Vatican cardinal Angelo Becciu has said he is “shocked” by “shameful” and “misleading” media reports pinning him for financial wrongdoing in a Vatican London real estate purchase.

Driving the news

Becciu took to Twitter Sunday to lash out at the latest report on financial wrongdoing in the Vatican published by Catholic News Agency (CNA), a service of anti-Pope Francis network EWTN.

In that latest story, canon lawyer Ed Condon repeated his claim heard from anonymous Vatican “sources” that Becciu tried to cancel $200 million in loans on Vatican balance sheets against the value of the property bought with those loans, on Sloane Avenue in London’s Chelsea neighbourhood.

That kind of financial sleight of hand was specifically disallowed by Pope Francis in 2014.

Go deeper

Condon said in his latest report that when Cardinal George Pell, the former Vatican Prefect for the Economy, began looking into the loans for the Chelsea buy, Becciu called the cardinal in for a “reprimand”.

“Becciu summoned the cardinal – summoned him”, a source told Condon for the canon lawyer’s latest story.

“Pell was supposed to be the ultimate authority in monitoring and authorizing all Vatican financial business, answerable only to Pope Francis, but Becciu shouted at him like he was an inferior”.

The insider cited by Condon added that Becciu supposedly told Pell the cardinal was “interfering in sovereign business” by investigating the loans.

“Cardinal Pell was given to understand that as far as [Becciu] was concerned, the prefect was basically an administrative clerk and a rubber stamp, no more”.

Why it matters

Becciu tweeted November 24 to show his disgust at Condon’s stories, describing them as nothing but ‘fake news’.

“Mr. Condon shamefully misled the faithful with another FALSE article (based on the same unreliable ‘sources’ Card. Parolin recently corrected) claiming my involvement in financial impropriety ‘discovered’ by Card Pell. I am shocked by such a way of convincing readers!”, Becciu wrote.

With his reference to the corrections “recently” offered by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, Becciu was seemingly referring to Parolin’s assertion November 20 that it was he, and not Becciu, who arranged a Vatican loan and subsequent Papal Foundation grant to rescue a failing hospital, the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI), jointly owned by the Vatican and an Italian religious order.

Again citing anonymous Vatican “sources”, Condon in the CNA had reported late October that Becciu was responsible for arranging the IDI loan and grant.

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