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Cardinal Becciu says Pope Francis will restore his cardinal rights regardless of ongoing trial

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Cardinal Angelo Becciu, whose cardinal rights have been stripped by Pope Francis in late 2020 amid Vatican monetary scandals, confirmed to Italian media on Monday (Aug. 22) that the pope plans to revive his privileges and permit him to attend the upcoming summit of cardinals.

“On Saturday the pope referred to as me to inform me that my cardinal features shall be reintegrated and to ask me to take part in a gathering with all cardinals that may happen within the upcoming days in Rome,” Becciu instructed attendants at Mass on Sunday on the island of Sardinia off the Italian coast.

The information was initially reported by native papers and later revealed by the Italian information company, Ansa.

“I’m very moved by this gesture by the pope,” Becciu instructed Ansa on Monday. “I sincerely thank him and make sure as soon as once more my full communion with him.”

Cardinals from all over the world will convene on the Vatican subsequent Saturday (Aug. 27) for an peculiar consistory, the place they may talk about points going through the church and welcome 21 new cardinals into the fold.

Pope Francis stripped Becciu of his cardinal rights and Vatican titles on Sept. 24, 2020, following reviews of his involvement in monetary scandals and corruption, whereas permitting him to keep up the title of cardinal. Earlier than that, Becciu had been substitute, the third-highest-ranking place on the Vatican, and later headed the Vatican division charged with administering sainthoods.

Over the past consistory, in November 2020, Becciu was not allowed to attend, although Francis referred to as him after saying Mass earlier than the newly minted cardinals, which Becciu described as a “ray of sunshine.”

Pope Francis arrives to rejoice Mass the day after he raised 13 new cardinals to the very best rank within the Catholic hierarchy, at St. Peter’s Basilica, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Picture/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)

In 2021, on Holy Thursday ahead of the Easter celebrations, Pope Francis personally visited Becciu in his home where he celebrated Mass.

Becciu is currently charged, along with nine other curial members and employees, in a corruption and money laundering trial at the Vatican. Prosecutors declare the cardinal siphoned cash to his brothers and performed a key position within the controversial buy of actual property in London that, they declare, price the Catholic establishment practically 400 million euros.

The trial is scheduled to renew in late September.

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The cardinal and his authorized workforce have adamantly defended themselves from critics and media shops reporting the scandals. In November 2020, Becciu filed defamation charges against the Italian newspaper l’Espresso, which was accountable for breaking lots of the reviews concerning his alleged monetary malfeasance.

Within the court docket submitting, obtained by Faith Information Service, Becciu’s legal professionals accuse the newspaper of “media murder” and allege that their reporting has hindered not solely the cardinal’s profession however the Catholic Church as properly. In a piece titled “On dropping an opportunity,” Becciu’s legal professionals declare that due to l’Espresso’s reviews he’ll now not be capable to attend the conclave, which selects the subsequent pontiff.

His legal professionals additionally declare the reviews hindered their shopper’s probability to develop into pope himself, since he was till then thought of a possible successor or “papabile.”

The truth that Becciu will now not be capable to attend the conclave may additionally undermine the complete election course of, the doc states, since it’d result in “divisions within the church” concerning “the validity of the election of the Holy Father, with all of the doctrinal implications that would derive from it.”

Becciu’s lawyer on the Vatican trial, Fabio Viglione, confirmed to Faith Information Service on Monday that his shopper was invited to attend the consistory by the pope. He declined to touch upon the implications this determination has on the continuing Vatican trial.

Viglione additionally stated the lawsuit in opposition to l’Espresso is ongoing.

The Vatican instructed RNS it doesn’t plan to launch an announcement on this situation at the moment.

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