Vatican cardinal says ouster deprived him of possible papacy

The Vatican cardinal sacked by Pope Francis amid a corruption investigation is suing an Italian news magazine, claiming that his ruined reputation has eliminated his chances of becoming pope and will undermine the legitimacy of any future papal election.

Cardinal Angelo Becciu is seeking 10 million euros ($11.9 million) in damages, to be given to charity, in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Sassari, Sardinia tribunal against L’Espresso magazine, the weekly affiliated with Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The 74-page complaint raises questions about the conduct of Vatican criminal prosecutors, suggesting they leaked information to L’Espresso as they sought to build a corruption case around the Holy See’s 350 million-euro ($416 million) investment in a London real estate venture.

I know the rules say we aren’t allowed to criticize clergy so I’ll allow the article to speak of the ex Cardinal.


If someone really desires to be pope, then they defineitly shouldn’t be pope.


I think the article is plenty.

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I guess it’s possible he would have been a candidate for being elected, though I highly doubt he would have been chosen. He’s Italian, so he has that working against him, as I think the college is probably predisposed to select someone from outside of Europe again, or at least not an Italian who has spent the better part of the last decade working in the Vatican bureaucracy. I wouldn’t have bet any money on him.

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I have heard that the next pope, most likely, will be Cardinal Tagle (whose legit nickname is “The Asian Francis”). God help us all if that’s true.


He who enters the conclave as pope, exits as cardinal.


Lord, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Does this guy realize how he makes himself look to the vast majority of people outside Vatican City, and does he even care?


The vast majority inside too one must suspect.

I’d love to know how he calculates the value of his damages claim. Is €10,000,000 what he reckons to be the lifetime earnings of a pope? Book deals, product endorsements and the like?

Was this guy even in the running to be the pope? I would guess that anybody who is the kind of person to be seriously calculating his chances of being elected pope is probably going to be given a wide berth by his fellow cardinals, who will surely have a good sense of what sort of person he is.


It makes one wonder how he ever got selected to be a Cardinal in the first place


Even if a Pope made that kind of money, would he be able to keep any of it?

This article says Popes don’t get paid.

Setting aside the stuff in the article about Pope Francis being under a vow of poverty as a Jesuit (and I know all the jokes about Jesuit “poverty”, but Francis seems to have taken it pretty seriously throughout his life, riding the bus around in his last job for example), would it be okay for a Pope to have a private income from books or real estate or anything other than family inheritance (which I presume a Pope would be allowed to keep, unless he was in a religious order that didn’t allow it)?

Where does a Pope get walking-around money? His living expenses, food, clothes, and travel, which I presume would include stuff like a restaurant meal if he wanted to have it, are all covered. But what if he wanted to buy somebody a (reasonably priced) gift, like send birthday or wedding gifts to his relatives? Or, as the article suggests, buy something he saw on Amazon? Does that have to come out of a charity fund even though the recipients might not be poor? Or does he just mention to his staff that he saw on Amazon a new book by so-and-so is out and he’d like to read it, and they magically come up with a copy and charge it to the Vatican?

Monarchs don’t have salaries. The concept is meaningless.

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Yes, I understand that. My question is, does the Pope have any sort of personal money other than by family inheritance, and if so, where does he get it, since clearly he doesn’t get it by salary?

Would a Pope, for example, ever keep book proceeds?

Your average monarch has access to some kind of money obtained through taxes or use of Crown lands, or, in past eras, by conquering other nations to build his coffers. Obviously none of this applies to the Pope nowadays. The account he supposedly has access to is deemed a “charity account” and seems to be provided for him to use to help the poor or help evangelism efforts, not for buying somebody’s new baby a present when they aren’t impoverished.

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Ultimately all Vatican wealth comes from the charity of the faithful.

Peter’s Pence was traditionally the contribution used to cover the expenses of the Holy See, including the Pope’s expenses.





I see the note in the thread starter about clergy criticism being against forum rules.

Is it a criticism to say that I laughed out loud when I read this overall post? And that it seems like the Holy Father done gone and did a wise thing by firing a person who is openly ambitious of the papacy and thinks it’s reasonable to publicly sue for millions when he thinks that ambition has been stifled?

Even setting aside the corruption investigation, this self-revelation of this specific ambition comes across as so ominous I’m thrilled to be hearing about it in the context of that ambition being stifled.


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From what I have read, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI actually does earn pretty serious money (in the region of several millions) from his books. However, it all goes into a foundation in his name to be spent on educational and charitable activities. I read that now that he is retired, he gets €30,000 p.a. I’d be interested to know what he spends it on. My guess would be that most of that goes to charity as well, because the pope emeritus probably doesn’t really have to buy anything. The fact that popes don’t generally retire is a good reason for their not needing any personal wealth. But you do raise a curious question. Say if the pope’s family members come over to visit him from Argentina, can he take them out for a pizza? Possibly in Rome it would be considered such an honor to have the pope and his family in your restaurant that it would all be on the house. I’m sure I have read that Pope Benedict didn’t have to pay for his grand piano, for example.

I remember reading something about the personal wealth of cardinals. Again, it seemed that a lot of cardinals live a fairly expensive lifestyle, e.g. lots of flights if they don’t live in the Vatican, impressive residences, etc, but that all this is covered by the Church or Catholic charities. They mostly have very little personal money.

I am reminded a bit of the situation with US presidents until Truman. When Truman retired, his only income was from his army pension of $1,350 p.a. (about $13,170 today), which obviously made him pretty poor compared with the average US citizen at the time. Even his memoirs only earned him the equivalent of $360,000 today, which sounds like a lot of money but is very little compared with people like the Clintons and the Obamas (one could hardly compare the Bushes or President Trump, who come from money already). Added to that, he was also in debt and had to sell off his small inheritance from his parents. So, that is why Congress began to provide a pension for former presidents. I think it’s very much to Hoover’s credit that he accepted the pension despite being a wealthy man: $25,000 p.a. is not a lot to the federal government of the United States, and the fact that Hoover accepted it avoided causing embarrassment to Truman.

Pope Francis elevated him to Cardinal Deacon in 2018. I guess he thought better of him then. Clearly not the first pope to have misjudged a man’s character before elevating him to cardinal!



Benedict XVI chose Becciu to be sostituto in 2011 and every one for the past 100 years has become a Cardinal and many were considered papabile, candidates to be elected Pope, eg Montini, Benelli, Re, etc.

(The Substitute for General Affairs of he Secretariat of State is the second ranked position at State. He becomes the Pope’s chief of staff, controlling what and who the Pope sees and overseeing the implementation of the Pope’s wishes. )

Becciu became Cardinal in his next assignment at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, an assignment he received around the same time that Pell was called back to Australia. I am not sure how much knowledge or choice Francis had at that point, though he certainly would have known Becciu well.


It’s probably no different than any other priest or bishop. They receive a salary–which ultimately comes from donations–and they can do whatever they want with it. The Pope may not have a salary, but I’m sure he has a “do whatever I want” account. Like other secular clergy, a Pope can have personal property he earned along the way, or received from inheritance, which could include income generating property, etc. I don’t think Popes take vows of poverty (unless a member of an order that does).

I’m sure this Cardinal is putting a dollar amount on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the Pope. But yeah, this just makes this guy look more guilty and avaricious.

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So did I. But I worry how many other badly chosen Cardinals there are

Maybe Papa Francis will somehow oust them too!

I will say, and I mean this with respect though I imagine it’ll make virtually no commenters happy, I think one of Pope Francis’s strengths is similar to Presidents Trump’s strength. They seem to both have a certain temperament and grit in terms of how they approach things.

I may not always agree with the approach or expressiveness of either man – but I do appreciate that they both have quite thick skin and just do what they do and say what they think. And that does seem to lend them both a certain ability to just ignore their counsellors and break through ossified red tape.

Obviously at other times we moan and wish they’d listen to their counsellors (or learn to ignore them at other times, e.g. I feel so sad about the bad counsel it seems is being given on China – my private opinion lacking access to all facts, of course). But I actually feel cautiously optimistic that Pope Francis might be willing to clean house if actually persuaded that the house is dirty. He does strike me as a man capable of facing threats and complication and just plowing forward anyway, come what may. That could be a decent trait when there’s corruption to be scrubbed, because the corrupt will always try to cling and threaten and cajole; you need someone willing to just say “no” and call them “caca” (a word he seems publicly fond of). There really is a place for bulls in a China shop who don’t mind breaking things.

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