written by: Carter Daniels, Staff Writer
Pope Francis approved the unexpected resignation of cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu. Becciu was suspected of giving money he made from the church to his brothers, but has repeatedly denied these allegations.
Resignations at this level of the Vatican are extremely rare, and the pope has said very little about the incident since this story was released to the public on Sept. 24.
Before this controversy, Becciu was a close friend with Pope Francis. He previously held a job in the Vatican’s secretariat of state. From 2011 to 2018, Becciu met Pope Francis almost every day, and also traveled with him while serving the powerful role of Substitute for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State.
According to reports in the Financial Times and Catholic News Agency, he helped oversee a $200 million investment in 2014 that is now under investigation. Recently, there has been a financial investigation started by the Vatican due to his involvement in a controversial investment in a building in London, which he paid for with church funds.
Details of the report include that Becciu borrowed money from Swiss bank accounts, which was kept confidential from the curial accounts at the Vatican.
“I didn’t steal even one euro. I am not under investigation (by law enforcement), but if they send me to trial, I will defend myself,” Becciu said to Italian website Domani.
Speaking later at a news conference, the former cardinal commented that his removal had come “like a bolt out of the blue.”
Many were shocked by the news of the pope’s longtime colleague.
“I felt a friend of the pope and a loyal servant of the pope,” Becciu said in a weekly report meeting.
“I do not trust you anymore,” Pope Francis interrupted, prompting Becciu to immediately give his statement of resignation.
“I think for me it makes me hopeful that change is coming, but at the same time it brings about an element of skepticism,” junior Grace Harley, who is on the 10 p.m. mass committee, commented.
The former cardinal also said he had received no formal word from authorities that he was under investigation or being charged with a crime.
Because he is no longer an active cardinal, Becciu would not be eligible to vote to elect Francis’ successor. Although his power is taken away, Becciu has acknowledged many times that he would appeal his case.