Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi

Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi
Bishop of Alessandria

Alessandria is a city in the Italian area of Piedmont, southeast of Turin, southwest of Milan, a suffragan diocese of Vercelli, where the famous anti-Arian St. Eusebius was bishop from 340-371.

Bishop Versaldi is 65, born July 30, 1943 in Villarboit, a municipality of Vercelli. June 1967 ordained a priest. 1972-6 earns degrees in psychology and canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

1976 founding director of diocesan family counseling in Vercelli. President of the Federation of Regional Piedmontese Counselors of Christian inspiration. From 1977 pastor in Vercelli.

From 1980 teaches psychology and canon law at the Gregorian. 1981 admitted as advocate to the Roman Rota. Professor of anthropology at the Studio of the Roman Rota. 1985 referendario, 1990 voter, and 2007 member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest Vatican court.

1994 appointed vicar general of Vercelli by Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, which he remained through 2007.

Appointed bishop of Alessandria, April 2007.

Bios: Catholic hierarchy diocesan website


Bishop Versaldi is a publishing scholar and practitioner in both psychology and canon law. Some bibliography:

“Elementa psychologica matrimonialis consensus” in the Gregorian’s journal Periodica de Re Morali Canonica Liturgica 71 1982, 179-209 and 231-253 studies, as blurbed, love in matrimonial consent and seeks to integrate John Paul’s theology of marriage with psychology.

“The dialogue between psychological science and canon law” in Burke, Grocholoewski, Pompedda, and Versaldi “Incapacity for Marriage; Jurisprudence and Interpretation” Acts of the III Gregorian Colloquium, RB Sable, editor (1987).

“Psychology And Marriage Consent” in Forum 6 1995 79-102 (Malta archdiocese canon law review) 1995

“The Contribution of Psychology to Canon Law” in a volume celebrating 25 years of the Institute of Psychology of the Gregorian University, “A journey to freedom: an interdisciplinary approach to the anthropology of formation,” edited by Franco Imoda, SJ (Peters 2000), former Gregorian rector and psychologist. The volume asks, “Can psychology & religion engage in constructive dialogue? Has psychology a contribution to make in Christian formation?”

“Cristo modello degli sposi; Come possono i coniugi imitare Cristo non sposato?” (“Christ as model for spouses. How can a married couple imitate the unmarried Christ?”) (EDB 2003) Blurb: With the experience of a pastor and teacher, Versaldi attempts to combine the perspectives of critical exegesis, gender studies, theology, and psychology in posing the question, how can the love of Christ for the Church, which is a nuptial/virginal love, become a model of conjugal love?

“Origins and Bases of a Study of the Human Person,” in Manenti, Guarinelli, Zollner “Formation and the Person: Essays in Theory and Practice” (Peeters 2007), which, as blurbed, gathers the foundational concepts that characterize the approach to the person, as human and as Christian, which has been developed at the Institute of Psychology of the Pontifical Gregorian University during 35 years.

“L'uomo debole a la capacità per autodonarsi: quale capacità per il matrimonio” (“The capacity of the weak human person for self-donation; what capacity for marriage?”) Ius ecclesiae 19 2007 567-588.

Spoke on a 2008 conference panel on the psychological implications of the 2005 “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies” (with other Legionary visitator Gianfranco Ghirlanda who spoke on the Instruction’s canonical aspects).


As practitioner of both psychology and canon law and scholar of the intersection between the two, Bishop Versaldi would bring intriguing qualifications to the visitation. He studies the human person philosophically in the manner of John Paul, has considered the canonical implications of homosexuality on the priesthood, and is an expert on the psychology of vocation, and, with years of experience on the Roman Rota and as family counselor, on how emotional and mental difficulty affect the validity of sacramental marriage.

He is qualified to take up many questions the moment demands: those of the juridical and emotional effects of the pan-sexual Father Maciel on his institute, the effects of the cult of his personality, the validity of vows and sacramental ordination in an atmosphere of an unhealthful, coercive, manipulative and disintegrating psychological approach, and altogether the clash between John Paul personalism and the traditional religious emotional self-annihilation as practiced in the Legion.

Pressing canonical issues to be examined include alleged breaches of canon law in Legionary life such as violation of the internal forum and violation of the confessional. It has been alleged that Legionary “apostolic schools” dodge canonical norms for minor seminaries as do “spiritual dialogues” norms for spiritual direction. Examination of the canonical status, or rather limbo, of Regnum Christi consecrated women, who allegedly lack appropriate legal recourse, is an exceptionally important priority for the canon lawyers of the visitation.

Bishop Versaldi may have enough seniority and security as a Vatican jurist to explore the cover-ups within the Vatican itself that protected Father Maciel and the Legionaries decades ago, recently, and even currently.

Versaldi seems not among the Vatican Legionary protectors. He is close to Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, who appointed him his vicar general in Vercelli, and who succeeded Legionary supporter Angelo Sodano as Secretary of State in 2006 and supplanted Legionary supporter Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, in taking the lead in the visitation. Versaldi is a colleague of another visitator Gianfranco Ghirlanda, who has taught canon law at the Gregorian through Versaldi’s years there as student and teacher. According to La Journada, Versaldi is the closest friend of Pope Benedict among the visitators.

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