Graham Charles Lear
5 min readSep 13, 2017

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Pope Francis and Clergy Sexual Abuse in Argentina

Something stinks with the new Argentine Pope. On the face of it when you look at Pope Francis butter would not melt in his mouth. However Francis has a couple of very dark secrets that he does not want his flock to know about.

We will leave his dark past in the 70s for the moment when as a humble priest he did the bidding of the evil Junta for there is something else far more sinister that we will be looking at.

Pope Francis and Clergy Sexual Abuse in Argentina

From 1998 to 2013 Jorge Mario Bergoglio now known as Pope Francis was Bishop of Buenos Aires. While he held that church position church officials in the US and Europe began addressing the catastrophe of child sexual abuse by clergy. Popes John Paul II and Benedict began to speak out on the abuse by making public statements. However as bishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio kept a very low profile on the subject of abuse in Argentina staying very silent on the abuse his priests were doing to their Argentine flock of children.

That period between 1998 to 2013 He released no documents, no names of accused priests, no tallies of accused priests, no policy for handling abuse, not even an apology to victims.

In his many homilies and statements archived on the Buenos Aires archdiocesan website), http://www.arzbaires.org.ar/inicio/homiliasbergoglio.html he attacked government corruption, wealth inequities, and human sex trafficking, but he said nothing about sexual violence by priests on their young flock.

In fact In On Heaven and Earth (first published in Spanish in 2010), a wide-ranging collection of conversations with Argentine rabbi Abraham Skorka, he suggested in fact that the problem did not exist in his archdiocese. Bergoglio’s implication, that he handled no abusive priests, is implausible. Buenos Aires is Argentina’s largest diocese, and Bergoglio was one of its top executives.

From 1998 to 2013 a period when tens of thousands of victims worldwide reported their abuse to the Church, Bergoglio now Pope Francis was saying there was no abuse in Argentina by Catholic priests which is simply not true. There is proof that over 100 priests committed sexual offenses against young girls and boys. Not only do we know that over 100 priests committed these outrages offenses but we know hat dozens of them were known to archdiocesan supervisors, including Bergoglio.

Bergoglio’s role in five abuse cases

Cardinal Bergoglio’s direct management of accused priests. Only one Buenos Aires archdiocesan priest — Carlos Maria Gauna — has been publicly accused. But in the high-profile cases of four child molesters from religious orders or other dioceses — Grassi, Pardo, Picciochi, and Sasso — there is evidence that Bergoglio knowingly or unwittingly slowed victims in their fight to expose and prosecute their assailants. Victims of all four offenders say that they sought the cardinal’s help. None of them received it, even those who were poor, struggling on the periphery of society — the people whom Pope Francis has championed. (According to Bergoglio’s former spokesman, Bergoglio declined to meet the victims.

Fr. Julio César Grassi — Grassi was convicted in 2009 of molesting a boy who had lived in a home for street children that Grassi founded. After Grassi’s conviction, Bergoglio commissioned a secret study to persuade Supreme Court judges of Grassi’s innocence. Bergoglio’s intervention is believed to be at least part of the reason that Grassi remained free for more than four years following his conviction. He finally was sent to jail in September 2013. the year Bergoglio became Pope Francis.

Fr. Rubén Pardo — In 2003, a priest with AIDS who had admitted to his bishop that he had sexually assaulted a boy was discovered to be hiding from law enforcement in a vicarage in the archdiocese of Buenos Aires, then headed by Bergoglio. Pardo also was reportedly hearing children’s confessions and teaching in a nearby school. One of Bergoglio’s auxiliary bishops, with whom he met every two weeks, appears to have lived at the vicarage at the same time. Typically, an ordinary must give permission for a priest to live and work in his diocese. It is unlikely that Pardo lived and ministered in Buenos Aires without Bergoglio’s approval.

Brother Fernando Enrique Picciochi, S.M. — After a victim discovered that his abuser had fled Argentina to the US, eluding law enforcement, the victim sought Bergoglio’s help in getting released from the confidentiality order imposed by the cleric’s religious order. He conveyed his request in meetings with Bergoglio’s private secretary and with the auxiliary bishop, current archbishop Mario Poli. The archdiocese would not help.

  • Rev. Mario Napoleon Sasso — In 2001, following a diagnosis as a pedophile at a church-run treatment center, Sasso was made pastor of a very poor parish with a community soup kitchen in the Zárate-Campana diocese. In 2002–2003, he sexually assaulted at least five little girls in his bedroom off the soup kitchen. In 2006, with Sasso in jail but not yet convicted, the parents of the little girls reportedly sought Bergoglio’s help. Bergoglio was then president of the Argentine bishops’ conference, and the soup kitchen was just 25 miles from the Buenos Aires archdiocese. Bergoglio would not meet with them.

Rev. Carlos Maria Gauna — Gauna was an archdiocesan priest under Bergoglio’s direct supervision. In 2001, two girls at a school filed a criminal complaint saying Gauna had touched them inappropriately. Bergoglio reportedly was going to look into it. Gauna still works in the Buenos Aires archdiocese. Notably, he’s now a deacon and a hospital chaplain — possible indicators that Bergoglio considered the allegations credible but decided to demote him rather than remove him from ministry.

And here is one other thing about Bergoglio and the abuse scandal in Argentina. As top man he authorized church money to be used to pay lawyers to discredit the victims of these priests.

Does this sound like a compassionate Pope to be? Or does it sound like a Cardinal soon to be Pope who tried to cover up the abuse or EVEN WORSE.

I will leave that conundrum to the reader. I know whatv I think of him.

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.