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Pope Francis: Conduct by some Church members has made Vatican trials ‘painfully necessary’

Pope Francis spoke at the opening of the 94th judicial year of the Vatican City State tribunal on Feb. 25, 2023. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Feb 25, 2023 / 06:21 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said Saturday that Vatican trials for cases of grave financial mismanagement have become unavoidable in recent years.

“The problem is not the trials, but the facts and conduct that determine them and make them painfully necessary,” the pope told a group of Vatican magistrates on Feb. 25.

“In fact,” he added, “such behaviors by members of the Church seriously harm its effectiveness in reflecting divine light.”

Pope Francis addressed the Vatican’s recent legal disputes in a speech to members of the city state’s tribunals for the opening of its 94th judicial year.

The Vatican is in the midst of a trial to prosecute 10 people, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu, on charges related to the institution’s finances. The trial, which began in July 2021, is expected to conclude before the end of the year.

The trial centers on the Secretariat of State’s purchase of a London building, a controversial investment that lost the Vatican hundreds of thousands of euros. It also marks the first time a cardinal has been tried by a Vatican court of lay judges.

In January, a Vatican court also held a preliminary hearing for a lawsuit by former Vatican auditor Libero Milone, who claims he was wrongly forced out of his job in 2017.

The Vatican City State tribunals “play a valuable role for the benefit of the Holy See when it comes to settling disputes of a civil or criminal nature,” Pope Francis said, emphasizing the importance of justice for promoting peace.

He added that in recent years, legal disputes and trials at the Vatican have increased, as has the seriousness of the conduct behind the legal processes, especially in the management of Vatican assets and finances.

The pope also spoke about the virtue of justice.

Justice “is not just the fruit of a set of rules to be applied with technical expertise, but it is the virtue whereby we give each person his due, which is indispensable for the proper functioning of every sphere of common life and for everyone to lead a peaceful life,” he said.

“Any commitment to peace implies and requires a commitment to justice,” he said. “Peace without justice is not true peace; it has no solid foundation or possibility for the future.”

Francis said the virtue of justice has to be cultivated through personal conversion and exercised with the other cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, and temperance.

He also urged the Vatican magistrates to exercise an attitude of mercy and compassion toward the accused.

The test of being on trial, the pope said, “is sometimes necessary, when it comes to ascertaining conduct that tarnishes the face of the Church and arouses scandal in the community of the faithful.”

“Mercy and justice are not alternatives but walk together, proceeding in balance toward the same end, for mercy is not the suspension of justice but its fulfillment,” he said.

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  1. How about justice, Francis, for those who choose to worship God in the Latin Mass? And, I agree Francis, where there is no justice, there can be no peace. (And, no, Francis, I am not one who prefers the EF; I prefer the Novus Ordo prayed reverently.)

  2. Pope Francis recently asserted by apostolic letter that “ecclesiastical property” is for “the ecclesiastical public good”. This has come after the Becciu matters came into the juridical assessments to which they are presently subject.

    One concern I have had is that jurisdictions were chosen not for constituted cause of action where pertinent but for assertions of claims. Guilty parties can go free.

    The added concern I would have now is that those involved would not have known about this coming “change of views” and altered focus of property; so that guilty ones would appear to be not malfeasors or at any rate excusable and one or two in charge come out looking quite seedy -lousy, ratty, meretricious, worthless- and needing a rehab.

    Meanwhile the real contexts and practices that had attained would have escaped scrutiny with the possibility that shrewdness that might have been employed to beat them back is made as a nothing if not also working as heightening disgrace.

  3. The Pontiff Francis has devoted himself to defending and protecting and “renovating” and recruiting and promoting sex abusers and episcopal stonewallers and coverup artists (among them “Rev.” Julio Grassi of Argentina, “Excellency” Mauro Inzoli of Italy, “Excellency” Zanchetta of Argentina, “Excellency” Barros of Chile, “Eminence” Danneels of Belgium, “Eminence” McCarrick of the USA, and “Rev.” Rupnik of Slovenia).

    That such a man would “pontificate” about Justice is theater of the absurd.

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