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Luigi Ventura (born 9 December 1944) is an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church who has been apostolic nuncio to France since 2009. He is under investigation by French authorities for sexual crimes since January 2019.[1]

Styles of
Luigi Ventura
Coat of arms of Luigi Ventura.svg
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop
Posthumous stylenot applicable

BiographyEdit

Ventura was born on 9 December 1944 in Borgosatollo, Italy. He was ordained a priest on 14 June 1969 for the Diocese of Brescia. He joined the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1978 after attending the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. He earned a doctor of letters and holds a licentiate in canon law.

His assignments from 1978 to 1984 were in Brazil, Bolivia and the United Kingdom. He then worked in Rome with the Section for Relations with States at the Secretariat of State until 1995.

On 25 March 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him titular archbishop of Equilium and apostolic nuncio to the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger. He was consecrated a bishop on 29 April 1995 by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State. He was made nuncio to Chile in 1999.

On 22 June 2001, John Paul named him apostolic nuncio to Canada.[2][3]

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him apostolic nuncio to France on 22 September 2009,[4] replacing Fortunato Baldelli who had been appointed as Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

On 15 February 2019, Le Monde reported that a young male employed by the office of the mayor of Paris had filed a complaint for sexual assault against Ventura and that authorities had launched a formal inquiry in January.[5][6][7] The city employee, Mathieu de La Souchère, and two other accusers using aliases, have asked French officials to ask the Vatican to waive Ventura's diplomatic immunity.[8] French European Minister Nathalie Loiseau said she expects the Vatican to allow Ventura to be tried.[9]

On 22 February a Canadian man, Christian Vachon, charged Ventura had touched him improperly in July 2008 when he was 32.[10][11] Vachon said Ventura's successor as Nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, called him the day he registered his complaint to discuss it.[12]

Ventura allowed himself to be questioned by French police in April. At his own request, Ventura met with his four accusers on 22-23 May and denied their charges. The accusers's attorneys were not allowed to ask him questions.[13] On 8 July a Vatican spokesperson told reporters that the Holy See had informed French authorities a week earlier that it was waiving Ventura's diplomatic immunity. He called it "an extraordinary gesture" [14]

He speaks Italian, French, Spanish and English.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Vandoorne, Saskya (15 February 2019). "Vatican envoy to France under investigation for sexual assault". CNN. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  2. ^ "The Vatican's man in Canada". National Post. Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 22.06.2001" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 22 June 2001.
  4. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 22.09.2009" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 22 September 2009.
  5. ^ "L'« ambassadeur » du pape en France, Luigi Ventura, visé par une enquête pour « agressions sexuelles »". Le Monde (in French). 15 February 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  6. ^ Vaillant, Gauthier (15 February 2019). "Le nonce apostolique en France visé par une enquête pour agressions sexuelles". La Croix (in French). Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  7. ^ Joahny, Stéphane (17 February 2019). "Soupçons d'agression sexuelle : le cas Ventura met le Vatican dans l'embarras". Journal de Dimanche (in French). Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Emmanuel Macron, levez l'immunité diplomatique du nonce apostolique!". La Libération (in French). 28 February 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  9. ^ "France calls on Vatican to take action against envoy after sex abuse charges". RFI. 1 March 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  10. ^ Vaillancourt, Philippe (26 February 2019). "Première plainte d'inconduite sexuelle au Canada contre l'ancien nonce". Présence (in French). Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  11. ^ "French nuncio accused of sexual misconduct during time in Canada". Catholic News Agency. 1 March 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  12. ^ Vaillancourt, Philippe (28 February 2019). "Vatican embassy confirms complaint of sexual misconduct against ex-nuncio". Crux. Catholic News Service. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  13. ^ Houdaille, Clémence (23 May 2019). "Confronté à ses accusateurs, le nonce apostolique nie toute agression sexuelle". La Croix (in French). Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Holy See waives diplomatic immunity for accused nuncio to France". Catholic News Agency. 8 July 2019. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Piero Biggio
Apostolic Nuncio to Chile
25 March 1999 – 22 June 2001
Succeeded by
Aldo Cavalli
Preceded by
Paolo Romeo
Apostolic Nuncio to Canada
22 June 2001 – 22 September 2009
Succeeded by
Pedro Lopez Quintana
Preceded by
Fortunato Baldelli
Apostolic Nuncio to France
22 September 2009 – present
Succeeded by
incumbent