A case unlike any other in the history of the Italian Church. The former bishop of Trapani, Monsignor Francesco Miccichè, was denounced for defamation and violation of the privacy on a case of investigations of a prelate, Bishop of Mazara del Vallo (Trapani) Domenico Mogavero. The weekly magazine Panorama revealed this. In order to clarify the facts and resolve the dispute, the Pontiff will now have to appoint a panel of judges (a kind of grand jury) choosing three bishops or cardinals.
The complaint refers to the Code of Canon Law, which classifies crimes in six different categories, according to what is offended. The first group are the offenses against religion and the unity of the Church (canons 1364-1369) as heresy, apostasy, schism, and sacrilege against the sacred species, perjury, some types of blasphemy, injury assault, and defamation of the Church. Then there are the crimes against Church authorities and freedom of the Church (canons 1370-1377) as: physical violence against Pope, bishops, clergymen, and religious people; pertinacious doctrinal deviation or disobedience to ecclesiastical authorities; recourses to the Ecumenical Council against acts of the Roman Pontiff; membership of associations plotting against the Church; violation of freedom of the Church; sacrilege.
Another category includes usurpation of ecclesiastical offices and their exercise (canons 1378-1389) as: celebration of sacraments (or simulated for simony), consecration of bishops without a mandate of the Holy See, sacred ordination administered in violation of canonical prescriptions, violation of the sacramental seal, active and passive corruption and acting differently to the duties of office, abuse of office generic. Then it covers the crimes of falsehood (canons 1390-1391) such as libel, defamation, falsehood in documents; in this case, canon 1455 on secrecy is recalled. The college will have to speak on these matters.
In 2011, Mogavero was sent to the diocese of Trapani for an apostolic visit in order to investigate on more than one million euro missing. A few months later, the bishop Miccichè was removed on the orders of Pope Benedict XVI, this was reported by Mogavero. Panorama reports that Miccichè – who has always proclaimed his innocence and was received by Bergoglio on January 26th – reproaches Mogavero because he never listened to him, but defamed, and in addition, he would have disclosed the contents of the secret report delivered to the Pope.
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa