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Inside the VaticanMarch 23, 2023
Cardinal Angelo Becciu is pictured after being made a cardinal by Pope Francis during a consistory in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican in this June 28, 2018, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

On July 27, 2021, a trial began inside the Vatican Museums before a bench of three judges of the Vatican City State’s court. Now, more than 600 days since arguments began in the specially remodeled Vatican rooms, the trial continues.

At the center of the trial is Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the substitute for General Affairs at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State from 2011-18, the equivalent of the Vatican’s chief of staff. He is being tried for embezzlement and abuse of his office. The cardinal is also the highest-ever prelate to be tried by the tribunal since Pope Francis changed the Vatican’s rules in April 2021 to allow bishops and cardinals to stand trial in civil and criminal matters.

Cardinal Becciu was effectively responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Holy See for 7 years, before he was appointed prefect of the then-Congregation for the Causes of Saints, until he suddenly resigned from that role and relinquished his privileges as cardinal, which include the right to vote in any future conclave.

It is alleged the Chelsea, London, property was paid for, in part, using funds collected from Peter’s Pence, a Vatican fund intended to help the church in its various needs across the world.

The trial principally investigates the controversial $225 million purchase of an investment property in Chelsea, London, which is one of the wealthiest districts in the world. It is alleged the property was paid for, in part, using funds collected from Peter’s Pence, a Vatican fund intended to help the church in its various needs across the world, especially in its outreach and relief to the most materially impoverished people and places.

This week on “Inside the Vatican,” co-hosts Ricardo da Silva, S.J., and Gerard O’Connell discuss the most recent happenings at the Vatican’s mega-trial of the century and what has surfaced from the testimony of key witnesses. In the second half of the show, the hosts look at allegations arising from a new documentary on Polish television which alleges that when Pope John Paul II was archbishop of Krakow he knew of and covered up allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by three priests under his care.

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