Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Oct 5, 2020 / 12:30 pm
Late last week, multiple Italian newspapers reported that Cardinal Angelo Becciu has been accused of sending 700,000 euros of Vatican funds to Australia during Cardinal George Pell’s trial on charges of sexual abuse.
Those reports, following Becciu’s resignation 10 days ago, come amid a flurry of speculation and interest in the Vatican financial scandal. But while headlines have suddenly grabbed global attention, the slow work of investigation and evidence remains key to resolving a still-unfolding story that has been years in the making.
Following initial reports in Italy last week, the new claims were repeated and amplified by international press this weekend to directly accuse Becciu of using Church funds to facilitate Pell’s prosecution by paying his accusers.
The allegations are, to deploy the commentariat’s preferred qualifier, “Big, if true.”
The accusation that one curial cardinal used Church funds to enable a vexatious accusation of sexual abuse against another, apparently to stymie financial reform, is very “big” indeed. But so too are the many “if’s” that come along with it.
Cardinal Becciu has denied the allegation, and, to date, the charge remains essentially unattributed, and certainly unproven.
Some reports have suggested that the claim is contained in the dossier being compiled by Vatican prosecutors building a case against Becciu for financial misconduct and corruption, and that the financial footprint of the cash travelling from Rome to Australia, via some intermediaries, has been established. But there has – so far - not been any direct attribution of the charge, or any confirmation by the office of the Promoter of Justice.
Other reports have suggested that the origin of the charge could be Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, who served as Becciu’s effective right-hand man at the Secretariat of State until Becciu was promoted out of the department in 2018.