France calls on Vatican to take action against envoy after sex abuse charges
Paris has urged the Vatican to lift the diplomatic immunity of the papal envoy, Luigi Ventura, after sex abuse charges were filed against him.
Nuncio Luigi Ventura, 74, was investigated in February for allegedly molesting officials at the Paris mayor’s office. He is also being investigated for alleged sexual assault in Canada where he served as envoy from 2001 to 2009.
The French European Minister Nathalie Loiseau says she is waiting for the Holy See to “assume its responsibilities” when asked if Ventura’s diplomatic immunity would be lifted.
At present, his immunity remains, but “the Holy See obviously knows about the serious charges against the nuncio, and I have no doubt the Vatican will make the right decision”, said the minister.
Assault in Paris
On 17 January, while Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was giving a New Year’s address to diplomats, religious leaders and civil society figures, Ventura allegedly molested a man at the town hall.
“During the ceremony, a city employee was repeatedly groped on the backside, in three instances, once in front of a witness,” a source from city hall told AFP.
A year before that, a similar complaint was filed by a former Paris town hall staff member.
Envoy in Canada
The Canadian religious-news website, Presence, noted one complaint filed against Ventura.
He allegedly groped a man in 2008 at the shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre in the province of Quebec.
The alleged victim, 32 at the time, filed his complaint last week at the Vatican embassy in the Canadian capital after learning about the accusations filed against Ventura in France.
Ventura also served in Brazil, Bolivia and Britain before being appointed papal nuncio to Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chile and then Canada.
Pope Francis taking action
As more victims both within and outside the church bring forward their complaints against members of the clergy, the Catholic Church has been forced to deal with the allegations.
Complaints have been coming in from continent to continent, with people looking to the Vatican to finally take a stand on the often hushed topic.
Pope Francis has vowed that the church will no longer ignore such abuse allegations, and already two prominent cardinals were removed from his inner circle last year after scandals of paedophilia emerged.