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Italian journalist charges that Vatican bank prelate is protected by 'gay lobby'

Catholic World News - July 18, 2013

An influential Vatican journalist has explicitly charged that the newly installed prelate of the Vatican bank has engaged in homosexual misconduct, and has been protected by other officials at the Vatican.

Sandro Magister of L’Espresso reports that Msgr. Battista Ricca provided room and a job for a male companion while he was assigned as a Vatican diplomat in Uruguay between 1999 and 2001. The Italian cleric also frequented gay bars, and was once beaten in an altercation at a bar.

Magister goes on to charge that although these incidents were well known, there were not noted on Msgr. Ricca’s personnel records— presumably because sympathetic Vatican officials were protecting him.

More recently Msgr. Ricca has been the director of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the residence where Pope Francis has chosen to live. He won the Pope’s confidence, and in June the Pontiff named him to become the prelate of the Institute for Religious Works, the Vatican bank. The post is an important one. The IOR has been heavily criticized for questionable financial transfers, and the Pontiff needs a trustworthy aide to supervise the workings of the bank as he weighs plans for reform.

According to Magister, Pope Francis was not informed of the scandals in Msgr. Ricca’s past until after he had made the appointment. The background information emerged, the Italian reporter says, when Pope Francis met with members of the Vatican diplomatic corps. Now the prelate is facing pressure to resign, Magister says. Another respected Vatican journalist, Andrea Tornielli, has disagreed, saying that Msgr. Ricca regains the Pope’s full support.

Magister had alluded to problems in Msgr. Ricca’s past in a column published earlier this year, referring to “scandalous” conduct and “pink power.” His new report in L’Espresso is far more explicit, providing names and details.

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