PLEASE NOTE: Transcript and related links/show notes are found beneath the video on this page.
On this episode of the 1P5 minute, we tackle three stories we’re tracking this week:
First, Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s remarks about President Trump have raised Catholic ire, prompting tens of thousands of people to sign a petition demanding he apologize to the president, and to the Knights of Columbus, who maintain the JPII Shrine in DC.
Then, we look at the USCCB response from current president Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles on the Supreme Court decision this week ruling that the sex-based employment discrimination prohibition in the 1964 civil rights act also prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status.
And finally, Argentinian Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who is facing criminal charges in his home country relating to fraud and sexual abuse of seminarians, is back at work in the Vatican, where he was appointed as assessor by his friend, Pope Francis in 2017. The criminal investigation is still ongoing, but that hasn’t put a stop to the pope giving him his job back.
(Please note, this was a working copy of the script of this episode, and not an official transcript. There may be some variations/typos)
I’m Steve Skojec, and this is the 1P5 Minute.
Well hello there 1P5ers, today is Wednesday, June 17, 2020, and here are this week’s top stories.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s remarks about President Trump’s visit to the John Paul II shrine in his diocese of Washington, DC being reprehensible and politically motivated have sparked outrage in the Catholic Community, leading over 34,000 people to sign a petition demanding that Gregory apologize to the president, along with the Knights of Columbus, who manage the shrine.
If you want to know more about Gregory’s comments, we’ve covered them extensively in episodes 25 and 26 of the minute, so be sure to check those out for more detail. For their part, the Knights of Columbus issued a statement of their own, which reads, “This [President Trump’s visit] was fitting given St. John Paul II was a tireless advocate of religious liberty throughout his pontificate. International religious freedom receives widespread bipartisan support, including unanimous passage of legislation in defense of persecuted Christians and religious minorities around the world.”
In a piece at human events, Catholic commentator and author John Zmirak writes that
“…those who reek of personal sin often seek public absolution by assailing the “social sins” of others. And that’s precisely what Gregory did when he denounced the Knights of Columbus and the St. John Paul II Shrine for welcoming President Trump last week. Gregory did it again when he “invited” all the priests whose salaries and living conditions he controls personally to protest against Donald Trump.
This anti-church is what Archbishop Vigano identifies and condemns in his letter to Donald Trump, calling it the stooge of the Deep State. And Vigano is absolutely right.”
“But if the president is concerned about the political implications of Gregory’s various stunts, he shouldn’t be. The really devoted members of this Anti-Church would never vote for him anyway. They know that congressional Democrats will boost the Anti-Church’s contracts, and flood the country with more immigrants to (briefly) fill the pews and attract still more federal money. They’ve already replaced any efforts at personal holiness with woke virtue-signaling. Their states are mostly deep blue, and they already have their reward.”
Trump should focus, Zmirak argues, on the Catholic voters he can win, who are “patriotic, hard-working, and baffled by the chaos which Democrats have unleashed and their bishops are praising.”
If petitions are your thing, you can add your name to the one seeking an apology from Washington’s Archbishop for his inappropriate remarks at LifePetitions.com. As for any forthcoming apology, even with a million signatures I wouldn’t hold your breath.
In a rare act of public support for the natural and moral law, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement through their current head, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, regarding a recent and highly controversial United States Supreme Court ruling that the prohibition on sex discrimination in employment also applies to sexual orientation and transgender status.
In his statement, Gomez wrote:
“I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law. This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.
By erasing the beautiful differences and complementary relationship between man and woman, we ignore the glory of God’s creation and harm the human family, the first building block of society. Our sex, whether we are male or female, is part of God’s plan for creation and for our lives. As Pope Francis has taught with such sensitivity, to live in the truth with God’s intended gifts in our lives requires that we receive our bodily and sexual identity with gratitude from our Creator. No one can find true happiness by pursuing a path that is contrary to God’s plan.
Every human person is made in the image and likeness of God and, without exception, must be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect. Protecting our neighbors from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature.”
And finally today, Argentinian Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who has been accused of both fraud and sexual abuse of seminarians and is under criminal investigation for some of these allegations, has been allowed to return to work at APSA, the Vatican’s central reserve bank and asset management body. His return to his position was officially confirmed by Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni.
Aside from possible criminal charges, Zanchetta was discovered to have pornographic images on his cell phone, some of which depicted young people engaged in sexual acts — it’s unclear just HOW young — and some of which featured Zanchetta himself.
When Zanchetta was called to Rome in 2015 to answer for himself before his old friend, Pope Francis, he made the specious claim that his phone and computer had been hacked. According to CNA, “Francis reportedly accepted the bishop’s excuse” and “took no further action.”
Zanchetta was suspended from his post by the Vatican in January of 2019 pending an internal investigation and had to appear before the court in Argentina last December, where he is facing a possible 10 year prison sentence if convicted. The chancery offices of his former diocese of Oran were also raided last November in pursuit of the investigation of fraud against the state. According to CNA,
“In addition to accusations of mismanaging church funds donated by the faithful in the 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.”
It would be baffling for any cleric appointed by and living in the same residence as the pope who is facing credible sex abuse allegations would be allowed to continue in his position. It would be equally baffling why a man being investigated for serious financial fraud would be allowed to work at the Vatican’s central reserve bank, which is itself under scrutiny for international real estate investments and the arrest of one of its former employees on suspicion of, again, fraud – among other things.
But Zanchetta is a man who fits both of these categories, and he is working for a pope who claims to have zero tolerance for sex abusers or those who protect them, as well as a committment to Vatican financial reform.
The entire Church is being run by a transparently tin pot Latin American dictator who is more loyal to his friends than to God and his commandments. Let that sink in.
For more on Zanchetta and the charges he’s facing, see episodes 14 and 15 of the 1P5 minute, which we’ll link to in the show notes.
Thanks for watching the one peter five minute. Please like and share this video, subscribe to our channel, and support our work by going to onepeterfive.com/donate today.
Until next time, I’m Steve Skojec, thanks for watching.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.