campaign. Calls were subsequently made for Zaffaroni’s impeachment given he was serving as a judge on the nation’s supreme court at the time.
Then in 2013, Zaffaroni’s attorney Ricardo Montivero testified in court that it was he who had been managing the prostitution business, not Zaffaroni. Montivero paid a fine for management of a brothel. Montivero’s fine was reportedly the minimum penalty for the offense and it did not lead to a criminal record.
Further peculiarities plagued the investigation. As Perfil reported, Marcia González, who ran some of the brothels in apartments rented from Zaffaroni, died in a 2012 road traffic accident. She was accompanied in the car crash by four other passengers: Angélica Duarte, who rented the other two of Zaffaroni’s apartments as brothels, and Juan José Cantero, a former commissioner of the Federal Police who had been married to Duarte and who was driving the car at time of the crash.
González was part of the investigation into Zaffaroni’s apartments at the time of her death.
The 83-year-old pro-abortion judge will now enjoy a closer collaboration with Pope Francis and the Vatican in his new role.