I Hope It Isnít True

Op-Ed by Daniel Pliner
La Nación
December 20, 2011

 [Translated into English by Click below to see original article in Spanish.]

... A year ago, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio entrusted to a lawyer the writing of a book to try to prove the innocence of the priest Julio Grassi, still free, despite having been sentenced to 15 years in prison for two counts of sexual abuse of a minor. The result: two large volumes, entitled “Studies on the Grassi Case” and signed by the expert in criminal law, Marcelo Sancinetti.

It seems unlikely that the plaintiff attorney, Juan Pablo Gallego – who was responsible for breaking news of the book – fabricated such a story, especially since his complaint is substantiated by more than one witness. He claims, for example, that both volumes – which he calls "work for hire," "lacking in seriousness" and "crude" – are circulating through the offices of judges and magistrates of the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires who have yet to rule on the case.

At the same time, it is hard to believe that the audacity of Bergoglio would reach such a degree of solidarity with Grassi, even though the inside cover of one of the volumes makes it explicit: "The Episcopal Conference of Argentina entrusted the fulfillment of a judgment to professor Sancinetti, consisting of a study of the procedure by which Reverend Father Julio César Grassi was criminally prosecuted, judged and convicted of two instances of sexual abuse (related to one complainant) and acquitted by many others (related to two other complainants).”

I wouldn’t hesitate in defending the right, and even the obligation, of Bergoglio to open a sort of internal investigation. And why shouldn’t he? A little late, perhaps, but why not? They are so few examples in which the Church of Argentina has put truth, punishment and repentance over their own credibility, and it’d even be commendable that the Cardinal had tried to find out what really happened.

But if the two books point to Grassi’s innocence, and if, as Gallego says, they were distributed to the tribunals and judges working on the case, then all of it should make us stop and reflect.

Taken as a whole it’s nothing less than pressure (or ‘lobbying’ in less aggressive terms); all of it together reveals a lack of respect, even disdain, for the laws of Earthly justice; a rising up of a “corporation” that without good reason wields the sword of power and influence; exposing themselves to the inability to explain, with proof and within the bounds of common sense, what exactly was the twisted conspiracy that led the general public and the Court of Justice to believe that Grassi is a sexual predator who must pay for his crimes.


















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