Abuse case at Vatican pre-seminary captures risk, reward of transparency
John L. Allen Jr. Feb 12, 2021
Students at the Pre-Seminary of St. Pius X serve a papal liturgy. (Credit: Screen capture.)
ROME – A Vatican tribunal Wednesday heard testimony from the accused party in an unusual sexual abuse case, one involving a charge that one minor abused another during their time at a pre-seminary on Vatican grounds that provides altar boys for liturgies in St. Peter’s Basilica and that’s produced roughly 200 priestly vocations over three-quarters of a century.
Father Gabrielle Martinelli, who’s now 28, was ordained to the priesthood in 2017, and who’s now in service as chaplain in a health care facility for the elderly, is accused of having sexually abused a slightly younger pre-seminarian, identified only as “L.G.”, between 2007 and 2012, at a time when both were still minors. (Martinelli entered the pre-seminary in 2005 and remained there until 2013.)
Also charged in the case is Father Enrico Radice, who was the rector of the facility at the time the alleged abuse occurred, and who’s accused of hampering the investigation – what, in American parlance, would be known as “obstruction of justice.”
The abuse allegedly happened at the Pre-Seminary of St. Pius X, which, as the name implies, is a residence for young men, usually of middle school and high school age, considering a vocation to the priesthood somewhere down the line. This particular facility was established in 1956 under Pope Pius XII at the urging of Father Giovanni Folci, who had himself attended a pre-seminary at the age of 10 and whose passion for forming young men stemmed in part from his experience as a military chaplain and German prisoner of war during the First World War.
According to a 2019 Vatican statement, the investigation of the allegations against Martinelli and Radice dates to 2017 when a celebrated Italian journalist named Gianluigi Nuzzi, of Vatileaks fame, reported on a Polish alumnus of the pre-seminary who claimed to have witnessed abuses taking place. At the same time, the Diocese of Como where Martinelli resides released its own statement saying it had learned of the charges in 2013 from a letter, conducted its own investigation and founded the allegations to be unfounded.
In 2019, however, Pope Francis ordered a criminal trial to proceed anyway, after the alleged victim wrote the pontiff directly, and Wednesday’s session of the Vatican tribunal was the fourth hearing in the case. The session was entirely devoted to hearing from Martinelli, who firmly denied the allegations.
To hear Martinelli tell the story, the accusations against him are rooted in internal divisions in the pre-seminary, which pit Radice against the Vice Rector at the time, Father Ambrogio Marinoni, along with the spiritual director, Father Marco Granoli, who died last year. Both sides, according to Martinelli, had a following among the students, and the rivalry created “divisions and jealousies.”
In part, the internal battles had to do with the liturgy. His accuser, Martinelli said, as well as the Polish ex-seminarian quoted in Nuzzi’s report, belonged to a faction of younger seminarians who prefer the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, known as the “Tridentine rite,” over the post-Vatican II Mass in the vernacular languages. According to Martinelli, so strong were L. G.’s feelings on the matter that he once refused to serve a bishop’s Mass because he intended to use the post-conciliar rite.
Another bone of contention, according to Martinelli, was plan for reform of the pre-seminary that would have opened it also to students of university age, thereby broadening its reach.
Traditionalists in the pre-seminary supported the plan, Martinelli said, which was eventually blocked by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the pope’s Vicar for the Vatican City State.
“They struck at me, but their real target is the pre-seminary,” Martinelli told the court.
At the level of detail, Martinelli said that rooms in the pre-seminary have doors made of wood and glass, so that the rector could look in, for example, and see if someone was talking on a cell phone after lights-out. The doors were never locked and seminarians did not have keys, he said, suggesting there was no opportunity for the alleged abuse to have occurred unobserved.
Martinelli also tried to debunk a claim by L.G. that he’d been assaulted in a bathroom under the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, arguing that the bathroom is too small, and, in any event, on weekdays (when the event is supposed to have occurred) only one pre-seminarian served the Mass.
Asked by the presiding judge of the tribunal, layman and ex-Italian magistrate Giuseppe Pignatone, why he hadn’t filed a complaint for defamation of character if the charges are false, Martinelli said he’d been instructed by his bishop in Como as well as the diocese’s Vicar General to wait, and also not to discuss the case with anyone other than his parents and his superiors.
On Wednesday the court set dates for three future hearings, including testimony from the accuser on March 17-18 as well as a visit to the pre-seminary by court members.
No matter what happens, this trial is a high-risk, high-reward proposition for the Vatican and Pope Francis.
The risk is that it may conclude abuse happened right under the pope’s nose (in this case, Pope Benedict XVI), at a time when supposed reforms to combat such abuse in the Church were already well underway. It’s also already confirmed that nasty ideological battles over Vatican II are still being waged more than 50 years after it closed, often among current and aspiring priests who weren’t even alive while Vatican II actually was in session.
The Vatican is usually loath to air its dirty laundry in public, but here the decision seems to be to let it all hang out.
The reward, of course, is that Francis and the Vatican will get tremendous credit for transparency should this trial, at the end, be perceived as thorough and fair, and the verdict as reasonable under the circumstances.
In other words, it’s a pay now and claim your purchase later sort of deal, with the value of the purchase depending heavily on the integrity of the process. For that reason, the next three hearings in the case will be closely watched – including, one assumes, by the pontiff himself, who won’t be in the room, but who nevertheless has almost as much riding on the result as the accused and the accusers themselves.
Follow John Allen on Twitter at @JohnLAllenJr.
We have known that both paedophilia and homosexuality are alive within the walls of the Vatican.
This new case is about underage boys and is therefore about paedophilia.
Are there a division in paedophilia?
Are paedophiles who are attracted to boys homosexual paedophiles?
Are paedophiles who are attracted to girls heterosexual paedophiles?
Are paedophiles who are attracted to boys and girls bisexual paedophiles?
What terms should we use?
PAT’S SERMON. 14.2.21
I’m listening to The bishopbuckleyspodcast | PAT’S SERMON Feb 14, 2021 on Podbean, check it out! https://www.podbean.com/ea/pb-q7keb-faa99a
77 replies on “ABUSE CASE AT VATICAN PRE SEMINARY – THE RISKS – THE REWARDS OF TRANSPARENCY.”
Last night someone used Father Stephen D saying Holy Spirit when Father Stephen Dunn is a Tridentine Holy Mass Priest so he would use Holy Ghost so stop now as he will never use this blog and Pat Buckley knows this too well.
Glasgow’s Bella infactuation or stalking Jim S who has not been on this blog for over two months as we speak daily on Zoom but it must give Bella great thrills thinkin about Jim S 🙂 🙂 :).
Holy Mass will be offered for your all.and remember Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and for True Catholics the beginning of Lent.
This illiterate rambling indicates current level of priestly abilities. But no matter, they can still manage the transubstantiation trick, …….and all their other cons.
10:36 am — Inabilities would be more fitting 🤣
10.36..Awwwwwww, awwwwww, you nasty little hater. God bless your horrible mind and heart….
Good morning Father @ 12=23am.
The suggestion that bishops are chosen by the Holy Spirit is laughable. Many appointments are made out of favouritism, out of politics or out of strategy.
If the poor old Holy Spirit/Ghost, a wee nod to Dancer D, is involved then he got it very badly wrong with many appointments worldwide and even locally with the likes of KO’B, Kieran Conroy, Eamon Casey etc etc.
Cushley for Glasgow!
Jesus, not another day of shite from the Glasgow clergy queens bitching. Plus we have the obsessive Fr Peter stalker, please Lord give us strength.
+ Cushley always reminds me of an older and even camper version of Andy Bell, lead singer from the 1980s synth-pop group Erasure 😂
Without the gogs I suppose. I guess there are other similarities too.
@ 1045 – I’ll have you know I’m not an obsessive or a stalker, I just have a thing about little Fr Peter. He’s so cute and dinky and pristine, I could crush him with a lovely hug once Covid is over. So, if I say that the people of Wandsworth are lucky to have him, it is a compliment to him. Why should that be considered stalker behaviour, I ask you ? I mean + Pat is always going on about + Amy and + Vinny and others, and he’s not a stalker in your book, is he ? And you are on here looking for little titbits, it seems. So what does that make you ? Keep your value judgements to yourself, and let the rest of us get on with what interests us. Oh, I do so love Peter’s sermons. So clear, precise, fluent and orthodox. Are yours like that, Father @1045 ?
We all know who used Fr. Dunn’s name it was The Auld Gossip Mother Teresa aka Jim S and many more names. But you can spot her a mile off with her constant use of the word sadly and telling everyone to write to Papal Nuncio’s etc. As for her saying she’s not been on this blog for over two months what a liar and nobody gets a thrill when thinking of Jim S only a great laugh. She always resorts to her faux piety which is quite sickening since it’s so false just like her LOL
Not forgetting her inappropriate use of capital letters and generally sub-standard writing – a real giveaway.
12.59 and 3.53
Everyone spots how you state something then wait couple of hours then reply to your original post.
Two peas in a pod you and Magna AKA Polly and Bella.
think of the Beatitudes and try and practice them for once in your life or does SSPX not teach them.
Father Peter Littleton has been reassigned and is to become Priest in charge of St Thomas a Becket Church in Wandsworth.
Oooohhh, lucky people of Wandsworth !
Auld Gossip Alert@5:31pm
Get a grip Mother, there are many more than me who reply to your illiterate posts. What would you know about The Beatitudes unless you’d googled them, you’ve certainly never practiced them. Sadly you’re such an evil auld bitch, so sad.
Bella Maybe if you were a true romanist catholic and not in the SSPX (pleading with the CDF) you should try and read today’s Gospel Mark 1:4-45
Just Saying Bella 😉 🙂 🙂
Something not exactly right here. I sniff something is up: “It is eighteen months since Archbishop John Wilson was appointed to Southwark and in the coming months we can expect quite a number of personnel changes across the Archdiocese. I am in the process of being reassigned to a different parish and as from this coming week I will be going on a few months sabbatical since I have not had a sabbatical for more than twenty years. From 22nd February the parish will be looked after by Father Peter Littleton and he will reside in the presbytery until a permanent appointment can be made. I have certainly enjoyed my three and a half years ministry here at St Thomas à Becket and I will miss you all. Many thanks for your kindness and cooperation.” Why would a guy be going on sabbatical now ? You can’t go anywhere ! And Littleton looks like he is holding the fort, until a more permanent assignment is made. Will that be him ? Something’s going on, reading between the lines.
The guy is a religious, so his order might need him elsewhere.
What layperson ever gets a sabbatical, even after 40 years working, never mind 20 years?
Yeah, I thought that when I read it. Another clerical expectation of entitlement – sabbaticals. I never got a sabbatical in 35 years of my professional work. Occasionally I got a study day or inservice training, but it was still work and I had to turn up and do it. Nothing like swanning off to the sun for 4, 6 or 12 months to find myself and unwind between jobs / appointments ! Anyhow, from the picture on the parish website this sabbatical priest looks as though he could use it to lose some of the lard he is carrying. I know, I know……it could be genetic ! So they say !
“…in the coming months we can expect quite a number of personnel changes across the Archdiocese.” Oh dear, is Wilson of Southwark going to make it The Cruel See ? Looks like he’s getting ready to put in the boot and shake everybody up. I always thought he looked like a bit of a bruiser. It could be a bit of rocky time in Southwark, boys…. !
Auld Gossip Alert@ 8:05pm
Teresa I’m surprised you could read today’s Gospel since we all know you’re illiterate. Is English your first language? It certainly doesn’t look like it. Just saying Teresa,Glasgow Priest,Jim S,Auld Mother or whatever your calling yourself today.
‘Heterosexual paedophiles’, ‘homosexual paedophiles’: these are accurate, non-discriminatory terms.
I believe a paedophile is a paedophile, simple as that. Normal human sexuallity, be it gay, straight or bisexual is what it is: gay, straight or bisexual.
A person who chooses to inflict suffering or pain onto children or animals is clearly quite unwell, full stop; but to do it for sexual gratification is even more the worse.
Psychologists say they choose children or vulnerable persons because it is about control – they want to control their victims. sometimes they just like to “play” God.
You could describe it a bit like a surgeon who has had a person’s life in their “hands.”
That surgeon moves to a different job; however, they need to have full and utter control over another person’s life, almost like a drug, even to the point of destroying that person into oblivion.
They say it takes a psychopath to become a brilliant surgeon. Do they not…?
I prefer the term ‘kiddie-fiddler’. It nuances this perversion nicely, and it brings out the users contempt for these individuals.
Most kiddie-fiddlers today seem to be RC priests, surely an incontrovertible sign that there is something gravely remiss in this institution.
4 – 6 % of priests are paedophiles. 94% are not.
4%-6% of these are KNOWN to be paedophiles. That is merely the tip of the iceberg: these are the ones we know of, the ones that were caught. How many were not caught?
Not all paedophiles overstep a legal boundary, but they are still paedophiles.
It’s still extreme to say most paedophiles are priests.
An excellent point @ 10:30. We know from evidence of how long, often years, it can be for the victim to speak out, when this is considered with knowledge of how utterly devious abusers are in selecting, grooming and disempowering their victims, it’s not surprising that “figures” are low.
Yes, Pat. In other words if there are 5,000 priests in Ireland about 150 are pedophiles. If there are 50,000 doctors, police, farmers, about 1,500 are pedophiles. With a population of around 6 million on the island of Ireland that means about 180,000 are pedophiles (of which 150 are clerics). It helps to have a sense of perspective. Cag na Márta’s point about known instances applies proportionately here too.
I believe it is the culture of silence and the three monkies reaction to abuse within the Roman institution. Plus the fact Roman Bishops will defend sexual predators til the cows come home–thry will literally spend thousands and thousands defending paedophiles and other types of abusers.
Yes, but the 94 % are all fucked up in themselves with their repressed sexual frustrations and odd lifestyle. I’ve never really me a ‘normal’ priest who behaves like the rest of us.
How many doctors, police officers, farmers, etc do we regularly hear of for their kiddie-fiddling?
By contrast, how many RC priests do we hear of for THEIR kiddie-fiddling?
SUBSTANTIALLY MORE. Which means that the incidence of kiddie-fiddling by RC priests is statistically higher than that in other social categories.
This is partly explained by the fact that RC priest-perverts had far greater psychological control over the children they raped or sodomised because they were priests, God’s so-called ‘anointed and appointed’, and, therefore, naturally commanded greater loyalty and silence from the victims of these criminal cowards.
There is, obviously, something innately wrong and rotten about RC priesthood. That you have defended this base institution does not surprise me in the least. Are you a paedophile, ‘Father’? Maybe an inactive one?
10.19: Kiddie fiddler as used by MC is an abusive term and diminishes the hurt, devastation, pain, trauma and anger of victims/survivors. He should know the impact of abuse as he told us of his experience. I know about the effects of teenage abuse. Pat knows about abuse. Trying to appear funny and smart and dare I say, witty or comedic, is morally and spiritually reprehensible. MC, grow up: being a “kiddle fiddler” and a psychopathic paedophile are not the same. You disgrace yourself in an uglier way each day. Horrible human being.
You have absolutely no idea why I use the term ‘kiddie-fiddler’, so you decided to make up reasons, the more untruthful, and disparaging of me, the better for your bruised ego, ‘Father’.
You are the priest, aren’t you, who has admitted, more than once on this blog, that he was sexually abused as a teenager while working on a farm?
You have your way of coping with this criminality; I have mine. I am not arrogant enough, not presumptuous enough, to tell YOU how to cope with what happened to you, but you, on the other hand, presume not only tell me what I may or may not say about these criminal perverts, but you lie about my reasons for my coping strategem. (‘Lie’, because you couldn’t possibly know.)
When I describe these criminal perverts and sadists as ‘kiddie-fiddlers’, then it is THEY who are diminished in my eyes, not me. And if the term sounds comedic, to you, then satirising these sick freaks is MY way of triumphing over their tyranny.
Do not presume to lecture me, ‘Father’, on how I must cope. And do not presume to know my mind, and my reasons for acting as I do.
Very well said and convincingly argued.
Father and everyone else here is quite entitled to lecture you as much as they wish, on any subject they deem appropriate and repeating their invective as often as the choose on the basis of what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander ad nauseam. And on that basis you have much more coming to you.
Quite a few regulars of the blog who I’m in touch with offline have abandonded the blog in the last few weeks. The only reason being that Pat has allowed MC to infiltrate the blog again and continue his abuse. The prime example today is the abusiveness caused by IT and the subsequent nasty tit for tat commentators. Over the last week the majority of comments each day have been nasty and rarely deal with the topic and we know why and who from.
The commentor above is a priest who doesn’t want to hear a narrative about the Church contrary to the one he is comfortable with, and with which his church was comfortable for generations; the innocents suffered as a result. None of these could, of course, have cared less about the innocents; the wicked never do.
And they still don’t, including the commentor above.
This seminary was/is a boarding school?
I hate boarding schools. Somewhere along the line here, a hormone-gorged older boy will prey on a younger child. This appears to have happened in that Vatican seminary school.
I recall a similar incident in Campbell College, Belfast. A 13 year old boy there sexually preyed on much younger boys (around 9 years of age), causing at least one of them very serious psychological problems.
And Campbell College is not Catholic.
It is catholic but not Roman Catholic.
How is that relevant?
It’s Presbyterian (clue is in the Planter name).
And how is THAT relevant?
Wikipedia says liberal Protestant.
Fairplay to Eugene Sweeney for calling on the immediate removal of Stephen Wilson from Seminary.
1.25 Doesn’t know the difference between calling on and calling for and between truth and lies.
1:25, where did he say this?
Fill us in?
I’m not sure of the ‘correct’ terms but have read that it’s not unusual for a paedophile’s orientation towards children to be different from that towards adults. For example an apparently happily married man who likes little boys. I don’t know the stats about this either but know that Kinsey found life-long hetero- or homosexual orientation to be relatively rare and the majority to be at various points between these two extremes.
I’m very confused by the tendency towards non-binary and understand the wish to remove gender but find it difficult to see a difference in practice between bisexual and pansexual.
Oh, if anyone understands asexual and demisexual I would be glad to hear about it.
Bisexual is drawn initially by physical attraction; pansexual by personhood, male or female.
A paedophile is a paedophile. It does not matter if he or she prefers boys, girls or both.
But the word paedophile alone is not specific. It does not tell to which sex a paedo is attracted. Therefore the word needs to be qualified with either heterosexual or homosexual.
We’re are about the same age. Have you had your first Covid-19 vaccination, Bp Pat? I had mine on Thursday in Scotland.
I had mine on 3rd Feb. Follow up Aoril 14.
You’d still be waiting if you were in the Free State or anywhere else still under the dead hand of Brussels.
Your right there, vaccine rollout here a disaster, customs a disaster, banana republic.
@ 3:11 – I suggest you wait a little while before doing down Brussels. Covid disruption has been a God send to the UK Government, covering up the chaotically disastrous Brexit deal that they signed. They signed it in a rush to fulfil the date Boris Bear set, and he couldn’t have cared about the detail, as long as he hit the date. But, the consequences of Brexit as it stands are still fully to be recognised. It is going to hit just as soon as Covid is bypassed. My own hope is the UK goes down the tubes fairly quickly, teaching us a lesson, and then maybe, just maybe, we might go back in a chastened mood and rejoin the EU under some new agreement, that won’t necessarily be to our liking but will be all we deserve after our fucked up national psychotic breakdown. Never mind about supermarket shelves in NI, have you seen the gaps in UK shelves ? It won’t be long until large manufacturers / producers move their business away from the UK to Europe. We will just become an offshore incidental market that really counts for very little. And all because of the stupid, idiotic, fat, lardy, lazy, xenophobic British who think we can return to the sunlit uplands !
Oh,dear! Is your paranoia still untreated? 🤔
2.54: You are so lucky. A southerner receiving the vaccine in the North. Well done. Our government is disastrous.
I’m 43 years in the North this year.
As usual, discussion of Glasgow missing the key point. Hugh Gilbert will be assigned.
Hugh Gilbert will be 69 in March.
Leo Cushley will go to Glasgow and be Scotland’s Cardinal.
The outsider getting mentioned is Bill Nolan.
You need to increase your knowledge. Many archbishops have been appointed when 70 plus. I can assure you that Hugh Gilbert will be on his way to Glasgow.
Hugh Gilbert is English will the Archdioceses of Glasgow folk like that being an SNP Country.
It maybe European but it is certainly anti English.
Nicola is even stopping breaks in the UK shocking indeed.
Cardinal Annie Walker? Has a certain ring to it.
Why it will not be Hugh Gilbert as he only has OSB.
Q. Is there a lower age limit to be considered for the office of Archbishop?
A. The Code of Canon Law sets the minimum age as 35,
but it would be extremely rare for a bishop to be appointed
at such a young age. Canon 378 states that to be a suitable
candidate for the episcopate, a priest must:
1° be outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety,
zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues, and
possess those other gifts which equip him to fulfil the office in question;
2° be held in good esteem;
3° be at least 35 years old;
4° be a priest ordained for at least five years;
5° hold a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred Scripture, theology or canon law, from an institute of higher
studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least be well
versed in these disciplines.
Exactly age won’t always define an appointment. Cardinal Bracos became Archbishop of Santiago at 73 after Pope Francis pushed out the 75 year old that was in place due to incompetence. Sometimes it’s about the right man for the job….
‘Catholic’ and ‘Roman Catholic’ have two different meanings; the first means to be a member of the universal body of Christ, usually within the Latin Western tradition; the second, to belong to a Roman institution which highjacked Western Christianity during and around the fourth Century A.D.
3:58 Surely you mean during the Fifth Century. The split with Oriental Orthodoxy happened at Chalcedon. But research was never an issue for you.
Secondly, your boundary drawing is incorrect. The adjective ‘catholic’ refers to the universal church so your ‘usually within the Latin Western (sic) tradition’ is bunkum.
Agreement on one holy, catholic and apostolic was part of the contribution of I Constantinople to the Nicean-Constantinopolitan creed of the universal church.
3.58 gets theology and ecclesiastical history from Wiki alert.
Thank you your clarification, which was wholly unnecessary. We all know the distinction between these ideas. There is no need for you to presume superior knowledge. Indeed, it is distasteful. Please refrain from such arrogance.
Bishop Pat it would be constructive if a future blog address the difference between a paedophile and a sex offender. There appears to be a certain amount of ignorance on the difference.
Here’s the thing – the child abuse by RC priests is much much worse than by others, because other bodies don’t claim to be the divinely founded channel of salvation for the world.
It is also not comparable to, say, mistakes made by social workers because they don’t get shuffled on to another assignment and for the above reason.
I am personally very pleased that the crowd who scream abuse at Magna Carta have gone. For one thing his behaviour is improved from before his ban and…. abuse is always abuse.
The fact that the cathbots who refuse to acknowledge their position of privilege have supposedly gone, stands for an opportunity for those damaged by their church to have a sensible discussion.
Incidentally, a propos the Catholic/RC thing I used to be against gay marriage but am now for it having seen their behaviour on here. Marriage and the word Catholic should both be taken out of their hands permanently. The residents of Ireland have seen what a country is like where the so called Catholics call the shots – it is violent and bigoted.
I phrase this as kindly as I can and hope they can gain some insight into themselves.