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The Angelo Becciu case: the Pope leaves the handling of billions of euros in the hands of a single “ministry”

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He decided to concentrate the Vatican funds on the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, taking them away from the Secretary of State and other dicasteries.

Given the magnitude of the financial “affair” that led him on Thursday to dismiss the cardinal from his position as “minister” in charge of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints Angelo Becciu, 72, who for years was one of his most influential collaborators, Pope Francis “All changed” and decided to concentrate Thousands million euros of Vatican funds by depositing them in the APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, taking them away from the Secretary of State and other dicasteries.

According to “La Repubblica”, the only Italian newspaper that Jorge Bergoglio confessed to reading regularly, the project was launched ago ten days, When the investigations involving Becciu showed him that he had to make decisions very difficult and that they would produce an earthquake with profound repercussions.

The Argentine pope launched the operation by announcing the dismissal of Becciu in a stormy audience in his office in which he also removed his rights as a cardinal. The hitherto “minister” of the important Los Santos Factory, as they call it, was left an empty title: He will not be able to participate in the Conclave to elect Bergoglio’s successor or in any other activity concerning his position as prince of the Church.

Pope did not close all the doors. She left her the luxurious apartment that Becciu lives in the Vatican and her full salary as a cardinal, which is. five thousand dollars. Also in some interventions he spoke of the “repentance of the prodigal son” and the rescue of conversion that includes the acceptance of all faults. But these allusions were generic, without giving names or circumstances.

The Pope turns 84 in December and according to some Vaticanists, he is entering “into the final part of his pontificate ”, which can last for years. But Bergoglio wants to show that applying the iron fist It is the only remedy he has to put the Vatican’s finances in order from time to time, traversed by huge and endless scandals, which threaten to ruin the prestige of its apostolic mission.

First, the substantive changes would affect the Secretary of State, the body that runs the central government of the Church, also called the Roman Curia. There is nested a deep “non sancto” movement of funds that includes the Óbolo de San Pedro, the donations made by the faithful for the Pope’s works of charity. There is also a reserved fund, whose existence was unknown beyond the walls of the city-state, which would accumulate around 700 million euros.

Usually the person in charge of managing these funds is the Substitute for the Secretariat, the “Minister of the Interior” of the Curia. Between 2011 and 2018 the task was in charge of the then Monsignor Angelo Becciu, who came from the island of Sardinia, whom his position, talent and strong character made him the closer counselor daily life of the Argentine Pope.

In 2014 Becciu planned to invest in an underwater platform in Angola, where he had been the Pope’s apostolic nuncio (ambassador) for years. It was 200 million euros. The business was not done. Enrico Crasso, Becciu’s trusted financier, who runs many reserved Vatican businesses around the world, advised another Italian financier, Raffaele Mincione, who eventually sent the funds into his own finance company, which he bought at 45% of a luxurious ex Harrod’s building in the London borough of Chelsea.

The thousand alternatives of this poisoned business that apparently have given heavy losses to the Vatican, were the starting point of the investigation ordered by the Pope. But Becciu was no longer in the Secretary of State. In 2018 he was promoted to “minister” in charge of the Factory of Santos by the pontiff, who created him a cardinal.

The Pope’s decision to “change everything” for the alternatives in the Becciu case is also due to the additional scandal that erupted after the investigations indicated that the sacred funds of the Mite of San Pedro, destined to the poor, in businesses like the one of the London building.

The clarification that the donations of the Obolo are also destined to sustain the functioning of the Church have not been enough to calm many spirits.

The APSA funnel to concentrate all liquidity should even include the IOR, the Pope’s bank. “La Repubblica” points out that “although certain figures do not exist”, it is estimated that the Heritage Administration could enter around five billion euros in liquidity, plus other billions for properties of the Holy See itself.

This enormous liquidity, which must always be mobilized in commercial and financial operations in order for them to perform, would be in charge of two men of close trust of the Pope. One is the head of the APSA, Monsignor Nunzio Garantino. The other is the Spanish Jesuit father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves. It was he who suggested the strategy to the Pope. Guerrero Alves has been the guide of the Ministry for the Economy for a few months.

If all the Vatican liquidity converges in the APSA, it will be necessary to add the billions that control Propaganda Fide, in charge of the missions around the world, the Governor of the Vatican and the Saint Peter’s Factory.

The reform is of never seen proportions in the modern Church. Among the close allies of the Pope we must add the cardinal Pietro Parolin, the “prime minister” of Francisco, who starred in a clash with Cardinal Becciu when the scandal broke about the handling of funds by the “palazzo” bought in London. Parolin said then that it had been an “opaque” operation.

Also accused of having used Church money to favor his five brothersBecciu maintains that his behavior has been impeccable and that nevertheless the Pope “treated me like the worst of pedophiles, without letting me defend myself.”

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