The IOR also allegedly twice blocked a sale of shares. Practically speaking, the Maltese society accused the IOR of interfering in the repayment of a debt. They also stressed that the Vatican bank's new management cares more about sullying the old management's good names than they do about doing profitable business.
If this were proven right, it would be pretty serious. However, it would also be another clue to exactly what kind of war is being waged behind the curtains in the halls of Vatican power. Raisons d'Etat and the necessity to preserve the Vatican as an institution are no longer critical. Instead, it is vital to carry forward a specific narrative to help survive during this stormy end of the pontificate.
Gossip in and around the Apostolic Palace is rampant. It was known that Cardinal Becciu was going to be under attack, and the best informed were aware that the situation was going to become problematic. The same people now say that the struggle will be harsh, that information will be leaked, and many stories will be unveiled.
Il Sismografo, a Vatican news aggregator run by a former Vatican radio journalist, noted that the president of the Vatican City tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, , is also an op-ed writer with the GEDI Publishing group, which publishes the daily newspapers Repubblica, La Stampa, Il Secolo XIX, and other 13 local newspapers, as well as the weekly magazine L'Espresso.
Il Sismografo underscored that "a good part of these media owned by GEDI has been conducting for weeks an actual campaign against Cardinal Angelo Becciu," alleging vague wrongdoing on scant evidence and with no trial in sight. "(The attacks) are levied every day, using documents that might be confidential or secrets, some of which – if true – likely stolen from the Vatican (as in the Vatileaks 2 case) and used these days to provide arguments against the Sardinian red hat."
Il Sismografo clarified that there are no suspects, nor might there be, regarding Pignatone's bona fides. However, it noted that the leak of documents is now making it difficult for Cardinal Becciu to enjoy the presumption of innocence, to which – in all fairness – he does have a right.
Will there be a leaks on other Holy See issues? It is probable. Will the IOR's behavior be analyzed once the papers of the Malta trial are not sub judice anymore? It is possible.
Given all of these situations, Cardinal Parolin's exit from the IOR Commission is providential: it helps avoid further erosion of his status as a papabile, as some observer put it.
These whispered words shed light on a fact that must not be underestimated: People are waiting for the end of the pontificate, and they are preparing for the next conclave.
Not by chance, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York sent copies of George Weigel's The Next Pope to his fellow cardinals. Nor is it surprising that any red hat should seek to distance himself from the brewing scandals.
At the same time, whispered rumors say that Pope Francis is preparing his succession, too. Other observers said that Cardinal Becciu was stripped of his cardinalatial prerogative to prevent him from acting like a kingmaker in the next conclave.
(Column continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Other rumors say that Pope Francis may soon summon another consistory to create new cardinals, thus expanding the electoral basis. Currently, the college of cardinals comprises 120 red hats eligible to vote in a conclave; that is precisely the limit set by Paul VI. By expanding the electoral basis, Pope Francis will also expand the influence of the cardinals he created in a conclave.
In the meantime, the Oct. 13 meeting of the Council of Cardinals signals that the Pope is trying to move forward quickly. In the end, the Pope is setting up his legacy: the encyclical Fratelli Tutti will be his intellectual legacy, the Curia reform will be the pragmatic legacy, the expansion of the Conclave electoral basis will be the icing on the cake of the pontificate.