Someday after his sudden, stunning dismissal by Pope Francis, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, a robust Vatican official, confirmed at a information convention in Rome on Friday that the pope disciplined him over allegations of corruption. However the cardinal declared that he was harmless of any wrongdoing.
“My conscience tells me I’m not corrupt,” Cardinal Becciu stated when reporters peppered him with questions on embezzlement allegations. He stated he was “a bit dazed,” and nonetheless grappling with what he described as a “surreal” scenario.
Over a profession spanning a long time within the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Becciu had grow to be a heavyweight within the Vatican hierarchy, described by one Vatican observer because the “most interesting, most knowledgeable and attentive diplomat working contained in the Holy See.” His most up-to-date place was head of the Vatican division that creates saints.
However he additionally emerged in recent times as a significant character in conspiracies about alleged attempts to undercut monetary reforms promoted by Cardinal George Pell, who headed the Vatican’s financial arm till he needed to return to Australia to face accusations of sexual abuse.
Cardinal Becciu stated on the information convention that his life had been upturned after the pope informed him on Thursday afternoon “that he now not has religion in me, as a result of prosecutors informed him that I had dedicated acts of embezzlement.”
He stated he turned pale, and that the pope, too, gave the impression to be “struggling” as he requested the cardinal to step down from his departmental place. He additionally was stripped of the rights that include being a cardinal, together with voting for the following pontiff.
There was a lot hypothesis within the media that Cardinal Becciu was ousted due to a murky and complex London actual property deal during which the Vatican is believed to have misplaced tens of millions — together with funds from “Peter’s Pence,” donations for charity given by the devoted.
However the cardinal stated the actual property transaction hadn’t come up in any respect throughout his assembly with the pope. And he stated that funds from Peter’s Pence had not been used to finance the acquisition of the London property.
The Vatican on Friday declined to remark.
The cardinal additionally responded to widespread media reviews of his alleged corruption throughout his lengthy stint on the Secretariat of State, the Vatican division which oversees the diplomacy and administration of the Holy See. He went over every allegation, proclaiming his innocence.
The prelate stated he had not been contacted by prosecutors, however that he can be prepared to talk to them.
He accused the media of getting an agenda “to indicate that Becciu financed his household, made his household wealthy.” However he insisted that this isn’t true.
“You possibly can go and see how they dwell,” he stated of his members of the family, “their home, which vehicles they drive and what number of they’ve, you’ll see that their life has continued as regular.”
When he’d walked into the assembly with the pope on Thursday, Cardinal Becciu stated he had felt “like a pal of the pope, a devoted executor of the pope.” However even after his dressing down, he stated of Francis, “I’ll by no means betray him.”
He stated he hoped that Francis would see “that it was all an enormous misunderstanding.”