Catching Up with Indicted Cardinal Angelo Becciu

On July 4, 2021, the Barometer posted the following

Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the former chief of staff for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, was indicted, along with nine others, for money laundering, fraud, and abuse of office. It seems the Vatican investment in some real estate in London’s Chelsea neighborhood went south. The building had been a Harrods Department Store showroom but was to be turned into luxury apartments.

Dreams turned to dust, and the Vatican lost about 350 million Euros in the deal. Turns out that the broker involved has refused to turn over title to the building the Vatican thought it bought. Business risk is inevitable but a broker purloining a building from the Catholic Church is something more than a risk. “Multiply it by infinity, and take it to the depth of forever, and you will still have barely a glimpse of what I’m talking about,” to quote Joe Black, aka Death.

Already, Pope Francis has stripped Cardinal Becciu of his employment as “head of the Vatican’s saint-making department.” The Barometer does not know the qualifications for heading up such a unit, but being under indictment would surely call Cardinal Bicciu’s credentials into question.

Now the update — the trial is ongoing. The Vatican sold the building for $225 million — it had put in about $400 million for purchase and improvements. But prosecutors have also brought in Cecilia Marogona, a self-styled intelligence expert, who was sent 675,000 Euros to use in freeing a nun kidnapped by Islamist militants in Bali.  Got that?

Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez was released on October 9, 2021, five years after being captured.  However, some of the money is missing sent to Cecilia, the intelligence expert, is missing.  Cecilia, not spent at least one night at Cardinal Becciu’s apartment.

However, Cardinal Becciu responded to the speculation about their relationship, Sonia Munda mounds,” or “to the pure in heart everything is pure.”  The Wall Street Journal concluded the cardinal was quoting from an Italian novel, “The Betrothed.”  Actually, the Barometer gives the cardinal a break.  He may be quoting the New Testament, Titus 1:15,Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”

At any rate, the Vatican needs a good accountant and a conviction to clean house. The Pope is hoping for a verdict of innocence.  Somehow, given the cardinal’s questionable conduct, innocence is not a quality that comes to mind.

Francis X. Rocca, “A Cardinal Once Seen as Future Pope Now Faces Prison,”  Wall Street Journal,”  December 13, 2023, A1.

UPDATE:  Giovanni Angelo Becciu was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison for financial crimes.  Yes, Pope Francis’ former chief of staff is going to jail. Elisabetta Povoledo, “Vatican Fraud Scandal Ends in Prison Term for Once-Powerful Cardinal,” New York Times, December 17, 2023, p. A13.

In addition to the shock of financial malfeasance and/or incompetence at the highest levels of the Catholic Church, the Barometer was also surprised to learn that the Pope had a “chief of staff.” The political imagery sends the mind reeling.  Bob  (H.R.) Halderman and all.


About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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