‘Scandal’ predicted over new Vatican Bank prelate

Pope Francis may have to replace the cleric he recently appointed to the key position of prelate of the Vatican Bank, according to a veteran journalist who writes of a “scandal near the point of exploding”.

Monsignor Battista Mario Salvatore Ricca was described as a “trusted cleric” when the Pope’s appointment was announced on June 15.

A veteran diplomat, Monsignor Ricca had recently been serving as director of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where the Pope has chosen to live.

Now Vatican journalist Sandro Magister of L’Espresso newspaper says questions have arisen about Ricca’s conduct during a brief assignment at the apostolic nunciature in Uruguay, between 1999 and 2001.

According to Magister, a “rupture” occurred between Ricca and the nuncio in Uruguay, Bishop Janusz Bolonek, and Ricca was suddenly transferred. The journalist says those who confidentially examined the case used the expressions “pink power” and “conducta escandalosa”.

Ricca was selected by the council of cardinals supervising the bank. But Magister says he won the Pope’s trust through the familiar relations he established with him as director of the Domus Sanctae Marthae and of two other residences for priests and bishops passing through Rome, including one at which the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio used to stay.

Magister says that in late June, when nuncios gathered in Rome to meet Pope Francis in person, the Pope became convinced by “several incontrovertible sources” that he had put his trust in the wrong person.

Another scandal at the Vatican Bank would follow the sudden resignations of its two highest-ranking operational officers, director-general Paolo Cipriani and vice-director Massimo Tulli, on July 1, following the arrest of Vatican accountant Monsignor Nunzio Scarano on a money-smuggling charge.

Their departures — “in the best interests of the [bank] itself and of the  Holy See” — forced the president of the bank, Ernst von Freyburg, to step in temporarily as director-general.

Sources:

Chiesa

National Catholic Reporter

Image: La Voce Del Popolo

News category: World.

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