Francis’ sacking of Cardinal Becciu called “a shocker”


A cardinal sacked by Pope Francis says he is “devastated,” he did not commit any crimes and has had no communication with the Vatican magistrates.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu called his downfall “surreal.”

Becciu, former ‘substitute’ (No 2) at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and until Friday, prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has also lost all his rights as a cardinal.

It was only recently, June 2018, that Francis made Becciu a cardinal, but on Friday, during a brief 20-minute meeting, the pope told him he no longer had confidence in him.

Becciu is looking forward to clearing his name, but out of respect for obedience to the pope and love of the church and the pope, he accepts Francis’ request to ‘resign from his functions.’

According to the Il Messaggero daily newspaper, the pope told him: “I have always been fond of you, I regret it but I cannot do otherwise.”

The decision to strip Becciu of his rights as a cardinal has been called “a shocker” by Robert Mickens, writing in La Croix International.

“There is no way to know right now if Becciu is guilty of the charges. He’s not been tried. No documents have been officially made public,” writes Mickens.

The cardinal’s name had previously been caught up in a whirlwind financial scandal involving the Holy See’s investment in a London real estate venture. However, according to Becciu, the London investment didn’t even come up in his meeting with Francis.

According to a report to be published on Sunday in the Italian magazine L’Espresso, quoted by La Repubblica daily, Becciu allegedly directed 100,000 euros from the Holy See to a cooperative in Sardinia.

The cooperative was allegedly run by his brother, which deals with social integration under the aegis of the cardinal’s Sardinian diocese, the report claims.

At a news conference on Friday, Becciu said he had allocated 100,000 euros to Caritas, a Catholic charity, for use in Sardinia, but denied the funds were passed on to his brother’s cooperative.

“That money is still there and wasn’t given to my brother’s cooperative. So I don’t know why I am accused of embezzlement,” he said.

La Repubblica also reported that as well as the Caritas sum, the prelate also allegedly directed hundreds of thousands of euros to the activities of two other brothers, with money reinvested in financial activities, including offshore funds, allegations Becciu denied to journalists.

Italian news and cultural affairs magazine, L’Espresso, has announced it is printing a huge scandal piece on Becciu this week which will provide documents as proof that the powerful cardinal is “a crook” and has been for a very long time.

“How will we really know?” asks Mickens.

The morning following news of the sacking, Cardinal George Pell thanked Pope Francis for removing Becciu.

“The Holy Father was elected to clean up Vatican finances. He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments,” Pell said in a statement to CNA.

In his role as substitute at the Secretariat of State, Becciu repeatedly clashed with Pell over the reform of Vatican finances and as CathNews reported in 2016, Becciu was instrumental in bringing to a halt reforms initiated by Pell.

Although Pope Francis had given the newly created Prefecture for the Economy autonomous oversight authority over Vatican finances, Becciu interfered when Pell’s financial secretariat planned an external audit, by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, of all Vatican departments.

Again as reported by CathNews in 2016, Becciu, unilaterally, and without permission of Pope Francis, canceled the audit and announced in a letter to all Vatican departments that it would not take place.

When Pell challenged the audit’s cancellation, Becciu persuaded Pope Francis to give his decision ex post facto approval and the audit never happened.

A former secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in New Zealand, Becciu was known as doctrinally conservative, and by some for having a strong view on the ordination of women.


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