Did the Pope Personally Participate in the Pilfering of Peter’s Pence?

Francis not only had been kept informed of every step of the London deal, actually approving it, but personally intervened in at least one crucial moment of the affair.

While at the Vatican the trial of Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu and the other defendants is approaching its fifth hearing without ever really getting started, the third and final volume of Cardinal George Pell’s “Prison Journal” has been published in the United States, which in some of its pages draws a profile of Becciu that is anything but uplifting.

In essence, Pell points to the one who was substitute secretary of state from 2011 to 2018 as the most tenacious opponent to the cleanup and reorganization of Vatican accounts that in 2014 Pope Francis entrusted to Pell himself, as prefect of the newly created Secretariat for the Economy.

Below are the pages of the diary in which Pell refers to this resistance, which had its bastion in the Secretariat of State.

Pell does not discuss the trial that is now underway at the Vatican, which mainly concerns the botched purchase of a building in London by the Secretariat of State. He limits himself to noting that he had intuited from the beginning that the deal was wrong and should not have been done, and that he said as much, unfortunately going unheeded and instead being quickly deprived of his powers.

It is understandable, therefore, that in his diary Pell should cheer the fact that the swindle has gone to trial, thanks in part to the personal “insistence” of Pope Francis.

But in terms of this trial that came to its fourth hearing on November 17, while he was in prison writing his diary Pell certainly could not have known about its haywire judicial workings, or the blatant violation of the right to a defense, much less the possible developments that threaten to entangle and topple none other than Pope Francis himself.

Because this is precisely what sparked the hearing of November 17.

When Vatican tribunal president Giuseppe Pignatone opened the proceedings many matters were still unclear, as reconstructed point by point in this post that the Catholic News Agency published that same morning: Vatican finance trial: What’s happened so far and where is it heading?

But then it happened that Luigi Panella, the attorney for one of the defendants, extracted from the copious deposition of the main accuser of Cardinal Becciu and the other defendants, the prelate Alberto Perlasca, the following statement from promoter of justice Alessandro Diddi, who was questioning him: “Monsignor, what you are saying is beside the point. We went to the Holy Father and asked him what happened, and I may have my doubts about everyone except for the Holy Father.” This submission of witness testimony from Pope Francis, however, prompted the attorney Panella’s objection that “we have no transcript,” which would prevent the trial from continuing.

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