Scicluna fumbles, Gisotti to the rescue…
Courageous Reporter asks Vatican Press Panel about Francis’ Cover-Up of Zanchetta Case
Inés San Martín questions “Abp.” Charles Scicluna on Feb. 24, 2019
Some light fireworks could be seen today at the final press conference wrapping up the sex abuse summit in the Vatican that had begun on Feb. 21.
As is customary, the press panel took questions from journalists in the audience after its presentations, and the last one came from Inés San Martín, who is the Rome Bureau Chief for the mainstream Novus Ordo news site Crux. Herself from Buenos Aires, Argentina, San Martin is for that reason somewhat connected to the current pretend-pope, but this did not keep her from asking the following explosive question, clearly embarrassing to Francis and to the other Vatican authorities. She addressed it to the “Archbishop” of Malta, Charles Scicluna:
[San Martin:] Archbishop Scicluna, you said that Pope Francis wants to raise the age for which the church considers porn involving minors to be a grave delict. We know that there’s a bishop in Argentina, [Gustavo] Zanchetta, who had gay porn in his phone involving young people. How can we believe that this is in fact, you know, the last time we’re going to hear, “No more cover-up!”, when at the end of the day, Pope Francis covered up for someone in Argentina who had gay porn involving minors… I mean, can we actually believe that this is going to change now?
What transpired then was priceless. As Scicluna fumbled, Francis’ spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, quickly came to his aid, before a short while later the Maltese prelate returned to the microphone himself. Here is what they said:
[Scicluna:] Well, I’ll quote what the Holy Father said this morning about the law. About the case, I’m not… I’m not… you know… I’m not authori… I mean… yeah…. [is interrupted by Alessandro Gisotti].
[Gisotti:] If I can add something: You know exactly what my communication was. We have said that an investigation has been launched; it is ongoing. So we will inform you of the results once it has been completed. This is our position. This is all I can say at the moment. As you know, we had asked you not to focus on individual cases, and I think that, generally speaking, the meeting has provided an extraordinary answer also in this regard.
[Scicluna:] I don’t have information about the case you mentioned, but if it’s investigating [sic], someone is investigating a case, they’re not covering it up. That’s my take.
(Vatican Press Briefing from Augustinianum Patristic Institute, Feb. 24, 2019; our transcription.)
The awkward exchange can be seen in this video clip (1:08:22 – 1:10:02 min marks):
Scicluna’s body language certainly matches his verbal confusion. It is clear that this question was not supposed to come up, and Gisotti essentially reminded the daring journalist of exactly that.
For those who may need a refresher on what the Zanchetta case is about, the following post, published by us back in January, has details:
Last month, Vatican spokesman Gisotti issued two separate statements in which he claimed that when in late 2017 Francis appointed Zanchetta to a new Vatican position created specifically for him, these accusations against the Argentinian prelate had not yet come to light.
This, however, has been contradicted by none other than the diocesan vicar general at the time, “Fr.” Juan José Manzano, who has testified that the “Pope” did know about it but, so he thinks, gullibly fell for an excuse Zanchetta offered. What is more, just this past Thursday, the Argentinian newspaper El Tribuno published internal church documents that apparently confirm that Francis knew about the sexual abuse allegedly committed by Zanchetta before he brought him to the Vatican. Ines San Martin herself has reported on it, as has Marco Tosatti.
It’s interesting that Scicluna began to say he is not authorized to talk about this case, but then stopped himself, perhaps because it occurred to him that it wouldn’t look too good to say, “I can’t talk to you about it” when they’ve just concluded several days’ worth of talks, reflections, and what not on how important transparency and accountability are.
Scicluna’s assertion that there is no cover-up because there is (now) an investigation is disingenuous. If there was a cover-up by Francis, it was at the time of Zanchetta’s resignation and his subsequent transfer to the Vatican, that is, between August and December of 2017. The Vatican didn’t announce an investigation until Jan. 4, 2019, saying that accusations had not come to light until the fall of 2018.
In any case, wouldn’t it be one of the objects of the investigation to determine whether or not there had been a cover-up? If so, how can Scicluna say that the investigation is proof of the non-existence of a cover-up? And just what would Gisotti, Scicluna, and all the rest have us believe about this anyway? Are we to entertain the idea that upon concluding the investigation — which, by the way, is reportedly being led by a “very good friend” of the accused — they would possibly announce that, “Yes, Francis knew of the accusations, saw the evidence, but decided to cover it all up and quietly transferred Zanchetta to Rome in the hopes that no one would find out what an abusive, perverted dirtbag he is”?
Whatever the inquiry will officially find, it is obvious that it will not find that Francis is to blame in any meaningful way. And so San Martin’s question was neither premature nor uncalled-for, and it was quite a courageous act on her part because she might now have to face unpleasant consequences for her boldness.
By the way: In the past few days the news broke that an Argentine woman who had accused one of “Pope” Francis’ personal friends, the former politician Gustavo Vera, of child sex trafficking, was found dead near Buenos Aires. And yes, she had feared she would be killed and said so in a public tweet last year.
Ladies and gentlemen, more and more evidence is being amassed that there is a mountain of crimes to be uncovered, of which we have so far only scratched the surface.
Image source: composite of cropped screenshots from youtube.com (Vatican News – English)
License: fair use