Argentinian Bishop’s Conviction Spotlights Pope Francis’ Role in Case

Sunday sermons, weekday observations

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The friendship between then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires and Father Gustavo Zanchetta took root during 2005-2011, when the future pope led the Argentinian Bishops’ Conference and the younger priest served as executive undersecretary of that body.

The Pope’s comments about the case in a 2019 Televisa interview revealed that the accused had received an extraordinary degree of personal attention and protection from Francis.

Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI agent who served as the first executive director of the Office of Child Protection for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, identified the problem posed by Francis’ repeated personal interventions.

“It is often very difficult for the leader of any organization to make disciplinary decisions about subordinates with whom they have a positive relationship or whom they hold in high regard,” McChesney told the Register. “Better that the leader recuse him/herself from evaluation of the accusation and…

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