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Actualizado: 7 mar

Jacques Pintor, a registered journalist
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The Pope acted at Omella's particular request and followed Arana's suggestion against Opus Dei

In the Gaztelueta case Pope Francis acted at cardinal Omella's particular request and followed Arana's suggestion. But no, Pope Francis is not partial as some would like to believe, even though he followed Omella's personal request and went as far as to offer his Christmas greetings in a postcard in his own handwriting to the family while promising them "all their soldiers and armoured cars to clear up the matter thoroughly" without troubling the boy. Francis signed the Christmas card on December 29, 2014, a little late, but he would have been busy or worried about the case of Monsignor Ureña, whose mess had been leaked to the press 30 days earlier.

Mr. Cuatrecasas confessed that the Christmas card that the Pope sent to the victim's family from Vatican City helped them a lot, but despite his good intentions, he believes that even the Pope "is surrounded by a curia that lives anchored in the past" and puts forward as examples statements by bishops like Munilla, Cañizares and Iceta.

The Vatican's special envoy: a priest, a former policeman and a Doctor of Theology who may help Opus Dei against Omella

And Francis did take action, although the Papal expert sent by Francis earned the criticism of the family and its lawyer Leticia de la Hoz (now also a lawyer for Arana, oddly enough, as he faces a citation at the Courthouse in Madrid for alleged slander against Reverend Miguel Ángel Barco in a letter he addressed to the Pope ).

The Vatican sent a specialized investigator, a canonist priest with many years of experience in these matters to Gaztelueta school , who saw no evidence of guilt on the part of the alleged abuser and in 2015 they dismissed the case and asked in the name of Pope Francis for the restoration of the teacher's good name.

Silverio Nieto Núñez is a priest with a very peculiar biography, currently in charge of the Civil Legal Service of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), a position he accepted in 2002. But he does not act on behalf of the Episcopate, which is not competent in this matters. His orders come directly from Rome.

Silverio Nieto

Why Silverio Nieto? Does the Pope know him? Who suggests him? The juridical head of the Spanish Episcopate is a late vocation, he was ordained in 1999 at the age of 51. A singular character with an unusual career.

Born in Almendralejo (Badajoz), he was a Merchant Marine officer and radio operator. Some circumstances made him change his career and he became a police inspector, assigned to the information services. He worked in the Interpol Office in Madrid before hanging up his police uniform. He then studied law and became a Judge. He practised in the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice in Madrid. He obtained a doctorate in Civil Law as well as in Canon Law. He was tutor of Carlos Lesmes, currently the President of the Spanish Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary during his period of judicial practice. Nieto also met José Antonio Alonso, who would later become Minister of Defence in the Government of Rodríguez Zapatero.

Nieto built up a network of contacts with great influence, also in the ecclesiastical field after being ordained a priest and hanging up his gown. A friend of Cardinal Cañizares, in 2008 the Cardinal entrusted him with the opening of the judicial year in the primate seat of Toledo where he gave a speech on the validity and relevance of the Agreements between the Holy See and the Spanish State. He is also an unwavering rouquian (friends with Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela). In fact, he has taught at the universities of both cardinals, UCAM in Murcia and San Dámaso in Madrid.

An article in ElCorreo.Com describes Nieto as follows

"(...) Silverio Nieto was part, in 2011, of the so-called Commission of Approach, in charge of contacting the victims of the sexual abuses perpetrated by Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, and of making a report for the Pope's delegate, Cardinal De Paolis. His hand was seen in the protocol of action of the Spanish Church against pedophilia approved by the bishops in 2010. At present, he is the representative of the Spanish Church in the Anti-Pedophilia Commission created by the Vatican. Does the fact that he is ideologically situated in a conservative environment influence him in the mission entrusted to him by the Pope? Those who know him assure that his professionalism and credibility are beyond doubt and that in matters of pedophilia he acts with zero tolerance".

On Facebook there is an entry portraying Silverio Nieto as a "thug", when he was expected at a conference in Peru, in the Diocese of Callao, "Silverio Nieto, the thug who is going to scare off the victims of pedophilia in the Spanish church, the one who is the star of several complaints of abuse and whom a Netflix documentary showed us exactly what this man is like: close friend of the Bishop and constantly invited to various events of the Diocese of Callao. This is the one who is going to expose, teach and act as a speaker. What a pity".

Leticia de la Hoz (right), the lawyer on the side of the family in the Gaztelueta alleged abuse case

Thus Pope Francis put a person close to Opus Dei as an investigator, which would lead some to think that he wanted to cover up the matter and not cause any harm to Opus Dei. However, we also notice that the Pope has never made the current Prelate of Opus Dei, Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, a bishop, which may lead some to think that he is not particularly fond of Opus Dei.

For all these reasons we could think that Silverio Nieto would be a friend of Omella and at the same time would help him in his collaboration with Arana, who wanted to favour a family against an alleged abuser and numerary member of Opus Dei, a teacher at that time at Gaztelueta School.

At the end of 2011, after the arrival of Mariano Rajoy at La Moncloa and the appointment of Mr. Jorge Fernández Díaz as head of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Reverent Silverio Nieto not only became the confessor of the Minister but also intervened in the appointment of the head of the police force, promoting commissioners linked to Opus Dei. But Silverio Nieto soon got tired of his dedication to the State Security and decided to leave the National Police Force (CNP). He was so fed up with the job that his time in the Spanish Police is not reflected in his official biography. His next activity, however, was that of Judge. He succeeded in the competitive examinations and was transferred to the Court of Cebreros. After several assignments, he joined the Contentious Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM). It is in that destination where he met the current President of the Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary, Carlos Lesmes, of whom he was a tutor during his judicial internship.

Silverio Nieto's work

The fact is that Silverio Nieto set to work, first by carefully studying the bulky documentation piled up on the case of Gaztelueta School. Then he went to the Basque Country in June to carry out his investigation in the place, which he kept secret. He did contact the family of the minor, whom he interviewed alone for several hours; he also got together with representatives of the school and with other instances, which did not include the Diocese, at least officially. He went his own way.

He was accompanied in his work by Rafael Felipe Freije, a Judge of the ecclesiastical court in the Judicial Vicarage of the Bishopric of Girona, from where he is a natural. This priest, who also holds a doctorate in theology and a degree in canonical criminal law, acted as a notary. Felipe is currently working on his doctoral thesis on Canon Law, specialising in paedophilia and sexual abuse, at the University of Comillas, where he taught Nieto and supervises doctoral candidates. He has a leave of service from the Diocese of Girona and helps out in a parish in Madrid.

Canonical case is over

In 2015 the Vatican would finalise the Gaztelueta school investigation after thorough research and concluded that there was no case. In December of that year Omella is transferred to Barcelona and becomes the Archbishop of that Diocese.

On July 15, 2015 the Gaztelueta report, sealed by the Papal secret, arrived at the offices of the secretive Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican.

October 2, 2015 was the day on which the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was to inform the Pope of the conclusions of the Visitor's investigation (...) and concluded that the facts denounced "have not been proven, and consequently, the good name and reputation of the alleged perpetrator must be restored, without any further action being taken against the said person".

When the Pope's letter to the family was leaked on 2 October, the report of the investigation was already on Cardinal Müller's desk, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at that moment, so that the Pope would know the conclusions. And although it was protected by secrecy, in some Vatican circles they already advanced that "there is no case".

A conclusion that was reached, as the reserved document states, after "a detailed super actis analysis, evaluating the numerous public and private documents, as well as other witnesses, and interviews with various persons. And that, therefore, "it is considered closed, for lack of elements of a criminal offence".

Gaztelueta School emphasizes that "this closure is the fourth that instances outside the school give to the case, since all have studied and reached the same conclusion". But they know that it will not be the last.

In the Basque Country the scandal has now resurfaced.

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