‘You Cannot Serve Both God And Money’: Vatican’s Financial Scandal Takes New Twist

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Italian police are stationed in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, on Tuesday.

Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images


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Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images


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  • Before her arrest, Marogna told Italian media she had received half a million euros to run behind-the-scenes diplomacy to assist missionaries in conflict zones in Africa and Asia.

    Marogna, 39, is an associate of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu. Last month, Pope Francis forced Becciu to resign as head of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints and stripped him of his right as a cardinal to vote for a new pope.

    Francis did not give a reason for Becciu’s dismissal. But his firing apparently stemmed from Becciu’s activities in his previous post, as the second-ranking official in the Vatican secretariat of state, where he handled the Holy See’s investments.

    Becciu was sacked just as the Italian weekly magazine L’Espresso was about to publish an article alleging Becciu’s financial malfeasance.

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    Cardinal Angelo Becciu talks to journalists during a news conference in Rome, on Sept. 25. Cardinal Angelo Becciu has resigned from the post and renounced his rights as a cardinal amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly.

    Gregorio Borgia/AP


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    Gregorio Borgia/AP

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    Pope Francis (right) sits at a table with Cardinal George Pell at the Vatican, on Monday. The pope warmly welcomed the cardinal for a private audience in the Apostolic Palace after the cardinal’s sex abuse conviction and acquittal in Australia.

    Vatican News via AP


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    Vatican News via AP


    Law
    Australia’s High Court Overturns Cardinal Pell’s Child Sexual Abuse Conviction

    At Becciu’s recent news conference, he recalled clashing with Pell, in the presence of Pope Francis. «Suddenly, Pell accused me of dishonesty,» Becciu said. «I lost my temper, and yelled at him, ‘How dare you say that to me!'»

    Italian media are now rife with allegations that Becciu wired money to Australian bank accounts, as payment for testimony against Pell. Becciu categorically denies this.

    Following his release from jail in April, Pell was asked by an interviewer whether he thought the allegations against him were linked to his corruption fight in the Vatican.

    «I don’t have any evidence of that,» he said. «Most of the senior people in Rome who are in any way sympathetic to financial reform believe that they are.» Asked what motivated his accuser, Pell replied, «I wonder whether he was used.»

    The Australian man who accused Pell of sexually abusing him has denied allegations he may have been bribed to testify.

    Cardinal Pell returned to Rome on Oct. 1 for what was said to be a long-planned visit to clean out his apartment but which one commentator described as «the equivalent of a victory lap around the Colosseum.»

    On Tuesday, Pell met in a private audience with Pope Francis.

    With the dirty linen on display, National Catholic Reporter Vatican correspondent Joshua McElwee believes Francis remains determined to pursue his reforms.

    «The great success of this papacy was bringing the outsider voice, the outsider eye, these great exhortations for the church to get beyond itself, to go out onto the streets … to be the church of the field hospital tending to people’s wounds,» McElwee says.


    Parallels
    On A Roman Street, Graffiti Celebrates ‘SuperPope’

    Near St. Peter’s Basilica, a Roman graffiti artist once depicted Francis as airborne, his right fist clenched, his pectoral cross fluttering in the breeze — a white-caped crusader in constant struggle with the Vatican’s deeply entrenched culture of secrecy.

    • The Vatican
    • Pope Francis
    • Roman Catholic Church

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