Sunday, July 21, 2013
The Ricca Scandal
As Pope Francis begins a week celebrating World Youth Day in Brazil, the first scandal of the new Pontificate is beginning to break in Rome.
The respected Vaticanologist Sandro Magister makes the claim that Monsignor Battista Ricca who seems to have impressed the Pope before the Conclave and then was appointed, on the Pope's initiative as "prelate” of the Institute for Works of Religion by him has had a rather unsavoury past. The immediate Vatican response, which presumably comes directly from the Pope through Fr Lombardi, is simply to say Magister is lying, or rather that his sources are 'unreliable'.
Magister gives dates and places and names, the Vatican response is not to refute any of this but simply to adopt the tone of Cardinal Sodano on child abuse that Magister's accusation are 'merely press gossip'. There is no attempt to refute anything Magister puts forward, no talk of an investigation, let alone a suspension pending an investigation, the normal procedure for an ordinary priest if serious accusations are made. Pope Francis himself raised the issue of a 'Gay lobby' in his off the cuff remarks to the Latin American religious, inadvertently inviting journalist to look for irregularities, now the Pope seems to be suggesting things are hushed up.
Magister has placed his reputation on the line and, if the Pope via Fr Lombardi is right, leaves himself open to prosecution for libel, whilst the Vatican again gives the impression of cover-up and accusations of being nothing more than a murky renaissance nepotistic principality rather than an open transparent institution on its way to the promised Franciscan reform.
The suggestion is that the conservative Sodano/Re faction are still in control, so expect only cosmetic changes! Sad.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake