AP

Feminists rally for Argentine nuns who denounced archbishop

May 3, 2022, 10:25 PM | Updated: May 4, 2022, 10:48 am

Women protest holding hands as they surround the San Bernardo Convent in Salta, Argentina, Tuesday,...

Women protest holding hands as they surround the San Bernardo Convent in Salta, Argentina, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. They women gathered in support of the convent's cloistered nuns who have accused the Archbishop of Salta province Mario Antonio Cargnello and other church officials of gender-based psychological and physical violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)


              Convento de San Bernardo en Salta, Argentina, el lunes 2 de mayo de 2022. Dieciocho monjas de clausura del convento han presentado una denuncia formal contra el arzobispo Mario Cargnello y otros dos miembros de la Iglesia por presunta violencia de género física y psicológica. (AP Foto/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A couple leaves the sanctuary of the "Virgen del Cerro" formally called La Inmaculada Madre Del Divino Corazón Eucarístico De Jesús, in Salta, Argentina, Monday, May 2, 2022. Eighteen cloistered nuns from the San Bernardo Convent in Salta province have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              Women protest outside the San Bernardo Convent, in support of the eighteen cloistered nuns from the convent who have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence, in Salta, Argentina, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A street seller shows a stamp of the popular  “Madonna del Cerro,” or Immaculate Mother of the Divine Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, in Salta, Argentina, Monday, May 2, 2022. The archbishop of Salta province, Mario Antonio Cargnello, has long had a dispute with the nuns over the “Madonna del Cerro,” a popular figure in Salta who a woman in the province said appeared to her in a vision in the 1990s. Cargnello does not recognize the figure, but Carmelite nuns do. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              Women protest outside the San Bernardo Convent, in support of the eighteen cloistered nuns from the convent who have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence, in Salta, Argentina, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              Women hold banner signs with messages that read in Spanish; "Sister, I do believe you", during a protest outside the San Bernardo Convent, in Salta, Argentina, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Several feminist groups protested in support of the eighteen cloistered nuns from the convent who have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A woman holds a banner with a message reading in Spanish; "Sister, I do believe you" during a protest outside the San Bernardo Convent, in Salta, Argentina, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Several feminist groups protested in support of the eighteen cloistered nuns from the convent who have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              Women protest holding hands as they surround the San Bernardo Convent in Salta, Argentina, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. They women gathered in support of the convent's cloistered nuns who have accused the Archbishop of Salta province Mario Antonio Cargnello and other church officials of gender-based psychological and physical violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A woman waits her turn for confession outside the Cathedral in Salta, Argentina, Monday, May 2, 2022. Eighteen cloistered nuns from the San Bernardo Convent in Salta province have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A woman prays at the Cathedral in Salta, Argentina, Monday, May 2, 2022. Eighteen cloistered nuns from the San Bernardo Convent in Salta province have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              Women wait for the start of Mass at the Cathedral in Salta, Argentina, Monday, May 2, 2022. Eighteen cloistered nuns from the San Bernardo Convent in Salta province have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A view of the city of Salta, Argentina, Monday, May 2, 2022. Eighteen cloistered nuns from the convent have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A statue of Pope John Paul II stands in Salta, Argentina, Monday, May 2, 2022. Eighteen cloistered nuns from the San Bernardo Convent in Salta province have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
            
              A woman prays in the Cathedral in Salta, Argentina, Monday, May 2, 2022. Eighteen cloistered nuns from the San Bernardo Convent in Salta province have made a formal allegation against the Archbishop Mario Cargnello of Salta and two other members of the church for alleged physical and psychological gender violence. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

SALTA, Argentina (AP) — Feminist groups have rallied to the support of 18 cloistered Carmelite nuns who have filed an unusual complaint of gender violence against the local Catholic archbishop.

Dozens of activists gathered Tuesday in the esplanade of the Convent of St. Bernard in Salta, some 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires.

The nuns, members of the Discalced Carmelites order, have filed a complaint with a local court accusing Salta Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello, Bishop emeritus Martín de Elizalde and vicar Lucio Ajalla of “physical, psychological and economic violence.”

The archbishop has denied the accusations and the position of the other two is unclear because they have not given statements or officially named attorneys.

Elizalde had been designated by the Vatican to hear the nuns’ complaints, but they complain he had accepted the behavior they denounced.

Protesters carried posters reading “Sister, We Believe You” and “Enough of Violent Priests!” The woman joined hands and spread out around the historic structure in a symbolic hug.

“Sometimes one thinks that the sisters are in harmony, in a contemplative live, but the violence of the church itself has made them say, ‘enough!'” said Irene Cari of the Forum of Women for Equal Opportunities, one of several groups that participated in the demonstration.

The cloistered nuns have long been at odds with Cargnello over their support for a local woman who professes to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary that he does not accept.

Attorneys for the nuns say the archbishop was upset when an image of the Madonna del Cerro was placed at the funeral of a nun in 2020 and that Ajalla lunged at a nun to stop her filming the scene. They say the archbishop himself, as well as Ajalla, hit the prioress’ arm when she recovered the device used to film.

The attorneys say there were other threats and aggressions but did not detail them, citing a court gag order. The archbishop’s defense says the problem is rooted in economic issues and the administration of the Carmelite properties.

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Feminists rally for Argentine nuns who denounced archbishop