Pope Francis goes to home of disgraced cardinal accused of embezzlement for Holy Thursday Mass

The pontiff's stunning 'news bomb' move was called 'an act of mercy.'
Tue Apr 6, 2021 - 6:47 pm EST
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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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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.  

  angelo becciu, catholic, embezzlement, holy thursday, pope francis, prefect of the congregation for the causes of saints, vatican

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