Cardinal Angelo Becciu, head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, announced his resignation on Thursday amid a burgeoning financial scandal that has roiled the Vatican for over a year.
Becciu has repeatedly denied involvement in the financial dealings under investigation. However, the Holy See said that Pope Francis had accepted Becciu’s resignation from his post “and his rights connected to the cardinalate.” This more drastic step leaves Becciu unable to participate in deliberations to replace Pope Francis.
“Today, Thursday, Sept. 24, the Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and related rights of the Cardinalate, presented by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu,” the Vatican said in a statement.
Under investigation is a $200 million real estate investment made by the Vatican in 2014, when Becciu was head of the Curia, or the Vatican’s bureaucracy. The Vatican exited the investment in 2018, but the exit has ended up costing the Vatican tens of millions of Euros (Becciu has maintained he was not involved in the buyout). Six Vatican employees have been implicated in the internal probe of the deal.
Funds for the initial investment were drawn from the Peter’s Pence donations which Catholics around the world make directly to the Holy See. Much of the funding was transferred through a Swiss bank with a history of breaking fraud and money-laundering rules, the Catholic News Agency reported.