Cardinal Pell challenges Cardinal Becciu to explain fund transfers to Australia
December 16, 2021
CWN Editor's Note: Cardinal George Pell has challenged Cardinal Angelo Becciu to explain the transfer of over $2 million in Vatican funds to Australia.
The Vatican transfers were authorized by Cardinal Becciu—who is now the key figure in a Vatican financial trial—at a time when Australian prosecutors were building a sex-abuse case against Cardinal Pell. The Secretariat of State, where Cardinal Becciu was then stationed, has never given a public account of the transfers.
“I have one question for Cardinal Becciu,” Cardinal Pell said in a conversation with Joan Frawley Desmond of the National Catholic Register. “Will he just tell us what the money was sent for?”
According to one explanation reportedly offered by a former official of the Secretariat of State, the funds were intended for Cardinal Pell’s legal defense. “That’s certainly not true,” the Australian cardinal told the Register. “We certainly received nothing.”
Cardinal Pell said that if the Secretariat for the Economy had been allowed to investigate the finances of the Secretariat of State, an audit would have called attention to a London real-estate deal that is now the central focus of the Vatican trial. If the proper questions had been raised, he said, the Vatican “would not have lost so much money” in that deal.
Questioned about the trial in which Cardinal Becciu is the leading defendant, Cardinal Pell said: “I’m not confident of anything with the Vatican trial. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m not even entirely sure that it will go ahead. It might fail for legal reasons.”
Cardinal Pell was convicted of sexual abuse in 2018, and jailed until Australia’s top court overturned the conviction in 2020. He spoke to the Register about the three-volume collection of his prison journals.
The Australian cardinal also mentioned that he occasionally visits Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI when he is in Rome. “He is failing,” he said; “He is very, very weak.”
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