THE Vatican’s third most powerful prelate, Archbishop Peña Parra – pictured above with Pope Francis – was never subjected to an ‘open and thorough investigation’ for ‘troubling accusations’ of sex abuse that date back decades.
The accusations even suggest that he and another Catholic priest had been implicated in the death of two people in Venezuela but never faced prosecution.
The accusation was made this week by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former papal ambassador to the US. Viganò said the high-ranking prelate was not investigated despite the existence of what he calls a “terrifying dossier” sent to Pope Francis that gives names and dates regarding his alleged misbehaviour.
Viganò, pictured above with the Pope in the Vatican in August, 2018, told the Washington Post in an unpublished section of an interview that was recently obtained and published by LifeSiteNews that Pope Francis “essentially ignored” the dossier while appointing the Venezuelan to a top position in the Vatican.
Viganò states that one accusation, involving Peña Parra seducing two candidates for a seminary in 1990, was reported by the alleged victims’ parents to the police, and the veracity of the accusations were confirmed in writing to the Secretariat of State by both the rector of the major seminary and by seminary’s spiritual director.
Viganò told the Post that “I have seen these documents with my own eyes,” and that the documentation as well as that pertaining to other accusations should still be on file in the Holy See:
If it has not been destroyed.
Parra, who was installed in October of last year as the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, the second in charge of the most influential Vatican dicastery, has been under a cloud of suspicion following reports in the Italian media in 2018 of an investigation made by his bishop in the 1980s regarding accusations of homosexuality made against him anonymously.
However, the accusations mentioned by Archbishop Viganò are far more serious, including sexual predation against seminarians, adultery, and even a deadly sex game. He asserted:
This might even be a scandal surpassing that of McCarrick, and it must not be allowed to be covered by silence
LifeSiteNews reached out to Archbishop Peña Parra for comment but did not receive a reply.
According to reports in the Italian media, in 1985 a letter was sent from Parra’s then-bishop mentioning anonymous accusations of homosexuality against him as a seminarian, and calling him a “sexually sick person.”Viganò also says that the Vatican has, for decades, been in possession of much more damning accusations against Parra, information which has never been revealed publicly.
In addition, Viganò claims that a journalist from Maracaibo, Gastón Guisandes López, made “serious accusations” implicating Parra and other priests of the diocese in the sex abuse of minors and other “possibly criminal” acts, in 2000.
He says that the following year, Guisandes López went to the apostolic nuncio in Venezuela, Archbishop André Dupuy, and although the nuncio refused to receive the journalist, he reported to Rome that he had made hair-raising accusations against Peña Parra, accusations that were partially confirmed by a diocesan official.
The nuncio reported that Parra was accused of seducing two students from the minor seminary (a high school that prepares students to study for the priesthood), in September of 1990. The accusation included the specific location of the sexual abuse, which was a parish church led by a friend of Peña Parra’s, Fr José Severeyn. Viganò says that the abuse was reported to the police and confirmed by the seminary rector, Enrique Pérez, to the Secretariat of State.
Even more horrifying was a second accusation reported by the apostolic nuncio, who says that Parra and Severeyn were vacationing on an island together in Lake Maracaibo when they were involved in the death of two people who were killed by electrical shock. The Maracaibo dossier also mentions this accusation, and adds that:
The two corpses were found naked, with evidence of macabre homosexual lewd encounters.
Although the accusations were “grave,” said Viganò:
Not only was Peña Parra not required to face them, he was allowed to continue in the diplomatic service of the Holy See.
Viganò regards Cardinal Parolin as particularly culpable in the matter, given his earlier assignment as Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela.
Particularly egregious is the behavior of Cardinal Parolin who, as Secretary of State, did not oppose the recent appointment of Peña Parra as Substitute, making him his closest collaborator. Even more: years earlier, in January 2011, as apostolic nuncio in Caracas, Parolin did not oppose the appointment of Peña Parra as archbishop and apostolic nuncio to Pakistan. Before such important appointments, a rigorous informative process is made to verify the suitability of the candidate, so these accusations were surely brought to the attention of Cardinal Parolin.
Viganò adds that:
Cardinal Parolin knows the names of a number of priests in the Curia who are sexually unchaste, violating the laws of God that they solemnly committed themselves to teach and practice, and he continues to look the other way.
He regards Pope Francis’ as having even more “grave” responsibility, for:
Having chosen for an extremely important position in the Church a man accused of such serious crimes, without first insisting on an open and thorough investigation.