Friday 30 April 2021
Fight against corruption
The Pope deprives the clergy of further privileges
After a series of scandals, Pope Francis wants to end corruption in the Vatican for good. Among other things, future high-ranking clergy will also be brought before the Vatican Court if they are charged. The pontiff sees these and other changes as “imperatives”.
In the future, bishops and cardinals will have to respond to the regular criminal justice system in the Vatican, not before a cardinal-turned-Supreme Court. To ensure “equality of all members of the Church” there is a change from “imperative”, whether “privileges which go back to earlier times”, a decree by Pope Francis states. The new system will come into effect from Saturday.
Until now, bishops and cardinals could only be tried by a Supreme Court, the Vatican Court of Cassation, consisting of three cardinals and two or more late judges. In the future, they will also have to respond to the regular Vatican judiciary, which is made up of civil judges rather than ordained priests. However, criminal proceedings still require the pope’s approval.
A day earlier, Francis announced a tightening in the fight against corruption in the Vatican. Accordingly, all upper-class employees must testify in writing in the future that they have not been convicted or are being investigated for corruption, fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal offenses.
Additional powers given to the Vatican judiciary may relate to possible proceedings against the removed Italian Cardinal Angelo Bescue. Francis fired the Beat Department chairman in September on suspicion of extorting money from a charitable fund for relatives. Bescue dismissed the charges and no charges have been laid against them yet.
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