Rome – The powerful head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, resigned suddenly on Thursday from the post and renounced his rights as a cardinal amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him directly.
The Vatican has not provided details on why Pope Francis accepted his resignation in a statement late Thursday.
In the announcement, the Holy See said only that Pope Francis had accepted Becciu’s resignation and prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints “and his rights connected to the cardinalate.”
Becciu has been reportedly implicated in a financial scandal involving the Vatican’s investment in a London real estate deal that has lost the Holy See millions of euros in fees paid to middlemen.
The Vatican prosecutor has placed several Vatican officials under investigation, as well as the middlemen, but not Becciu.
Becciu has defended the soundness of the original investment and denied any wrongdoing, and it is unclear whether the scandal in the reason behind his resignation or simply sparked a separate line of inquiry.
However, the late-breaking news of his resignation, the severity of his apparent sanction, the Vatican’s tight-lipped release and the unexpected downfall of one of the most powerful Vatican officials all suggest a shocking new chapter in the scandal, which has convulsed the Vatican for the past year.