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Vatican Money Scandal Brewing?

Edward Pentin, Rome correspondent for National Catholic Register (EWTN screenshot)

Phil Lawler:

Back in June 2016 I made a prediction about the next Vatican scandal:

This time the subject will not be sex, but that other rich lode of corruption: money.

When the police raid on Vatican offices was followed by the resignation of the Vatican’s top police official. We still don’t know what happened but it’s abundantly clear that another “turf war” has begun— or perhaps I should say “escalated”— inside the Vatican, precipitated by an investigation into questionable financial deals.

Lawler points to this eyebrow-raising analysis from National Catholic Register‘s Edward Pentin, who explains what might be going on with the forced resignation of Domenico Giani, the Vatican security chief. Excerpts:

“The reason why he has resigned is fake,” said an informed source. “They could not find a good reason to dismiss him, they did not want to disclose the internal reasons for doing so, and so used this story as an easy instrument to get him out.”

Anonymous sources cited a number of reasons, one in particular being that he was too closely allied to the “old guard” and involved in resistance to clearing out financial and other corruption in the Vatican.

This came into sharp focus during the dismissal of the Vatican’s first auditor general, Libero Milone, in 2017. Milone told media at the time he had been forced out after launching an investigation into a possible conflict of interest involving an unnamed Italian cardinal.

He said his phones were bugged and computers hacked and that Cardinal Angelo Becciu (then sostituto, deputy secretary of state) had told Milone to resign on the basis of a seven-month investigation by Vatican police.

Cardinal Becciu alleged at the time that Milone “was spying on the private lives of his superiors and staff, including me,” and that if he had “not agreed to resign, we would have prosecuted him.”

But Milone said the facts presented to him on the morning of his dismissal “were fake, fabricated” and that he was “in shock,” as “all the reasons” given for his dismissal “had no credible foundation.”

“I was threatened with arrest,” he said, adding that Giani “intimidated me to force me to sign a resignation letter that they had already prepared weeks in advance.”

Milone also said he suspected that his forced dismissal was linked to the arraignment of Cardinal George Pell, who was then serving as the prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, on sexual-abuse charges in Australia, as the two events occurred within a week of each other. Both were uncovering extensive evidence of financial mismanagement at the time.

The Vatican withdrew all charges against Milone last year.

Trust me, you’ll want to read it all. The penultimate graf:

His resignation might also have something to do with the publication of a new book next week by the Italian investigative reporter Gianluigi Nuzzi, which threatens to herald another Vatileaks scandal.

Here we go again. I am reminded of something a high-level Vatican insider told me within the past year: that in the insider’s opinion, Cardinal Pell was framed because of the things he was uncovering, and second, that this person is disgusted by the entanglement of gay sex and financial corruption in Vatican circles.

The Nuzzi book, Via Crucis (The Way Of The Cross) will be published in the US in the next couple of weeks. According to Nuzzi’s website, it will reveal a web of extensive financial corruption in the Vatican, as well as the reason that, in his words, “finally makes us understand why Benedict XVI resigned.”

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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