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Cardinal Sepe a target of corruption investigation

Catholic World News - June 21, 2010

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, who served as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples from 2001 to 2006, is among those under investigation in an Italian corruption scandal. In 2004, the congregation reportedly sold a building to Pietro Lunardi, then Italy’s minister for infrastructure and transportation, at a price far below market value. The following year, Mr. Lunardi approved the allocation of transportation ministry funds for the restoration of Church property.

Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, issued a statement on the investigation on June 20.

“Firstly I would like to express my esteem and solidarity with Cardinal Sepe at this difficult time,” he said. “Cardinal Sepe is a person who has worked, and continues to work, for the Church and the people entrusted to him in an intense and generous manner, and as such has the right to be respected and esteemed.”

“Then, naturally, we all hope and trust that the situation will be fully and rapidly clarified, so as to eliminate all shadow of doubt regarding both him personally and Church institutions,” Father Lombardi continued. “Cardinal Sepe-- as he has already stated-- will collaborate for his part to clarify this situation. Naturally the procedural aspects and juridical profile implicit in the correct relations between the Holy See and Italy, will have to be taken into account, should they eventually be connected to this episode.”

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