A Vaticanist is urging the Pope to bring transparency to the “circus” of disinformation on the latest round of Holy See financial scandals.
– A new ‘Vatileaks’ doing “damage” to Church, papacy, faithful
“We are now in the heart of a new Vatileaks (no. 3) after the first (2012) and the second (2015), which have caused so much damage to the Church, to the papacy and in particular to the humble and simple heart of the members of the Holy People of God”, Vatican expert Luis Badilla wrote Friday on the Il Sismografo Catholic news aggregator that he edits.
“The mechanisms, styles and methods of Vatileaks 3 are identical to those of the previous two, only the protagonists change”, Badilla lamented.
Badilla said he sought with his post only “to ask some questions, on tiptoe” and with humility and “without expecting answers from anyone”. “Mine is an invitation to stop and reflect and go back up the slope”, he wrote.
He added that he was referring to the relationships between Vatican officials and journalists – mostly Italian – that have resulted in a torrent of information over the past week on the latest corruption scandals to shake the Holy See.
– A “crisis of trust and credibility” fuelled by Vatican opacity
“As in the days of Vatileaks 1 and Vatileaks 2, among many journalists, editors, so-called experts, authoritative sources and high-ranking prelates, a dirty plot has been created that… presented and presents itself as ‘true and authoritative'”, Badilla observed.
He was referring to the “dozens of reports, revelations [and] scoops… with abundant anonymous quotes” that have been published on the scandal surrounding defenestrated Cardinal Angelo Becciu, and which reports he said have been designed “to fuel a media campaign against or in favor of the Pope”.
But Badilla wrote that amid the “real circus” of information that has come out since Cardinal Becciu was relieved of his duties at the Vatican saints’ department and of his rights as a cardinal over alleged financial malpractice “none of us… is able to verify the reliability and above all the truthfulness” of the facts alleged.
“The Vatican, specifically Pope Francis, could spare his pontificate and the Church this crisis of trust and credibility by using transparency and parrhesia [free speech] in a timely manner”, the Vaticanist implored.
On September 24, the Holy See Press Office announced that “the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and from the rights connected to the Cardinalate presented by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu”.
But Badilla wondered why the Vatican did not at that point also announce a criminal trial for Becciu and his alleged associates if there was enough evidence to demand the cardinal’s resignation, and why a week later the Holy See has still not confirmed any criminal proceedings.
“Everything must be done to stop the leaks”, Badilla furthermore pleaded with regard to the disinformation on the corruption scandals. He also urged the Pope to action: “This fratricidal war was born in the heart of the Church and must be stopped in the heart of the Church”.
The Vatican statement September 24 confirming Becciu’s resignation is the only official information the Holy See has provided to date on the latest corruption allegations.
Hidden in a Vatican News interview October 1, however, was the assertion by the Prefect of the Vatican Father Secretariat for the Economy, Juan Antonio Guerrero, that “as far as I know” the losses incurred by the Holy See in the purchase attributed to Becciu of a London property were not covered by the ‘Peter’s Pence’ donations of faithful from around the world.
On September 30, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin also made reference to the scandal surrounding Becciu, and said “the episode that we are witnessing has deeply saddened us. We hope that things will be clarified”.
“I am sorry for all those involved: for them it is also a great pain. But we hope that everything is clarified and there is a willingness of the part of everyone to follow the Pope on the path of correctness and transparency”, Parolin added.