Skip to comments.Vatican official steps down after stirring debate on French immigration policy
Posted on 09/01/2010 3:33:00 PM PDT by markomalley
A Vatican official who had strongly denounced the French governments campaign to expel illegal Gypsy residents has resigned.
Archbishop Agostino Marchetto stepped down from his post as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants, just a few days after he had charged that the French government was violating human rights with its crackdown on illegal Gypsy immigrants.
Vatican official denied that the archbishops resignation was a result of the recent controversy. Father Ciro Benedettini, the deputy director of the Vatican press office, said that the Italian archbishop had begun planning his retirement a while ago, because of his advancing age.
Archbishop Marchetto is 70 years old: 5 years short of the normative retirement age for bishops. He has served as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants since November 2001.
The protests that greeted Archbishop Marchetto's criticism of French policies were exacerbated by one clear misinterpretation of his words. Some angry protesters said that the archbishop had compared the French immigration crackdown to Nazi racial policies. In fact, in calling for compassion for the Roma people, the archbishop had made the factual observation that Gypsies, like European Jews, were targeted for extinction by Hitler's regime.
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The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, an outspoken proponent for the rights of people "on the move," has retired. Having celebrated his 70th birthday on Saturday, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto was eligible for an "early" exit.
Archbishop Marchetto, known for his vocal critiques of world governments which "criminalize" immigrants, took advantage of the Vatican norm which allows retirement for members of the the diplomatic corps at 70 years old. Although it has not yet been announced officially, the news is public knowledge around the Vatican.
Vatican officials normally retire upon completion of their 75th year, but, as he told SIR news, the decision was made a year ago when he submitted his resignation papers anticipating last week's birthday.
He said that he felt it was a "reasonable" request considering the 20 years he spent in Africa, during which time he came down with a serious illness.
Archbishop Marchetto was the Apostolic Nuncio to Madagascar and Mauritius, then, later to Tanzania. He also carried out the same service in Belarus and worked in the Holy See's secretariat of state before becoming the secretary of the council for migrants.
Thanking the Pope for accepting his resignation, Archbishop Marchetto said he is "pleased" to be able to now devote his energies to studying the Second Vatican Council, "a subject I love and that is so important for the Church."
Vatican sources close to the archbishop told EWTN News that he always saw issues in black and white. Unafraid to speak out against what he saw as injustice, he approached the position in an "upright" manner and with a true attitude of service to the Church.
Again, why would resignation papers be accepted 5 years before normal episcopal resignation age? Could he be a bit too "progressive" for the current Holy Father?
Should have been a caucus thread.
He’s an idiot leftist and I think the Pope is finally moving on these people. The Vatican was heavily left wing but over the last few years, BXVI has gone slowly but surely changing people and he may have reached the tipping point where he is in control.
This has nothing to do with either Gysies or immigration. These people were mostly Balkan Gypsies, many of them Muslims, who were simply along for the ride and had hooked up with local politically connected “immigrant” groups.
I was in Spain once when a bunch of Romanian gypsies (actually, they weren’t necessarily from Romania - they were mostly from the Balkans, but the Spanish referred to them as Romanians) came into a church just before Mass and started ripping the handbags off the shoulders of the women there. The sacristan and some of the men in the congregation ran to the back of the church and drove them out, and one of the gypsies turned around and yelled “racistas.”
Racists. In truth, it was so funny everybody in church started laughing.