Amid a financial scandal that has indirectly implicated him, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the head of the saint-making office in the Vatican decided to step down from his post and renounce his cardinal rights, Thursday.
The resignation of Becciu was confirmed by the Holy see through an announcement. The statement was that Pope Francis has accepted the decision of the cardinal to renounce the rights he has been awarded as part of the cardinalate and also his resignation from being a prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
According to The Associated Press, there have been no further details given by the Vatican on why the pope accepted the resignation of Becciu.
Based on reports, the Vatican's former secretariat state No. 2, Becciu was reportedly involved in a financial scandal regarding an investment that the Vatican made in a real estate deal in London. The said deal cost the Holy See millions of euros which were paid as fees to middlemen.
Several officials of the Vatican were placed by the Vatican prosecutor under investigation, including the middlemen. However, Becciu was not one of the officials that were investigated. He was only implicated because he has previously defended the original investment's soundness and denied that there was any wrongdoing.
At the moment, it is still unclear whether the resignation on Becciu has any connections to the scandal or a possible separate line of inquiry.
However, the sudden resignation of the cardinal and the severity of his sanction insinuated that there is more to the scandal that what is being let on. In addition, the conservative statement released by the Holy See about the downfall of one of its most powerful officials has caused some raised eyebrows.
According to NBC News, the last time that a cardinal's rights were revoked was during the July 2018 sexual abuse investigation on American cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Last year, McCarrick was deprived of his ecclesiastical status by the pope for the charges of sexual abuse on adults and minors against him.
Moreover, the Vatican's statement also said that Beccui remains a cardinal only without any of the cardinal rights. This was clarified by the statement referring to him as "His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Becciu."
The 72-year-old cardinal would have been part of the conclave which may possibly choose the successor of the current Vatican sovereign, Pope Francis. However, by renouncing his rights, he also ceased his right to take part in the vote.
The financial scandal which Becciu has been implicated in dates back to 2014. This is when the Vatican decided to venture on a real estate deal and invested more than $200 million in an Italian businessman-run fund. The said deal resulted in the Holy See having 45% of the luxury building situated in London's Chelsea neighborhood at 60 Sloane Ave.
The money which was used was from the asset portfolio of the secretariat which is largely funded by the donations of Catholics around the world for charity use of the pope and expenses in the Vatican.
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