October 15, 2020
By Nicole Winfield
Pope Francis named a new head for the Vatican’s saint-making office Thursday to replace the once-powerful cardinal at the center of a growing corruption scandal that has raised questions about the current Holy See leadership.
Francis on Thursday promoted the Italian bishop who has been closely involved in efforts to draft a reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, Mons. Marcello Semeraro, to head the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Semeraro has served as the secretary of the commission of cardinals that Francis created in 2013 to reform the organizing constitution of the Vatican Curia.
He replaces Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who was fired as prefect of the saint-making office in September. Francis cited evidence that Becciu, when he was the powerful No. 2 in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, sent 100,000 euros ($117,000) in Vatican funds to a charity controlled by his brother.
Becciu, whose rights and privileges as a cardinal were also yanked, has admitted he sent the money but insisted it was destined for the charity, not his brother.
In the weeks since his ouster, Becciu’s name has increasingly figured in Italian media reports about the Vatican’s corruption investigation, even though his successor in the job, Monsignor Edgar Pena Parra, was actually in charge when questionable payments were made that have cost the Holy See tens of millions of euros.
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