Protecting Rupnik? Francis Removes Cardinal-Vicar of Rome

Pope Francis has removed the cardinal-vicar of Rome and one of the city’s auxiliary bishops, in a move which is suggested to be due to personal conflicts and objections to the Pope’s handling of the Father Marko Rupnik case.

Announced by the Holy See Press Office bulletin April 6, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Angelo De Donatis as cardinal-vicar of Rome, to become Apostolic Penitentiary.

This was announced along with resignation of one of Rome’s auxiliaries, Bishop Daniele Libanori who is now moved to become an assessor of the Pope for consecrated life.

Not named in the resignation list, but de-facto included by virtue of De Donatis’ appointment, was 79-year-old Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who has led the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary since September 2013, being styled as “one of the first illustrious victims” of the Francis pontificate, after he was removed from his position as prefect of Congregation for the Clergy some months after Francis became pope. He is due to receive his pension later this year, upon attaining his 80th birthday.

Italian site Messa in Latino (MiL) predicted the immediate announcement on Friday, with well-sourced rumors having been in circulation for some weeks.

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