The statue of St. Peter holding the keys, outside St. Peter’s Basilica. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
Vatican City, Apr 14, 2021 / 06:10 am (CNA).
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has denied an accusation that an official asked for money to advance the beatification cause of an Italian statesman murdered in 1978.
“What was said is not true,” Fr. Bogusław Turek, undersecretary of the saints congregation, wrote in an April 9 letter to the journalists of an Italian investigative news program which aired April 12.
In the episode, a postulator, whose work is to guide a diocese through the canonization process in Rome, accused the undersecretary of asking him for a bribe in June 2018 to advance the beatification cause of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.
“I have never been concerned with, nor dealt with, Aldo Moro’s cause because it has not yet been presented in the Dicastery,” Turek said in the letter shared by the Vatican’s press office April 13.
In a separate note, dated April 9, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints said it had received notice in April 2018 that the promoters of Moro’s cause had revoked the mandate of postulator Nicola Giampaolo, and assigned someone new.
“It should therefore be noted that the alleged financial request could not have been made to Mr. Giampaolo in June 2018, as he asserts, as he was no longer a postulator,” the saints office stated.
The postulator, Giampaolo, made the accusation in an interview on the program “Report,” which airs on the state-owned channel Rai3. Giampaolo is a journalist and author, who has also worked in local politics.
Undersecretary Turek said that he had met with Giampaolo in the offices of the saints congregation for another reason: to explain to him that he had not been approved by the dicastery as postulator of two other beatification causes “due to the lack of the requisites required by the canonical norms.”
Aldo Moro was a prominent Catholic politician and jurist. He was a founding member of Italy’s center-left Christian Democracy party and is said to be one of the most popular leaders in the history of the Italian Republic.
Moro was also one of Italy’s longest-serving prime ministers in the post-war era, holding the office from 1963 to 1968 and again from 1974 to 1976.
He was assassinated by the far-left terrorist group Red Brigades on May 9, 1978, after having been kidnapped and held in captivity for 55 days.
Moro’s cause for beatification was opened by the Diocese of Rome for investigation in September 2012. In 2015, controversies emerged around the statesman, held by some to have been killed in “hatred of the faith.” Moro’s then-postulator, Giampaolo, said the beatification process would possibly be put on hold.
At the time, Moro’s oldest daughter, Senator Maria Fida Moro, called the controversies “completely unjustified,” and described her father as “persecuted in life, in death, and after.”
On “Report,” Giampaolo said “unfortunately the cause was temporarily suspended, because I saw strong pressure from the outside towards the cause and at the same time, the supreme interests of the Church were at risk.”
“There were probably too many interests behind a beatification and canonization process,” he said.
The undersecretary of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Fr. Bogusław Turek, told the journalists of “Report” last week that the Vicariate of Rome had not been authorized by the congregation to open Moro’s beatification cause.
And in its April 9 note, the saints office said Nicola Giampaolo had never been ratified as postulator of Moro’s cause and the congregation does not offer any form of “accreditation of postulators” as Giampaolo claims to have on his curriculum vitae.