Editor’s Commentary: The Vatican has a long history of treating crimes among their men of the frock with a soft touch. Those who are known to be child rapists are often moved around, scolded, or simply ignored. This denial of sexual crimes lasts until the public is made aware, at which point the repercussions are still mostly minimal.
But those who steal money from the Vatican receive the maximum penalty as Cardinal Angelo Becciu learned today. He was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for embezzling Vatican money along with other financial crimes.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a major crime and the punishment is suitable. But how can we reconcile this with the knowledge that priests who rape children often go completely unpunished? It’s a contradiction that goes against both secular and Biblical understanding of crime. How long can God-fearing Catholics continue to support leaders who don’t appear to share their values?
Here is the news generated from corporate media articles by Discern Reporter:
The Tribunal of Vatican City State has rendered a verdict in the high-profile case against Cardinal Angelo Becciu, finding him guilty of embezzlement and abuse of office. The case, widely referred to as the Vatican’s “trial of the century,” involved Becciu, along with nine other individuals and four companies, facing charges related to financial misconduct during his tenure in the Secretariat of State.
Following a comprehensive legal process that spanned more than two years, with 86 hearings and 76 witnesses, Judge Giuseppe Pignatone announced the verdicts on Saturday. Cardinal Becciu received a sentence of five and a half years in prison, along with a €8,000 fine, and a permanent ban from holding office.
Several other defendants also received prison sentences: Enrico Crasso (seven years), Cecilia Marogna (three years), Raffaele Mincione (five years), Fabrizio Tirabassi (seven years), and Gianluigi Torzi (six years). Defendants René Brülhart and Tommaso Di Ruzza were fined, while defendant Nicola Squillace received a suspended sentence. Msgr. Mauro Carlino, a former Secretariat of State official, was acquitted of all charges.
The only company found guilty, Logsic Humitarne Dejavnosti, was sanctioned with a $44,000 penalty.
At the center of the trial was a problematic real estate deal in London, where the Secretariat of State incurred a significant loss of $150 million upon the sale of land in the Chelsea neighborhood. Cardinal Becciu faced additional charges unrelated to the real estate deal, including embezzlement through a Sardinian Catholic charity run by his brother and misuse of funds allocated for ransoming a kidnapped nun.
The court ordered confiscations totaling more than $181 million linked to the scandal, and all defendants were collectively mandated to pay approximately $218 million to civil parties.
This historic trial took place in the Tribunal of Vatican City State, the highest civil court within Vatican City. Cardinal Becciu holds the distinction of being the first cardinal to face trial under the Vatican’s civil court system and now stands as the first to be convicted. Despite the verdict, Becciu’s attorney maintains the cardinal’s innocence and has expressed an intention to pursue an appeal.
Notably, Vatican City lacks a prison system, meaning that convicted individuals will serve their sentences under Italian authorities.