Signing a “law,” Francis formally stripped the Vatican’s Secretariat of State headed by Cardinal Parolin of its financial and real estate assets.
The move follows a bungled management of hundreds of millions of euros and investments that are now subject of a corruption investigation.
Further, in the last five years, US$1,7 billion were transferred to unknown recipients in Australia. It is unclear what real effect Francis’ “law” will have. Francis is not known for being law-abiding.
[Comment: In his mission to fulfill his duties Cardinal George Pell evidently made many powerful enemies, criminals, both within the Church and in the secular world at large. Fearing they were going to lose their goose of the golden eggs, they had it in for Pell.]
In his jailhouse memoir, Cardinal Pell meditates on the papacy of Pope Francis, the nature of suffering and his prison experiences, as he fought to clear his name of crimes for which he has consistently maintained his innocence.
In his first interview since returning to Rome following his acquittal on sex abuse charges in Australia, Pell told Associated Press of his efforts as Vatican Treasurer to clean up corruption and stamp out embezzlement, alluding to a possible link between his anti-corruption campaign and being sent back to Australia to face prosecution.
“I hope for the sake of the church, there’s nothing in it,” Pell said. “In fact, I say that quite sincerely, because some Australian people, my own family, said to me: ’Well, if the Mafia is going after you or somebody else is going after you, that’s one thing. It’s a little bit worse if it comes from within the church.”
In an excerpt from the book published by The West Australian, Pell writes, “The pedophilia crisis remains the greatest blow the church has suffered in Australia. If anyone in the mid-nineties knew the extent of the problem, they did not say so publicly, or to me privately. We thought the Melbourne Response would finish its work in a few years.”
The ‘Melbourne Response’ is a reference to the program Pell set up to deal with victims of clerical abuse in 1996 when he was Archbishop of Melbourne. The scheme was heavily criticized for drastically capping victim’s compensation, forcing victims to sign a deed of settlement and waive their right to take civil action.
The first volume of Pell’s prison diary, an account of the first five months of the 404 days he spent in solitary confinement in Melbourne, came out on December 15.