- Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, regarded as one of the Vatican’s most influential cardinals, resigned from his duties at the Holy See.
- The Italian cleric is suspected of being involved in the diversion of church funds.
- Becciu said he was disturbed by the situation, but insisted that he is innocent.
Scandals aren’t a new phenomenon in the Catholic Church, the world’s largest Christian denomination. From sexual abuse of young boys by priests and bishops to embezzlement of church funds, amongst others, the Catholic Church has been rocked by quite a number of scandals.
In recent days, the church has yet again been rocked by a grant scandal, in which an Italian Cardinal was recently “forced out” from the Vatican on suspicion of embezzlement of the church’s funds.
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, regarded as one of the Vatican’s most influential cardinals, resigned from his duties at the Holy See after he became involved in a real estate deal in a posh estate on the outskirts of London.
Cardinal Becciu resigned from his duties at the Holy See, a decision that was accepted by Pope Francis. The Italian cleric is suspected of being involved in the diversion of church funds.
The Pope accepted the resignation of Cardinal Becciu from the post of the commission that determines Catholic saints, as well as his rights as a cardinal.
Becciu said he was disturbed by the situation, but insisted that he is innocent. The now ex-cardinal said he was forced to resign by Pope Francis, and asked the Vatican head of state to give him the opportunity to defend himself.
“In our meeting, the Holy Father told me that I favored my brothers and their companies with money from the Secretariat of State,” Becciu said in a September 25 invite-only press conference he organized the day after his resignation was announced.
“I told the pope: Why are you doing this to me? In front of the whole world, nonetheless,” he said, but insisted that he could explain.
The name of the Italian cardinal had been mentioned several times in the context of an explosive investigation, initiated in 2019, on obscure financial arrangements aimed at buying a property in the elegant London neighborhood of Chelsea.
The transaction is said to have began in 2014, when Monsignor Becciu served in the Secretariat of State, the central administration of the Holy See, responsible for investment decisions. Giovanni Angelo Becciu defended, in early 2020, the acquisition of the property in Chelsea.
As per information in the public domain, Cardinal Becciu reportedly channeled hundreds of thousands of euros from the Italian episcopate and the Holy See to a cooperative in Sardinia managed by one of his brothers.
The judicial inquiry, partly released by the Italian daily La Repubblica, claims that the cardinal also financially favored two of his other brothers during his career.
According to the investigation, the sums diverted by the cardinal were reinvested by his family in other economic activities. As part of the current investigation, five officials of the Secretary of State are being targeted by the Holy See.