The discharged Cardinal Angelo Becciu defends himself

SCardinal Angelo Becciu broke a self-imposed “vow of silence” after just one day. On Thursday evening the Press Office of the Holy See announced in a single sentence the resignation of the Prefect of the Congregation for Canonization; at the same time, it was said, Becciu had renounced “the rights in connection with his cardinal dignity”. When a news agency asked about the reason for his surprising resignation, Becciu replied late in the evening: “I prefer to remain silent.”

Matthias Rüb

Political correspondent for Italy, the Vatican, Albania and Malta, based in Rome.

On Friday, the 72-year-old church man from Sassari in Sardinia poured out his heart after all. In a conversation with the daily Domani, Becciu said that Pope Francis had thrown him out. He was summoned by Francis, whereupon the latter revealed to him “that I should have favored my brothers and their companies with the money from the State Secretariat”. But nothing about the flow of money was illegal, not even inadmissible. Everything was properly billed.

“I did not steal a euro”, Becciu assured in an interview with “Domani” and added: “I said to the Pope: ‘Why are you doing this to me? Before the eyes of the whole world? ‘”According to information from the weekly newspaper“ L’Espresso ”, around 600,000 euros should have flowed to companies and charitable institutions run by the Beccius brothers between 2013 and 2015. In an interview with the newspaper, the cardinal confirmed the deal, stating that his brother Francesco’s carpenter’s workshop had orders to renew the windows of the nunciatures in Egypt and Cuba, as well as donations from the State Secretariat to a food cooperative of his monitored by Caritas Brother Tonino traded in Sardinia.

“Everything was accounted for and records were kept. What’s wrong with that? ”Said the dismissed prefect indignantly. For the doctor of canon law, a brilliant career ends abruptly after 36 years as a courier, especially in the State Secretariat. As a diplomat of the Holy See, Becciu worked in various functions in African and European countries, as well as in New Zealand and the United States, and finally as a nuncio in Angola and Cuba.

In May 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Becciu as a substitute in the State Secretariat. After his papal election in March 2013, Francis confirmed Becciu in the office that can be compared to that of a head of staff or cabinet in a secular government and is one of the most influential posts in the Vatican. In 2018, Becciu was praised away from the Vatican’s center of power by the Pope and appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Canonization, an insignificant office, but linked to the rank of cardinal. Beccius ‘involvement in the speculative acquisition of a building in the London borough of Chelsea in February 2014 was also cited as a possible reason for Beccius’ dismissal. The Vatican is said to have lost many millions of euros in the deal.

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