Browsing News Entries

Police raid former offices of Argentine bishop charged with fraud, sex assault

Orán, Argentina, Nov 8, 2019 / 01:01 pm (CNA).- Local civil authorities on Thursday raided the chancery of the Diocese of Orán, where Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta was bishop from 2013 to 2017. Bishop Zanchetta has been charged with sexual assault, as well as fraud and mismanagement of funds.

He was charged in June with assaulting two seminarians.

Orán's Economic Crime Unit raided offices in the chancery Nov. 7. The raid was carried out to investigate Zanchetta's alleged fraud against the state, according to El Oranense.

In addition to accusations of mismanaging church funds donated by the faithful in diocese, public records show that Zanchetta received more than 1 million Argentine pesos from Salta Province to restore a rectory and for lectures at the seminary which never occurred.

Four months after Zanchetta’s resignation as Bishop of Orán, Pope Francis appointed him to a newly-created position in the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, which oversees the Vatican’s assets and real estate holdings.

Reporting from Argentine sources suggests that the bishop was first accused of sexually inappropriate behavior in 2015.

According to a February report by Argentine newspaper The Tribune, one of the Zanchetta’s secretaries alerted authorities after accidentally finding sexually explicit images sent and received on Zanchetta’s cell phone in 2015. The complaint says that some of the images depict “young people” having sex in addition to lewd images of Zanchetta himself.

The bishop claimed his phone and computer had been hacked, and that the accusations were motivated by people who did not support Pope Francis.

Pope Francis summoned Zanchetta to Rome for five days in October 2015. The pope appeared to have accepted Zanchetta’s excuse that his cell phone had been hacked, and dismissed the allegations.

The Vatican has stated twice that they did not know about Zanchetta’s misdeeds until 2018, a claim that is disputed by Fr. Juan José Manzano, the former vicar general of the Diocese of Orán. Manzano claims that he reported Zanchetta in 2015, after the pornographic images were found on his phone. Manzano says he also reported him again in 2017.

The report also says three of Zanchetta’s vicars general and two monsignors made a formal internal complaint before the Argentinian nunciature in 2016, alleging inappropriate behavior with seminarians.

This behavior included entering their rooms at night, requesting massages from them, waking up seminarians in the morning, sitting on their beds, drinking alcohol with them, and favoring more the more “graceful” (attractive) among them.

The 2017 internal accusation, which The Tribune says alleged more explicit abuse by Zanchetta of seminarians, resulted in Zanchetta’s exit from the diocese, though Zanchetta said he was resigning for health reasons. The Vatican did not open an investigation at that time.

Manzano said part of the reason the allegations against Zanchetta may have not been taken seriously by the Vatican was because of the bishop’s close relationship with Pope Francis, who appointed him Bishop of Orán in 2013. Still, Manzano said he didn’t believe the Vatican meant to lie or hide anything about Zanchetta. He said he believed Francis and other Vatican officials had also been victims of the bishop’s "manipulation."

The Vatican acknowledged Zanchetta was under investigation in January 2019, and suspended him from his role at APSA.

Vatican Press Office spokesman Alessandro Gisotti in January “resolutely” repeated a Vatican statement that said no sexual abuse charges had yet emerged against the bishop at the time Pope Francis appointed Zanchetta his position at the APSA. Gisotti said the charges only emerged in the fall of 2018.

When asked at a Feb. 24 press conference about Zachetta’s case, Gisotti reiterated that an investigation was ongoing.

In late May 2019, Pope Francis announced that a preliminary investigation against Zanchetta had concluded and would proceed to trial at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

If convicted by the civil court in Argentina, Zanchetta could face between three and 10 years in prison.

USCCB Statement on Wounded Shepherd, Recently-Published Book

WASHINGTON - James Rogers, Chief Communications Officer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement today in response to Wounded Shepherd.

“Austen Ivereigh’s new book, Wounded Shepherd, perpetuates an unfortunate and inaccurate myth that the Holy Father finds resistance among the leadership and staff of the U.S. Bishops Conference. The author disparages the General Secretary and a consultant to the Committee on Canonical Affairs particularly by suggesting they drew up documents in October that were then deliberately excluded from Rome. This is false and misleading.

In August, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo began convening bishops for consultations on measures to strengthen the already effective protection program enacted through the Dallas Charter. By early September, those consultations had crystalized in the form of drafts emerging under the direction of the Executive Committee and with the collaboration of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and the Committee on Child and Youth Protection, supported by the Secretariat of Doctrine and the Office of General Counsel.

It was intended that the proposals stop short of where the authority of the Holy See began. For example, like the Charter before it, the lay commission was based on the voluntary participation of bishops, compiling substantial reports of abuse to be delivered directly to the Apostolic Nuncio in the United States with due regard to civilly mandated reporting laws. While informal consultations with the Holy See took place in October, it was envisioned that the Holy See would have an opportunity to review and offer adjustments only on those drafts benefiting from the input of the full body of U.S. bishops, recognizing that substantial amendments could yet take place.

Cardinal DiNardo’s decision to delay the vote on these proposals in November of 2018 is a clear sign of his and his brother bishops’ collaboration with and obedience to the Holy Father. When Pope Francis announced the new universal Church law establishing a worldwide program of protection, Cardinal DiNardo strongly supported the measures and moved quickly to ensure the Conference’s proposals would be both ready for votes in June of this year and would be complementary to the Holy Father’s own program. The June agenda moved forward without the objection of the Holy See. Because of the decisive actions of Pope Francis and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Church is a safer place for children and adults in vulnerable situations.”

 

###
Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

Ana Chavarin Is Winner of 2019 CCHD Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award

WASHINGTON— The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Each year, CCHD honors an individual between the age of 18 and 40 who demonstrates leadership in fighting poverty and injustice in the United States through community-based solutions with the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award.

Ana Chavarin has been named as the recipient of the 2019 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award; she will be honored at a reception Monday, November 11, during the bishops’ annual General Assembly in Baltimore. Ana is a young immigrant mother who experienced a deepening of faith and discovery of her leadership abilities to help transform her community through work with CCHD-funded group Pima County Interfaith. Now interim lead organizer with that same group, she has spent the last several years mobilizing migrant families and faith communities to impact the issues that affect them. Ana played a lead role in a campaign to increase community safety and address drug abuse. Recently, Ana led numerous sessions with immigration attorneys on the issue of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), rights of the undocumented, and how to become a citizen. She has helped hundreds of undocumented immigrants obtain power of attorney letters to protect their children and property in case they are detained or deported.

“Ana's Catholic faith motivates and inspires her role as a parent, faith community member, and leader in the wide range of social outreach initiatives in which she participates,” said Sister Leonette Kochan, OSF, the former director of the Office of Human Life and Dignity in the Diocese of Tucson. “Her courageous determination and the support of others found expression in her life of service to others, especially in programs that empower the lives of others. As a person who faces economic struggles as a single parent of four children, Ana also leads by example in balancing family life with work, while pursuing a college degree.”

The award, bestowed annually, is named for the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who served as archbishop of Chicago from 1982 till his death in 1996. Cardinal Bernardin served as the first general secretary of the U.S. bishops’ conference from 1968-1972, and as the conference’s third president from 1974-1977. More information about the award is available online: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/cardinal-bernardin-new-leadership-award.cfm.

Ana’s remarks will be available at www.togoforth.org on November 11, following the award reception.

---
Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award, 2019 General Assembly, Baltimore, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, CCHD

###
Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Venezuelan cardinal says Maduro has 'led the country to a terrible ruin'

Caracas, Venezuela, Nov 4, 2019 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino has said that if the administration of Nicolas Maduro “truly had love for Venezuela they would have already left power.”

In an interview published by the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, Cardinal Urosa, Archbishop Emeritus of Caracas, noted that the Maduro administration “has really led the country to a terrible ruin which is growing more and more.”

Under Maduro's socialist administration Venezuela has been marred by violence and social upheaval, with severe shortages of food and medicine, high unemployment, blackouts, and hyperinflation. More than 4 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015, most of them to Colombia, Peru, the US, and Ecuador.

“They don’t want to leave now because they’re clinging to power, it would seem they don’t care about the suffering they’re causing the people, the suffering of so many people that have to leave,” the cardinal stated.

For the Venezuelan cardinal, “the government continues to play out a kind of a farce, a dishonest dialogue to gain time and they the completely reject what’s at the center and the root of the problems which is the inability of the current president to govern.”

The cardinal recalled that the Venezuelan bishops do not recognize “any legitimacy or validity” to the Constituent Assembly, a pro-government legislature formed by Maduro in 2017 to supersede the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

“From the point of view of the socio-political and socio-economic reality, we’re going to end up very badly, unless there is as substantial change between now and December, a change in government,” Cardinal Urosa said.

If that does not take place, he warned, “We’re going to end up very badly because the dollar continues to rise, food is more and more expensive, there are no products, healthcare is worse and education has completely collapsed. The problems continue and are going to get worse.”

“As a bishop of the Church, as a minister of Jesus Christ, let us strengthen our faith in God, our hope, and seek without violence for there to be a peaceful change for the people’s welfare,” he encouraged.

In July the Venezuelan bishops asked that Maduro resign from office, saying his exercise of the presidency is illegimate. They called for the election of a new president as soon as possible.

They cited a July 4 report from the UN human rights commissioner which said the government has committed a variety of human rights abuses, including a high number of extrajudicial killings.

Maduro was sworn in for a second term as president Jan. 10, after winning a contested election in which oppositon candidates were barred from running or imprisoned. Juan Guaidó, head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president Jan. 23.

Guaidó has been recognized by a number of Western and Latin American governments, but has been largely unable to secure the support of Venezuela's military. He has pledged a transitional government and free elections.

On Nov. 3 the Salvadoran president ordered Venezuelan diplomats to leave the country, as El Salvador does not recognize Maduro as the legitimate president. Among Maduro's supporters are China, Cuba, and Russia.

In September, the US barred senior Venezuelan officials and their families from entering the country, after imposing sanctions on Venezuela the month prior.

In 2018, Venezuela's annual inflation rate was 1.3 million percent; the IMF has forecast an inflation rate of 10 million percent in 2019. Prices were doubling every 19 days by the end of 2018.

National Collection to Help Break the Cycle of Poverty to Take Place on November 23-24

WASHINGTON— For nearly 50 years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has been the official domestic anti-poverty program of the Catholic bishops in the United States. Raising public awareness about poverty, its causes, and working to break the cycle in the U.S., the annual collection is coordinated nationally by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to be held in parishes the weekend of November 23-24.

More than 38 million people live in poverty in the United States. This collection assists community leaders who work to expand access to affordable housing, health care, and education. The collection also supports the development of worker-owned businesses, and advocates for changes to structures that keep people in poverty.

In his statement for this year’s commemoration of the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis said, “The situation of the poor obliges us not to keep our distance from the body of the Lord, who suffers in them. Instead, we are called to touch his flesh and to be personally committed in offering a service that is an authentic form of evangelization.”

“The Catholic Campaign for Human Development draws us close to our brothers and sisters in Christ and works to address the root causes of poverty in the United States,” said Bishop David P. Talley of Memphis and chairman of the CCHD Subcommittee of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “In doing so, we uphold the dignity of those who live in poverty and empower them through dialogue and solidarity.”  

This national collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD’s community and economic development grants, as well as its education programs aimed at raising awareness of poverty and fostering hope in communities across the nation. Twenty-five percent of funds collected remain in each diocese to support local anti-poverty projects. Facts about poverty and success stories from groups supported through the annual CCHD collection may be found by visiting: https://povertyusa.org.

CCHD’s annual report provides a presentation of the use of collection funds and the scope of its reach and impact along with the CCHD newsletter “Helping People Help Themselves”. Parish resources for the collection may be accessed on the CCHD’s resource webpage.

---
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, CCHD, Bishop David P. Talley, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, poverty

###
Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Bishop Chairmen Commend Administration Action to Prevent Government Discrimination Against Faith-based Adoption, Foster Care, and Social Service Providers

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, have issued a statement commending a proposed rule change that will help ensure faith-based social service providers will not be excluded from certain federally-funded programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Their joint statement follows:

“We commend the Administration for acting to change a 2016 regulation that threatened to shut out faith-based social service providers, namely adoption and foster care agencies that respect a child’s right to a mother and a father. To restrict faith-based organizations’ work by infringing on religious freedom – as the 2016 rule threatened to do - is unfair and serves no one, especially the children in need of these services. We are alarmed and saddened that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care agencies as a result of their Catholic beliefs. At a time when over 400,000 children are in foster care, we need to take steps to increase – not decrease – their opportunities to be placed with safe and loving families. We welcome today’s proposed rule modifications and look forward to reviewing and commenting on them further.”

---

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop James D. Conley, Bishop Robert J. McManus, Department of Health and Human Services, Trump Administration, civil rights laws, White House, discrimination, convictions, religious liberty, marriage, adoption, foster care

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Launches National Civility Effort through 2020 Election

WASHINGTON - One year ahead of the 2020 national elections, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is launching a year-long initiative that invites Catholics to model civility, love for neighbor, and respectful dialogue. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate will ask Catholics to pledge civility, clarity, and compassion in their families, communities, and parishes, and call on others to do the same.  

The initiative, which many dioceses are launching in parishes this weekend (November 2-3), is built on the recognition that every person—even those with whom we disagree—is a beloved child of God who possesses inherent dignity. Supporting materials for the initiative include ideas to help Catholics and others of good will to engage in and model respect and compassion, as well as resource materials to assist in the effort. Civilize It is the invitation to imitate the example of Jesus in our daily lives, including in our encounters with one another through civil dialogue.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development emphasized the importance of Civilize It in the context of the current divisive climate:

“Conversation in the public square is all too often filled with personal attacks and words that assume the worst about those with whom we disagree. We are in need of healing in our families, communities, and country. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate is a call for Catholics to honor the human dignity of each person they encounter, whether it is online, at the dinner table, or in the pews next to them. I invite all Catholics to participate in Civilize It. In doing so, they can bear witness to a better way, approach conversations with civility, clarity, and compassion, and invite others to do the same.”

Civilize It builds on a similar effort implemented in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in previous election years. It is being offered in concert with a wider ecumenical effort, Golden Rule 2020, which invites all Christians to model our shared values of dignity and civility and pursue dialogue instead of division.

Together with the USCCB, dioceses around the country are being called to utilize Civilize It to help Catholics put our faith in action by honoring human dignity through civil conversation this upcoming election year. Resource materials supporting the initiative include: a pledge to civility that can be taken by individuals and communities; resources for prayer and reflection including a pastoral aid and prayer for civility; tips for civil dialogue; and more. More information on the initiative as well as promotional materials, resources, and other tools may be found on CivilizeIt.org.

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate,

###
Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Pro-Life Chairman Urges Congress to Support Dignity for Aborted Children Act Legislation calls for dignified treatment of human remains

WASHINGTON - On October 31, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities sent a letter to Members of Congress supporting S. 2590 and HR 4934, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act. In the letter, Archbishop Naumann cited the recent discovery of careless retention of fetal remains in the state of Illinois by a recently deceased abortion doctor, as well as other instances of shameful and disrespectful disposal of bodies discarded in toilets or cardboard medical waste boxes.

Such actions make “people on both sides of the abortion debate uncomfortable, sad, angry,” he said, and that this is not surprising, given every culture and religious tradition has customs and practices surrounding how to care for and dispose of the dead. “For Catholics, the Church has long taught that 'the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God’,’ that our bodies are a reminder of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and of that resurrection, which we too will experience after death, and burying the dead is taught as one of the seven corporal works of mercy.”

“Other faiths and belief systems likewise promote dignified treatment of the deceased and respectful disposal of their remains,” he continued, and health regulations, ethical guidance for medicine and science, trauma and emergency response, and religious and moral belief all point towards the need for a society to respectfully dispose of each human body. He urged Members of Congress to support the Dignity for Aborted Children Act, saying, “Whether you support or oppose legalized abortion, I hope you will agree that these human bodies should not be wantonly discarded as medical waste or preserved at the whim of the abortion doctor. Such basic courtesy is in keeping with society’s treatment of all other deceased persons including cadavers, donated organs and tissues, remains that are recovered after traumatic incidents, and so on. As a nation, we can at least come together to ensure all human remains are treated with basic human dignity.”

---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Pro-Life, Dignity for Aborted Children Act  

###
Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Chairman of Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Issues Statement of Concern Regarding the Fires in California

WASHINGTON- Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement regarding the wildfires in California:

“I join in the heartfelt prayers offered by the bishops in the state of California in response to the terrible wildfires that have affected approximately thirty counties in that state. The faithful of our nation are urged to support, through their petitions and concern, the efforts at extinguishment and recovery taking place throughout California in response to these fires. It is in solidarity with our brother bishops in California, who have voiced their desire for prompt relief, that I encourage all appropriate public parties and the faithful to be generous in their financial support of these recovery efforts. Let us all pray for the safety of those affected and their property.”

 ---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, California fires
 
###
Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops Allocate $9.9 Million in Grants to Aid Dioceses in Pastoral Outreach and Evangelization Efforts

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions met in El Paso, Texas last month to consider grant applications for 2020. The Subcommittee approved $9.9 million in grants to aid 77 dioceses and eparchies in the United States and its territories that face significant challenges to their evangelization efforts due to geography, low populations, and poverty.

Financed through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, a special national collection held each year in dioceses across the country, the grants support a wide range of pastoral outreach and ministries in the communities that are designated awardees. Recipients for 2020 include the Diocese of Kalamazoo’s well-established migrant ministry outreach, which has been supported for two decades by Subcommittee grants. This program includes ministry staff as well as more than 100 volunteers from 15 parishes. Last year, the diocese’s Hispanic Migrant Team visited more than 300 migrant farmworker camps and ministered to 15,000 people, providing access to the liturgy, sacramental preparation, catechetical classes, and various social services.

The 2020 funds will help the diocese continue this effort. For the Diocese of Colorado Springs, funding from the Subcommittee means youth and young adults will continue to have access to critical faith formation programs, equipping them with knowledge of their Catholic faith through catechesis and evangelization. In the Diocese of Dodge City, the Subcommittee’s grant will support a lay ministry formation program for leadership development in more than 10 parishes. In the Diocese of Juneau, the grant will help to minister to people who live in remote regions scattered along 500 miles of islands, peninsulas, and fjords.

During the visit to the Diocese of El Paso, the Subcommittee had the opportunity to meet with the staff who carry out the ministries in west Texas that the grants would support and heard firsthand about the challenges and successes of meeting the needs of their faith community. Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, of Jefferson City and Chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions shared his sincere gratitude for the commitment and dedication diocesan and parish personnel have shown in the face of difficulties.

“The Diocese of El Paso, along with many other dioceses throughout the United States struggle to meet the basic pastoral needs of the faithful. Thanks to the generosity of Catholics throughout the United States, dioceses in need can apply for grants that will help them with evangelization and pastoral ministry efforts,” said Bishop McKnight. “These dioceses otherwise might not be able to engage as robustly in the evangelization and outreach programs that foster the community and fraternity needed to enrich the faithful who long to grow closer to Christ,” he said.

The Subcommittee oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. Most of the requests received by the Subcommittee are to support programs of evangelization, Hispanic ministry, seminary education, lay ministry formation, and other essential pastoral ministries.

The national date for the Catholic Home Missions Appeal is April 26, however, some dioceses opt to host the appeal at other times during the year. More information on Catholic Home Missions and the projects it funds can be found online at www.usccb.org/home-missions. Join the conversation at #1church1mission.

CHM’s annual report provides a presentation of the use of collection funds and the scope of its reach and impact, and the most recent issue of the CHM newsletter “Neighbors” may be read here.

Parish resources for the collection may be accessed at http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-home-missions-appeal/collection/index.cfm.

---
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Shawn McKnight, Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, Committee on National Collections, Catholic Home Missions Appeal, CHMA

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
[email protected]
202-541-3200