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Has Cardinal Becciu been reinstated?

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I.Media - published on 08/22/22

Cardinal Angelo Becciu -- charged with embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, extortion, and abuse of office -- says that Pope Francis wants to reinstate him as cardinal.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was stripped of his prerogatives as cardinal-elector by Pope Francis in September 2020, has said that the Pontiff invited him to the upcoming meeting of all the world’s cardinals (August 29-30), and that he intended to reinstate him in the College of Cardinals. These remarks were reported by the Italian press on August 22, 2022. The Vatican press office declined to comment when contacted by I.Media.

According to the Unione Sarda, the former substitute of the Secretariat of State announced plans to attend the August 27 consistory, as well as the meeting that will follow, during a Mass in Golfo Aranci, Sardinia, on August 21.

“On Saturday,” Cardinal Becciu said, “the pope called me to tell me that I would be reinstated as a cardinal and to ask me to attend a meeting of all the cardinals that will be held in the next few days in Rome.”

The Sardinian cardinal is currently charged with embezzlement, abuse of power in an organized group, and witness tampering, at the heart of a trial conducted by the Vatican Tribunal, but he has not stopped claiming his innocence.

Cardinal Becciu was stripped of his prerogatives as cardinal elector — meaning he could not participate in a possible conclave — on September 24, 2020.

Since the opening of the so-called “London building affair” trial in July 2021, four hearings have already been devoted to him. The former deputy of the Secretariat of State — the Vatican’s number three office — was the most senior official in charge at the time of the controversial acquisition of the building. In his defense, he insisted that he had acted on the advice of the Administrative Office in charge of financial matters — headed by Archbishop Alberto Perlasca — but also that of Fabrizio Tirabassi, an official of the same office.

The Holy See’s investigators also accuse the high prelate of having authorized the financing, to the tune of 600,000 euros for the Holy See and 225,000 for the Italian Bishops’ Conference, of his brother’s cooperative in Ozieri, through the local Sardinian division of Caritas. Here again, proclaiming his innocence, Cardinal Becciu acknowledged, among other things, that he had sent sums of money for charitable purposes only.

Finally, his relationship with Cecilia Marogna, an informal diplomatic adviser employed at the request of the Sardinian and accused by the Vatican justice of “misappropriation of funds” has raised questions. After initially invoking papal secrecy, Cardinal Becciu denied any sentimental affair and explained the mission of the Italian woman in the liberation of a nun taken hostage in Mali.

“I hope with all my heart that he is innocent”

Since the beginning of the investigation, the high prelate has denounced the “calumnies” of which he says he is a victim, evoking an “unprecedented media massacre.” He has also declared that he comes to court with “confidence” in the institution and “with his head held high, with a clear conscience”; and has proclaimed his “total willingness to seek and speak about the truth” so that it will come out “as soon as possible.”

In an interview with the Spanish radio station Cope on September 1, 2021, Pope Francis said of Cardinal Becciu: “I hope with all my heart that he is innocent.” He recalled that the Sardinian had been one of his closest collaborators — successively substitute for the Secretariat of State and then prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes — and that he had a “certain esteem” for him as a person, especially because he had “helped him a lot.”

On Holy Thursday, April 1, 2021, the pontiff made the unexpected gesture of visiting the private apartments of the former substitute of the Secretariat of State to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

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