Timing of Pell’s return to Rome and Becciu’s resignation coincidental

There is no connection between the timing of Cardinal George Pell’s return to Rome and the recent resignation of Cardinal Angelo Becciu.

Pell and Becciu were known rivals in the bid to reform the finances of the Holy See before Pell returned to Australia to face child sex abuse charges.

“There is no connection between the two things,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin (pictured) says. And no, he doesn’t know how Pell plans to spend his time in Rome.

All he will say is Pell’s return to Rome is domestic: that Pell asked to return in April after being acquitted on appeal by Australia’s High Court for abusing two boys while serving as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

“There was no summoning of Pell by the pope. It was he who asked to come to Rome to end his stay here, because he still has his apartment, so he came here to close it up.”

Pell’s arrival last Wednesday, just days after Becciu – the pope’s former chief of staff – resigned from his post as head of the Vatican’s department for saints and from his rights as a cardinal.

Though no formal reason was given for his departure, Becciu told reporters he had been accused of embezzling 100,000 euros ($116,200) and diverting it to companies with family involved.

Before his conviction, Pell oversaw the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy.

Pell’s primary task was to clean up the Vatican’s murky financial situation, but his efforts were met with resistance from Becciu who disagreed over the reform process.

In a lengthy interview with Australian journalist Andrew Bolt after his release, Pell suggested that the allegations against him could be related to his efforts to clean up Vatican financial corruption.

He said although he doesn’t have evidence, he thinks the man who accused him of sexual abuse had been “used.”

After Becciu’s resignation, Pell issued a statement in which he “thanked and congratulated” the pope for firing Becciu.

The move was part of the pope’s effort “to clean up Vatican finances,” he said.

“I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria, [Australia]” he said.


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