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Cardinal Angelo Becciu

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VATICAN CITY, April 6, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis amazed Vatican-watchers by celebrating his Holy Thursday liturgy in the apartment of a cardinal accused of embezzlement. 

According to Italian Nova News, the pontiff’s decision to celebrate Holy Thursday in the private chapel of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu was not a “rehabilitation” of the disgraced prelate’s career but a “an act of mercy.” 

Sources close to Pope Francis said the pontiff had called Becciu, who gave up all rights connected with his cardinal’s rank, after Vatican police accused him of embezzling funds and enriching his family with Church contracts, saying he wanted “to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with him to continue the tradition that the Holy Father and the cardinal had observed for many years.” 

“The ‘pastoral’ gesture of the Holy Father ‘represented exclusively an act of mercy’ in his meeting with the ex-Prefect,” Nova News reported. 

The newspaper alleged that the idea that a visit represented a reboot for the cardinal’s career came from one of his brothers, who tipped off the media to the visit.

“The message, entitled ‘NEWS BOMB’ … stated: ‘Today al 17:30 Pope Francis went to the apartment of His Eminence Giovannie Angelo Becciu to celebrate Holy Mass. His Holiness and Cardinal Becciu together again, in a close embrace!” stated Nova News.

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A senior Church prelate is strongly opposing a new Vatican proposal to ban private Masses and restrict traditional rite Masses at the world's premier church, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Cardinal Raymond Burke said that the new directions, issued by Pope Francis’ Secretariat of State, should be "rescinded" since they are "contrary to" and in "direct violation of" universal Church law.

Therefore, we ask you to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which is directed to Pope Francis and the current and just retired Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica (Cardinals Mauro Gambetti and Angelo Comastri, respectively), and which asks them to rescind the new directive banning private Masses and restricting traditional rite Masses at St. Peter's.

On March 12th, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State circulated a note with details of new dispositions restricting all “individual” Masses in Saint Peter’s, with special, even more restrictive measures for the traditional rite.

The note, which was unsigned, stated among other things that "individual celebrations are suppressed."

In response, Cardinal Burke said the new rules cause the faithful, and above all, priests, the "deepest concerns."

In particular, he addresses the celebration of private or "individual" Masses at the Basilica, something that the new document appears to target, writing:

The document imposes concelebration upon priests who wish to offer the Holy Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, which is contrary to universal Church law and which unjustly conditions the primary duty of the individual priest to offer the Holy Mass daily for the salvation of the world (can. 902).

In what church more than in the Basilica of Saint Peter would a priest desire to offer the Holy Mass, which is the most perfect and fullest way in which he carries out his priestly mission? If an individual priest wishes to offer the Holy Mass in the Basilica, once the directives in question are in force, he will be constrained to concelebrate, in violation of his freedom to offer the Holy Mass individually.

Quoting from the Council of Trent, Burke then emphasized the fact that the whole Church benefits spiritually from every Mass that is said, whether with people attending or without, stating:

The holy council would certainly like the faithful present at every Mass to communicate in it not only by spiritual devotion but also by sacramental reception of the Eucharist, so that the fruits of this most holy sacrifice could be theirs more fully.

But, if this does not always happen, the council does not for that reason condemn as private and illicit Masses (can. 8) in which only the priest communicates. Rather, it approves and commends them, for they too should be considered truly communal Masses, partly because the people communicate spiritually in them and partly because they are celebrated by a public minister of the Church, not for his own good alone, but for all the faithful who belong to the body of Christ’ (Session XXII, Chapter 6).

Please SIGN now and support the call to Pope Francis and the current and just retired Archpriest of St. Peter's to rescind the new directives which would severely restrict priests from offering private and traditional rite Holy Masses at St. Peter's Basilica.


Cardinal Burke: Vatican’s ban on private Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica should be ‘rescinded’ -

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The newspaper’s highly placed sources said Pope Francis did not at all intend for his “gesture” to be seen in connection with Becciu’s career or the “drastic decisions” the pontiff had made concerning it “which remain unchanged.” They also alleged that the pope “regrets the media exploitation of one of his acts of mercy.”

The investigation into Cardinal Becciu’s alleged financial malfeasance should be completed within 40 days, the newspaper added. 

The editors of the new online Catholic magazine The Pillar, Ed Condon and J.D. Flynn, also believe that Pope Francis has no intention of “rehabilitating” the cardinal. Today, they noted that Becciu is “probably best described these days as a man on the periphery.”

“Which is why it should have come as no surprise that the pope went to have Mass with him on Holy Thursday. In the eight years of his pontificate, Pope Francis has by now made clear that he’s got a soft spot for folks on the edges,” they continued. 

Noting that the pontiff has some “blind spots” about those working for him, The Pillar’s editors say that Becciu is not one of them. After all, Francis himself “fired” Becciu, has been keen for  progress into the investigation into affairs concerning him, and has even paved the legal way for prosection of his associates. 

“Also, Pope Francis faces extraordinary fiscal and political pressure to bring the financial scandal to justice, with some serious long-term legal ramifications for the Church if he can’t,” The Pillar continued. 

“And he knows that.”

On September 24, 2020, the Holy See released a terse note stating that Pope Francis had accepted Becciu’s resignation “from his role as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and from the rights connected with the Cardinalate.” The next day, Italian newsmagazine L’Espresso published an exclusive article explaining why Becciù resigned: the ongoing investigation into a Vatican investment in a luxury London property had turned up evidence that he had funneled Vatican assets to his own blood relations. 

According to L’Espresso, as Substitute (deputy) of the Secretariat of State, Becciu had “entrusted the entire Vatican treasury” to a financier who invested it oddly and also obtained non-repayable loans to a charity run by one of his brothers , Vatican contracts for another brother’s carpentry business, and had ordered purchasers from a third brother’s food-and-drink company.  

Cardinal Becciu gave a press conference that same day in which he described the painful meeting with Pope Francis in which he offered to resign as Prefect and his rights as a cardinal. He stated that he was not guilty of embezzlement or of enriching his family.  

Also on September 25, Cardinal George Pell, the former Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, congratulated Pope Francis on Becciu’s resignation. 

“The Holy Father has elected to clean up Vatican finances,” Pell wrote. 

“He plays a long game and is to be thanked and congratulated on recent developments. I hope the cleaning of the stables continues in both the Vatican and Victoria.”

In October 2020, Becciù “security adviser” Cecilia Marogna was arrested by Italian financial police after the Vatican issued an international arrest warrant through Interpol. Vatican investigators alleged that Marogna, who received €500,000 ($588,000 USD) from the Holy See for “secret” humanitarian works in Africa and Asia, was an embezzler, using almost half the money to buy handbags and other luxury goods.  


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