ROME – A powerful Vatican cardinal fired by Pope Francis in a shocking turn for the Vatican’s latest financial scandal has denied that he stole money from the Holy See and that he was not at fault.
Cardinal Angelo Becky presided over an extraordinary news conference, and Francis removed him and assumed his rights and entitlements as cardinal. Becky, 72, a one-time papal contestant, said his fall was “surreal” but said he had a clear conscience, was loyal to Francis and was ready to die for him.
Becky said in a 20-minute meeting Thursday evening that Francis had asked the Vatican saint-making office to step down as prefect, in which the pope said he “no longer trusts me”.
When documents from the Italian financial police say the pope stole 100,000 euros of Holy See money and sent it to a charitable fund he runs, Becky went to the Pope’s residence for a previously scheduled meeting to go on possible Saint ‘candidates. Brother.
The Cardinal’s name has previously been embroiled in a whirlwind financial scandal involving the Holy See investment in a London real estate venture. But Becky said the London investment did not come even on Thursday; Instead, he said the issue that forced his dismissal was the abduction allegation, L’Presso News Magazine reported Friday.
Becky, a former No. 2 member of the Vatican’s secretariat, admitted that in 2017 he sent money from the office’s property fund to his home diocese in Ozieria, Sardinia. Bekiu’s brother, Tonino Bekiu, is the legal representative of the Diocesan Operational Charitable Arm, Space Cooperative.
But Ozier Bishop Corrado Mellis released a statement Friday saying the money had never been used and was in the diocesan boxes for a future project. And the Bekiu family said in its own statement that it had never seen space money.
Beckie said such donations were in full compliance with directives intended by the Secretariat of the State of-the-Books Fund for the charity, and that it was the only time in his seven years that he had approved a donation for his local Sardinia.
“It simply came to our notice then. But I wanted to help the diocese, not my brother, and 100,000 euros for the diocese. “
Beckio said the meeting of Italian bishops recommended donating 300,000 euros to the same charitable fund, but stressed that it was legitimate because it was the decision of the conference. Cooperative is a non-profit that runs a bakery and some vineyards that 60 young people, as Becky says, will not get jobs.
“I do not think I have committed any crime,” Becky told a news conference as he sat in front of a large silver cross at a religious institution not far from St. Peter’s Square.
Becky, who has long considered himself a papal nominee, has said he will not vote in a conference to elect a new pope, relinquishing his rights as cardinal. But he now admits that he can judge others, including Vatican judges, and that not only the pope, he has no cardinal powers.
“If they want to clarify for me, I will clarify,” Becky said of the Vatican prosecutors. “I’m a citizen like everyone else. I’m ready if they call me.”
In his report, El’presso also reported allegations of controversy with Bekiu and his brothers: while he was ambassador to Angola and Cuba, his brother worked as a carpenter for Vatican embassies and he also promoted another brother’s beer business.
Becky denied any involvement in the beer business. But his response was an indication of general acceptance in the Italian-dominated Holy See and demonstrations and demonstrations of unpleasant bias against many Anglo-Saxon corporate cultures, where even the appearance of such conflicts was forbidden.
Becky admitted that he had given work to his carpenter brother while renovating the embassies, but the Vatican State Secretariat approved the work and said it would be impossible to get at least some construction materials locally in Cuba.
“What do I want to do, call a carpenter around Italy to avoid an interesting conflict?” He asked.
Becky clashed with Cardinal George Pel, Francis’ first economic tsar, who was brought in to reform the Vatican’s opaque economic conditions and to impose international accounting standards across the Curia, or bureaucracy.
Pell annoyed the Vatican’s old guard, Becky was also there and finally released a statement on Friday congratulating Francis for taking action.
“He’s been playing a long game and thanks and congratulations for the recent developments,” Pell said in a statement. “I believe the stables will continue to be cleaned up in both the Vatican and Victoria.”
When asked about Pell’s statement, Becky immediately agreed that the two had professional differences. He recalls that he lost his temper when Pell once accused him of being “dishonest.”
When Pell left the Vatican to face trial in his native Australia for allegations of historic sexual harassment, he was finally acquitted, and Becky sent a handwritten note expressing his solidarity and assurances of his innocence.
“If he thinks I’m corrupt, I can do nothing,” Becky said. “My conscience tells me that I am not corrupt.”
Becky said that despite his bitterness, he was loyal to the pope and would vow his allegiance even to death.
“I promised him obedience to the end. I promised to give my life for the church and the pope when I became cardinal,” he said. “I will never betray him.”
Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press