The inspection took place between October 29 and November 6 and was not free from controversy, including the fact that, according to the 1990 constitution, nuns are not allowed to have conversations without being accompanied. from another sister. As Elizalde was there to try to determine if there were undue psychological influences exerted by the prioress, it was agreed that only one sister would be in the room, but the interviews were filmed.
The complaint says that during the first three meetings with the papal envoy, they suffered “verbal abuse” and accuses Elizalde of having acted “in a bad way” and without “objectivity”.
Yet the complaint fails to mention Guiroy in order to press for gender-based violence, the defense argues.
A transfer prevented
The spark that ignited the fire, however, broke on April 7, when Carganello appeared in the convent accompanied by Spaniard Loyola Pinto y de Sancristóval, ecclesiastical judge of the Archdiocese of Salta. They requested that Sister María Magdalena be allowed to visit the offices of the archdiocese to meet the prelate with a witness, with the aim of analyzing the transfer of the sister to a convent in Mendoza.
The Argentinian Daily the Nation reconstructs that, according to ecclesiastical court records, Cargnello had received two letters during the summer in which the nun asked him to facilitate his transfer to a cloister close to his family and according to the less strict rules of 1991.
But the prioress did not authorize this departure, arguing that Marie-Madeleine was not well: she said that, in any case, the interview had to take place at the convent so as not to infringe the rule of closure.
Three days later, the archbishop telephoned the convent, announcing that they and Elizalde would be going to the convent on April 11. On this date, the prioress refused to receive them, claiming to be ill. The following day, the 18 nuns, including the sister who requested to return to her home country, presented the allegation against the two bishops.
Argentina’s “Medjugorje” at the center of the conflict
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flock to Bosnia and Herzegovina every year to visit Medjugorje, a small town where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a group of six seers decades ago. Although the Vatican seems to be taking a more positive attitude towards this shrine, it continues to be officially unrecognized by the Church.
The situation in Salta is relatively new compared to Medjugorje, but is no different. In the case of Argentina, it is claimed that the Virgin, under the title of “Immaculate Mother of the Divine Eucharistic Heart of Christ”, appeared to Maria Livia Galliano de Obeid, known as “Maria Livia”.
Every Saturday, with the exception of two months during the summer, Maria Livia leads an “intercessory prayer” on the top of a hill, considered a “sanctuary”. There is a small chapel at the top of the hill, where the image of the Virgin is in the center, and where pilgrims have left thousands of rosaries.
Since the mid-1990s, the nuns have maintained a close relationship with Maria Livia Galliano and her family and with devotion to the “Madonna del Cerro”. They are founding members of the two institutions which administer and organize related activities, and they are named in the deed of ownership of the land where the apparitions are said to have taken place, which was given to Galliano by the owner at the time. .
The alleged appearances began just as Cargnello arrived in Salta. The archdiocese has criticized the nuns for not conforming to the charism of the Carmelites and for associating themselves so closely with a visionary whose claims have not been accepted by the Vatican.
The archdiocese maintains that the alleged visionary acts as if she were the superior and that the nuns believe absolutely everything Galliano says without question.
The denial of the defense
Although the two bishops and the priest named in the complaint remained silent, the communications office of the Archdiocese of Salta issued a statement on Wednesday, saying that the Vatican embassy in Argentina had informed both the archbishop and the Carmelite Sisters of the Decree of Completion. of the apostolic visitation.
Dated March 30, the decree stipulates that the visit “was carried out in an adequate, correct and competent manner, and that the Visitors have exhaustively fulfilled the mission entrusted to them”.
The statement also shares guidance issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for Religious Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
The congregation reminded the nuns that although they enjoy autonomy, they are always “under the tutelage of the diocesan bishop whose authority and action are established by law.” They are also asked not to involve themselves in apostolic activities such as those arising from the alleged Marian apparition until “the local bishop or the competent Congregation of the Apostolic See discerns the veracity of them and authorizes the practices of worship in this context”.
After reminding them that their religious community “is bound to strictly respect” the norms, including the monastic enclosure, an objection is raised against the involvement of the monastery in an initiative which goes “against the will of the bishop and priests of the diocese, leading to a division of the local church community and to conflicts”.
“The monastery, allowing the ‘seer’, Mrs. Maria Livia Galiano de Obeid, to live in her own premises and allocating spaces for pilgrims close to this context, is clearly fully involved in this work, against the will of the local church,” warns the Vatican decree.
“It is necessary to strongly emphasize that the community of Discalced Carmelites in Salta must live the Carmelite charism to the full, and not work that consequently leads to situations of tension,” the decree says. “For this reason, it is also recommended a renewed formation in the spirit of the Rule and according to the Carmelite tradition, observing its own tradition of monastic life. In dialogue with the local bishop, a stable form of regular meetings should be instituted, which would serve to deal with problematic situations on an ongoing basis.
The Archbishop is expected to testify in the case on May 3.
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