Rome, 25 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The head of the Vatican‘s saint-making department, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, resigned unexpectedly on Thursday, in a move Italian media linked to a financial scandal.
Pope Francis accepted Becciu’s resignation “from the office of Prefect of the Congregation for Causes of Saints and from the rights connected to the Cardinalate,” a Vatican statement said.
The statement did not explain the move, which is extremely rare, if not unprecedented. It was not immediately clear if Becciu would at least retain the title, if not the rights, of a cardinal.
Several Italian media, including the Corriere della Sera newspaper, linked Becciu’s ouster to the scandal concerning a Vatican investment in a luxury property in central London.
“I prefer to stay silent,” Becciu told Italian news agency Adnkronos.
In a previous job at the Secretariat of State, the Vatican‘s central bureaucracy, Becciu oversaw the controversial real estate deal, which Vatican prosecutors have been investigating since last year.
In June, Vatican police arrested Gianluigi Torzi, a London-based Italian financier who acted as a middleman when the Vatican sought to acquire full control of the property.
Torzi, who denies any wrongdoing, was accused of extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud and money laundering. He was released on bail after a few days.