Archbishop Gugerotti: Francis’ Weakness for Careerists

This is what Via col vento in Vaticano (1999) writes about Father Stambecco (= future Cardinal Claudio Gugerotti).

• In the 1980s, Claudio Gugerotti arrived as a layman from Verona as a university student at Villa Nazareth in Rome, a gathering place for careerists run by then Archbishop Achille Silvestrini, the leader of the Saint Gall Mafia, whom John Paul II later made a cardinal.

• It was rumoured that the recruiting officer of 'Il Vascello' building [= headquarters of the Grand Orient of Italy] told Gugerotti to knock on the gate of that gated villa.

• Gugerotti immediately won Silvestrini’s trust and affection.

• His comrades called him “lo stambecco” (ibex) for his morbid careerism and said that, in order to remain the centre of of attention, he would steal the place of a dead man in the coffin.

• Silvestrini suggested to Gugerotti to become a priest and Gugerotti agreed under the condition to be dispensed from seminary formation.

• So Gugerotti was made member of a nascent “community” of about ten priests, none of them living in community, and continued living in Villa Nazareth.

• Less than three years after Gugerotti’s priestly ordination, in 1985, Silvestrini got him a place in the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

• When Silvestrini was eliminated from the Secretary of State July 1988 and made Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura where he was not happy, Gugerotti espoused his cause and put himself at his complete service to make him look his best in all public and private relations.

• Gugerotti drew up programmes, wrote speeches, prepared homilies, prepared meetings with journalists.

• Silvestrini was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches in 1991 where Gugerotti already was.

• He allowed Gugerotti – very unusal for the Vatican - to appoint a female secretary and a secretary-priest to take over the handling of the cardinal's public relations matters.

• Although Gugerotti was a religious, at least on paper, he was made a monsignor.

• Silvestrini sent Gugerotti on an extraordinary mission around the world, the success of which was reported by the missionary himself at breakfast with John Paul II in the presence of Silvestrini who, delighted, confirmed everything. And John Paul II swallowed it all.

• Silvestrini removed and promoted collaborators out of the way to facilitate Gugerotti’s career who, in short times, went from simple employee to major superior.

• The last to be eliminated was Silvestrini’s Under Secretary Father Marco Brogi (+2020) whom Silvestrini wanted to become Nuncio in Africa. After a first attempt through the Secretary of State failed, Silvestrini managed to convince John Paul II.

• Gugerotti became Brogi’s successor.

• Simultaneously, Gugerotti’s secretary was ordered to paste together some texts which were handed in as a dissertation in Canon Law in a complacent Pontifical University.

• Via col vento in Vaticano quotes Cardinal Joseph Slipyj who was freed after 18 years in Soviet prisons who confided to friends towards the end of his days: “In every moment the odyssey I spent in the Soviet camps and my condemnation to death is fixed in my mind. But in Rome, within the walls of the Vatican, I experienced worse moments.”

Picture: © Mazur/cbcew.org.uk, CC BY-NC-ND, #newsSliwuuvmec

Sandy Barrett shares this
+Claudio Gugerotti, the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches, is a disciple of the late Cardinal Achille Silvestrini who was a prominent member of the St. Gallen group that lobbied against the election of Benedict XVI