16 April 2024, The Tablet

Argentine bishops judged guilty of ‘gender violence’ against nuns

The Archdiocese of Salta has been in conflict with the Discalced Carmelite community over its support of alleged Marian apparitions.

Argentine bishops judged guilty of ‘gender violence’ against nuns

Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta was appointed in 1999, when the nuns say the “harassment” began.
Archdiocese of Salta / CNA

A judge in Argentina has ruled that two bishops and two priests are liable for gender-based discrimination and violence toward a group of Discalced Carmelite nuns.

Judge Carolina Cáceres Moreno ruled on 4 April that the cloistered nuns of the Monastery of St Bernard in Salta were subjected to psychological, verbal and physical abuse by Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta, Bishop Emeritus Martín de Elizalde of Nueve de Julio, Fr Ignacio Loyola Pinto de Sancristóval and Fr Lucio Ajaya.

Cáceres ordered the four accused clergymen to undergo psychological treatment and training “in order to modify their behavioural patterns”, and said the Pope must be notified of the court’s decision.

The complaint filed by the nuns said that they had endured “sustained harassment over time that began in 1999”, the year Archbishop Cargnello was appointed to the archdiocese.

“I conclude and affirm that the Carmelites have suffered acts of gender violence in the institutional sphere of the religious, physical, psychological and economic type for a period of more than 20 years,” the Cáceres said in her ruling.

Lawyers representing the Archdiocese of Salta said they would appeal the decision. They said that the case has no merit given the fact that “the judge has repeatedly sent the case to the criminal prosecutor”, who has refused to pursue it.

The Archdiocese of Salta has been in conflict with the Discalced Carmelite community over the latter’s support of alleged Marian apparitions of in Salta.

In 2022, following a request by Archbishop Cargnello, the Vatican appointed Bishop Elizalde to conduct an apostolic visitation of the monastery.

In a statement published in April that year, the archdiocese said the Vatican offered instructions regarding the monastery’s administrative management as well as affirming that it was subject to obedience to the archbishop.

It also determined that the convent’s support of the alleged apparitions in Salta, including allowing the supposed visionary Maria Livia Galliano to live at the monastery property, “went against the will of the local church”.

  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99