by AT News Team

A former Adventist pastor with roots in Argentina says the recently elected Pope Francis I, who was a Roman Catholic Archbishop in Argentina, has told confidants that he wishes to punish the Adventist Church because the pontiff's older brother was a long-time member of that denomination.

Hugo R. Gambetta, once an ordained minister in the Adventist Church who lost his credentials in 2005 amidst allegations of financial improprieties, appears in a widely circulated 17-minute video in which he says that Francis I has sworn to give top priority to implementing an international Sunday law, in retaliation against the denomination that stole his brother away from the Catholic faith. Gambetta does not give the first name of the brother, nor does he provide any dates, locations, or circumstances under which such a conversion might have taken place.

The video program came to the attention of Adventist Today when a pastor in the United States asked for help in determining if the allegation had any validity. Adventist Today has determined that the story has no foundation in fact, and this assessment has been confirmed by sources at the General Conference and in South America.

Gambetta has shown great ability through the years to rouse Adventists to support his independent ministry, often using dire predictions of imminent end-time catastrophes. He has predicted crises for Adventists in particular.

The account given by Gambetta in the video is presented in Spanish from a pulpit, as Gambetta appears nattily dressed, and in somber, sensationalist tones describes the great hatred Francis I feels toward the Adventist Church because of the conversion of the pontiff's brother. No documentation or supporting witnesses are supplied.

Gambetta operates an independent ministry based in Glendale, California, where Adventist Today has learned he draws followers from among the many Spanish-speaking Adventists in California. He also appears on at least one television station in Central America and is well known to Adventists in the region.