- Feb 25, 2020
A diocese in northern Argentina was raided on Thursday as part of a fraud investigation into the rule of Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, a man close to Pope Francis who also faces charges of sexually abusing seminarians.
According to one expert in Church law, carrying out the recent suppression of an Argentine religious institute is a complicated, messy and time-consuming process that no churchman looks forward to. Yet for victims thirsting for justice, explanations aren’t enough – they want action.
Similar to the Legion of Christ founded by the late Mexican Father Marcial Maciel Degollado or the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) launched by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, members of the Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista tell of a toxic internal culture where abuse and manipulation ran rampant.
When the Vatican suppressed Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista this summer, the act was welcome news for ex-members, some of whom have been waiting for years to get justice for alleged abuses suffered under the group’s founder and other members.
When Chrystian Contreras Javier Gomez, entered Argentina’s Hermanos Discípulos de Jesús de San Juan Bautista at age 15, he thought he was walking among spiritual giants whose life of contemplative prayer fueled a heroic service to the poor. Yet it wouldn’t take long for him to discover that there were more sinners than saints behind the community walls.
According to some observers, Argentina’s incumbent President Mauricio Macri needs a miracle to win the upcoming presidential elections, as he lost the primaries by a wide margin to an opponent that includes former President Cristina Kirchner in the vice presidential slot.