Cardinal implicated in Vatican financial scandals blasts respected journalist for ‘false article’
ROME, November 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, has publicly criticized an American Catholic journalist for a recent article linking the cardinal with major financial corruption and scandal at the Vatican.
Cardinal Becciu took to Twitter yesterday to lambast Dr Ed Condon, a journalist for Catholic News Agency (CNA), for his article last week which reports that the Cardinal “attempted to disguise $200 million loans on Vatican balance sheets” including funds from a disreputable Swiss bank and that he subsequently reprimanded Cardinal George Pell, then Prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy, when he began asking questions about the balance sheets.
Dr Condon has subsequently received the public support of J.D. Flynn, CNA’s editor in chief and Damian Thompson, associate editor at The Spectator and former editor of the Catholic Herald.
In a reply to Condon posting his article on Twitter, Cardinal Becciu responded: “Mr. Condon shamefully misled the faithful with another FALSE article (based on the same unreliable “sources” Card. Parolin recently corrected) claiming my involvement in financial impropriety “discovered” by Card Pell. I am shocked by such a way of convincing readers!”
Mr. Condon shamefully misled the faithful with another FALSE article (based on the same unreliable “sources” Card. Parolin recently corrected) claiming my involvement in financial impropriety “discovered” by Card Pell. I am shocked by such a way of convincing readers!— Card. Angelo Becciu (@AngeloBecciu) November 24, 2019
In response to Cardinal Becciu, Flynn issued a public statement of support for Condon’s piece and invited the Cardinal to speak “on the record” with the news agency.
“Your Eminence, CNA stands behind our reporting, and I stand behind Dr Condon’s work. I repeat our multiple invitations for an on the record interview with you, at your convenience. God bless you,” Flynn stated.
Your Eminence, CNA stands behind our reporting, and I stand behind Dr Condon’s work.— JD Flynn (@jdflynn) November 24, 2019
I repeat our multiple invitations for an on the record interview with you, at your convenience.
God bless you.
Condon’s article reports that “sources inside the Vatican’s Prefecture for the Economy” claim that credit was used from a Swiss bank, which has subsequently been found to have been in breach of its due diligence requirements with regards to money laundering, as part of $200 million gathered in loans in order to purchase a luxury property in London, England.
The article then goes on to cite “[s]enior officials at the Prefecture for the Economy” who claim that after Cardinal Pell began asking questions about these loans he was reproved by Cardinal Becciu (at that time Archbishop Becciu) who the sources claim “shouted at him [Pell] like he was an inferior”. At the time of the reported incident Cardinal Pell was Prefect for the Secretariat of the Economy and, in theory, second only to Pope Francis in matters of Vatican financial business. Cardinal Pell was imprisoned in Australia earlier this year for alleged historic child sex offences. Cardinal Pell has always denied the allegations and is expected to appeal them next year.
The bitter exchange on Twitter comes after Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, last week claimed responsibility for organising a 50 million Euro loan to help the Vatican purchase a scandal-ridden Italian hospital and for requesting a subsequent $25 million grant from a US-based Catholic foundation in order to cover that loan. Cardinal Parolin reportedly claimed responsibility for the loan and subsequent grant after Cardinal Becciu had denied rumours that he was in fact responsible for the controversial financial dealings. The US bishops, whose influence on the board of the US-based Papal Foundation it is thought was responsible for securing the grant, clearly suggested in a letter to their dissatisfied donating members that Pope Francis had been personally involved in requesting the grant.
Dr Condon also received notable support from Damian Thompson, the well known Catholic journalist who earlier this year tweeted that Pope Francis is “deeply implicated in terrible scandals” and is a “corrupt pope”. Thompson has given his public support to Dr Condon, by tweeting: “Dr Condon is in my opinion one of the finest and most scrupulous journalists in the Catholic world”.
In response to Cardinal Becciu’s tweet, Thompson asserted that it is Cardinal Becciu, rather than Cardinal Pell, who should be facing criminal charges and even claimed that another Cardinal shared the same conviction. He wrote: “As another cardinal – far more distinguished than you – told me recently, it is you, not Cardinal Pell, who should face criminal charges.”