- Apr 1, 2020
A three-judge Vatican panel on Saturday sentenced a former president of a papally-sponsored pediatric hospital to one year of detention, a temporary ban on public office and a fine of 5,000 Euro, all suspended on the condition that he not commit another offense, for the charge of having illicitly spent $500,000 of the hospital’s money to remodel the private apartment of a senior Vatican cardinal.
As a Vatican trial for financial misappropriation nears its end, the main question remains what it was in the beginning: Why is a former hospital official facing judgment for spending $500,000 to remodel a cardinal’s apartment using a now-bankrupt construction company owned by an old friend of the cardinal, but neither the cardinal nor the businessman were ever charged?
Italian businessman Gianantonio Bandera told a Vatican court on Monday that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the former Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, played a hands-on role in making the arrangements for remodeling his Vatican apartment that ultimately led to criminal charges. Bertone is not charged in the case, and was never considered a suspect.
At the moment, the Vatican finds itself facing two less-than-edifying storylines, one involving a priest in the papal embassy in Washington, D.C., suspected of possible violations of child pornography laws, and the other featuring a Vatican trial for financial misappropriation against former officials of a papally-sponsored pediatric hospital. Here are a few resources for thinking intelligently about each.
In the latest hearing of the Vatican’s first-ever trial for financial crimes, an official of the Government of the Vatican City State said that a controversial remodeling project for the private apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, bypassed the normal competitive bidding process and was “singular ” and “anomalous.”
On the second full day of testimony in the Vatican’s first-ever trial for alleged financial crimes, one of the defendants told the court he was informed there should be “no problems” with spending money from a children’s hospital on remodeling an Italian cardinal’s private apartment, because that cardinal had spoken personally to Pope Francis and “clarified” the situation.