Someday after his sudden, shocking 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 mentioned when reporters peppered him with questions on embezzlement allegations. He mentioned 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 “best, 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 lately as a serious character in conspiracies about alleged makes an attempt 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 mentioned on the information convention that his life had been upturned after the pope advised him on Thursday afternoon “that he now not has religion in me, as a result of prosecutors advised him that I had dedicated acts of embezzlement.”
He mentioned he turned pale, and that the pope, too, seemed 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 wherein the Vatican is believed to have misplaced hundreds of thousands — together with funds from “Peter’s Pence,” donations for charity given by the devoted.
However the cardinal mentioned the true property transaction hadn’t come up in any respect throughout his assembly with the pope. And he mentioned 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 stories 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 mentioned he had not been contacted by prosecutors, however that he can be keen 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 mentioned of his members of the family, “their home, which automobiles 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 mentioned he had felt “like a good friend of the pope, a devoted executor of the pope.” However even after his dressing down, he mentioned of Francis, “I’ll by no means betray him.”
He mentioned he hoped that Francis would see “that it was all an enormous misunderstanding.”