Francis dismisses cardinal in embezzlement scandal
In a very rare move Pope Francis has forced Cardinal Angelo Becciu to resign from all his offices. Becciu had previously already renounced his cardinal rights. The prelate, who has held key posts at the Vatican for years and was responsible for staff and financial affairs, is suspected of having embezzled hundreds of millions of euros from donations and invested them in a London property. The press examines the fallout of the scandal.
Vatican shaken to the core
This is more than a personnel scandal, columnist Ezio Mauro comments in La Repubblica:
“It is about a delicate matter, namely the Vatican's financial crisis. ... Francis is worried about how the Alms of St Peter have shrunk. Because after a high of 101 million in 2006, they fell to 70 million by 2015. For the Pope, discovering under these circumstances that they were being used for private purposes is not only a scandal but a betrayal that undermines the trust of the faithful and, consequently, the Church's evangelisation work and relief efforts. A nightmare for Francis. ... A holy blasphemy.”
Even the pope can't forgive this
Not the material but the spiritual damage prompted Pope Francis to take this step, Vatican expert Gianluigi Nuzzi comments in La Stampa:
“What really undermines a relationship is the lie, the concealment. The fact that a cardinal has lied to the pope is insurmountable, even for a pontiff so committed to indulgence and forgiveness. If a cardinal mutilates the truth in essential aspects, bending it for the sake of what Joseph Ratzinger calls the 'human quest for power', the fraternal embrace becomes inadmissible. This is therefore the most logical key to interpreting what has happened. Becciu has deprived the pope of his trust.”