But the Holy Thursday visit sparked rumors of a possible rehabilitation for Becciu, especially when the Vatican press office was slow to confirm the visit, while a person close to Cardinal Becciu said that “Pope Francis himself” gave the cardinal permission to spread the news of the visit.
In another bizarre twist to the story, the official Vatican News portal finally reported the pope's visit to Becciu, quoting “sources from the Focolare movement” and stressing that “since it is a private appointment of the Holy Father, there are no official confirmations for this news.”
However, if Pope Francis had wanted to rehabilitate Becciu, clear communication on his visit would have been the order of the day, authorized by the pope himself. If fact, when Becciu resigned, the pope wanted an official Bollettino to go out so fast that Becciu found out that the news had been made official only when he got back home.
Why, then, did Pope Francis visit Becciu?
It is known that Pope Francis likes to spend Holy Thursday Mass with prisoners and other marginalized groups. Becciu is currently marginalized and under investigation. So, as one source told CNA, “The pope treated Becciu like any other inmate.”
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It is also possible that the pope wanted to show a gesture of mercy. The investigations are stalled, and the latest reports suggest Vatican prosecutors are not even close to a decision. The gesture also shifts the news focus away from Vatican judicial system's perils to the visit itself.
However, Pope Francis' visit could in no way be in view for rehabilitation, a source confident with the Vatican judicial system told CNA.
“Becciu's issue is in the Vatican prosecutor's hands,” the source said. “There are two options: either the pope exercises his power as Supreme Authority, interferes with the judicial power, and asks to stop the investigation; or the pope will make a paternal gesture, leaving the issue in the prosecutor's hands.”