Promoter of Justice Alessandro Diddi obtained the three letters directly from the “sovereign authority,” that is, Pope Francis himself.
In one letter, dated July 20, 2021, Becciu asked the pope to confirm that he had given the go-ahead for an investment by the Secretariat of State in a luxury property in London in 2013. Not only that, Becciu also asked the pope to acknowledge that he had personally approved the hiring of an intermediary, Cecilia Marogna, to help secure the release of Sister Cecilia Narvaez, the Colombian nun kidnapped in Mali in 2017 and freed in 2021.
In a style that seems more legalistic than Pope Francis’ usual writing, the pope wrote back on July 21 to say that Becciu’s letter surprised him. Instead of granting the confirmation that Becciu sought, the pope emphasized that the proposal for the purchase of the property in London “immediately seemed strange to me.” For that reason, he wrote, “I suggested that a prior consultation be carried out with the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and with Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, prefect of the SPE, for the insights of their respective competences.”
The phone call and new letter
On July 24, Cardinal Becciu telephoned Pope Francis and secretly recorded their conversation. In the phone call, Becciu complained that the pope’s letter of July 21 was like a verdict issued against him. He asked for it to be annulled, telling the pope that the tone of his letter was “entirely juridical” rather than that of a spiritual father.
Becciu asked the pope if he remembered that he gave him “the authorization to free the nun” and then told the pope that it would be enough for him if the pope said he authorized him to carry out particular operations. The pope responded by asking to send in writing “explanations and what he would like me to write.”