Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Ricca Scandal

Here, Monsignor Ricca is seen expressing in tangible way his appreciation to the Bishop of Rome.

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.


Pablo the Mexican said...

In the book 'Windswept House' the author states there is an ancient evil that resides in a Vatican Library.

Huichilobos was the demon Satan placed over Mexico to control the populace.

Hernan Cortez was sent by the Holy Mother and her Son to bring the Holy Faith to the Mexican people.

I believe the Holy Mother and her Son will one day send a Hernan Cortez to Rome, and establish it once again as a Catholic City.


gemoftheocean said...

If only the Holy Spirit had listened to me Cardinal Burke would have been in the driver's seat, the sedia g. would have been back in business, the red shoes being worn, and they'd be dusting off the triple tiara, and the lowest janitor would have been shaking in his boots if he'd so much as torn off a mattress tag when he was 10.

And Cardinal B. would be in Argentina whining about "Las Malvinas." Hand waving. Give me strength.

Anonymous said...

Magister is a highly professional, and very experienced journalist, and as such should almost certainly have ensured that his evidence is admissible in Italian courts, so I don't suppose he will lose much sleep over fear of libel. He is to be praised for his courage, integrity, and service to the Church.

I just hope that those of good faith within the Holy See realise how very damaging these allegations are to the person of Pope Francis. As each day passes without an announcement of Ricca's suspension, a parallel scandal grows, more damaging than we have seen in years. And that very charge rebounds to the former Card. Bergoglio that he has been so ready to accuse others of over the years: HYPOCRITE!!!

Why can no one get a grip on this situation which drains so much time and resource away from catechesis and evangelisation: not least the rotten council and influence of men like Angelo Sodano, Battista Re, Piero Marini etc. etc. who are, to say the least, not the friends of Christ. How hard can it be to excise the filth?!

(BTW, given the context, and how long the former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires has allegedly known this man, and whose roof he has now chosen to live under (so to speak) at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, even the photograph you have used is unpalatable. Is this really the only one available, of both men?)

Pastor in Monte said...

Horrid stuff. Mgr Ricci was very kind to me and my parochial diaconal colleagues only recently. Let's simply pray that goodness and truth may prevail.
A very happy feast to you tomorrow, Father.

Deacon Augustine said...

I hope this isn't a sign of a return to the status quo ante when JPII was most reluctant to take firm action against clerical abusers. One of the things that gave me most hope about Benedict's reign was how quickly he resolved the problem of Fr Marcel Maciel after he had been protected by JPII.

Any reversal of that trend will be a retrograde step for the Papacy in terms of credibility and integrity. May God give Pope Francis the wisdom to deal with this quickly in accordance with God's law - whatever the just outcome may be.

Fr Ray Blake said...

My fear too.
The sadness I feel is that it could be all about kissing and clothes and nothing about real reform, just pre-Benedictine opaquism and what work he did now undone.

The sign of a quick conclave is that things are already decided, it seems as if the Curia bloc had its choice and turkeys don't vote for Christmas.

Aged parent said...

Thank you, Father, for your sobering post. Tragic as it is to have to say, we need to know these things.

Msgr Re has always been a villain and it is terrible that men like him - leeches, really, that suck the blood out of the Church - cannot be removed.

I will alert my small blog readership to your article, and your blog.

Aged Parent
The Eye-Witness

Nicolas Bellord said...

Oh dear. This is very worrying but we must not jump to conclusions. It is just possible that Sandro Magister has been misled. It is vital to deal with any homosexual lobby but at the same time there is always the danger of a homophobic witchhunt. So for the moment let us just pray hard for the Church. I would particularly recommend the comments of Robert Moynihan at:

Supertradmum said...

The Vatican has had a difficult time with sophisticated press releases not coming out from the Vatican Press Office, and contrary releases in the Italian Press. I would hope that the Pope deals with this problem at root, as many of these leaks and scandals or faux scandals could be handled by a professional staff in the Vatican. And, no offence, but the Pope should say nothing, absolutely nothing, either as asides or in comments. Is just not professional and not wise...

Unknown said...

" seems as if the Curia bloc had its choice and turkeys don't vote for Christmas"
I am convinced that what you imply must be right: the curial faction voted for Bergoglio because they thought they could control him. IMy guess is that Ricca (who has unprecedented personal access to the pope and control over other people's access, as well as enormous power because of his new IOR post)is the "minder" they have put in place. Magister's sources want to break their stranglehold. I trust Magiter.
Perhaps the curial old guard saw him as a pious "useeful idiot". This does not mean they were right. et us pray they were not.

GOR said...

I have much respect for Sandro Magister and I believe he would not have published this without being sure of his facts.

L’Espresso’s point-by-point rebuttal of Fr. Lombardi’s offhand dismissal of the report (presumably with Pope Francis’ approval…) - is pretty damning.

The Italian Press and Vatican journalists note that Pope Francis is not at fault here – that he was misled or kept in the dark. I have no problem believing that and that Cardinals Sodano, Bertone and Re – among others - have much to answer for.

But now that the Holy Father knows - heads should roll.

Anonymous said...

Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.

Deacon Augustine said...

My French is a little rusty, but I'm sure this site is reporting that Ricca has resigned!

Martina Katholik said...

Seemingly nothing´s changed since Mrs Randy Engel published her book “The rite of sodomy”.

Pablo the Mexican said...

'Trimming the fingernails of Evil'

That is all that is being done.

The Spanish blogs are reporting his resignation as well.

The waters remain black.

No one is hunting down the Evil and killing it.


GOR said...

My French isn't much better Deacon A., and I read it that he has relinquished all Vatican responsibilities...

Proper order, if true.

Dymphna said...

It's tempting to think that Pope Francis was mislead but maybe that wasn't the cases. People tried to tell John Paul II about certain men, Fr. Marciel included. He didn't believe a word of it. Perhaps Francis was the same naive way.

Cosmos said...

Wow. This is suprising. How could men of the world like Bergolio and JPII be tricked in such a manner? It's almost as if each man's judgment was--at least occasionally--incredibly suspect regarding grave manners of first priority. And not just in matters of predicting the future (Springtime, etc.), but of determining who to trust and the gravity of the corrpution around them. Yet these are the same men that championed the reforms that are supposed to be breathing new life into the Church (despite the overwhelming lack of evidence to the contrary). It starts to makes you wonder what else they could have been wrong about? But then I remember that they were chosen by the Holy Spirit, and we all no God has never let the Church make mistakes!

Now that Ratzinger, he seemed to be a little more aware of these goings-on, almost to the point of despair. But how strange that an old, ivory-tower, intellectual--with impecable liberal bona fiddes, who grew more and more rigid and traditional each year, was more aware of these worldly matters. I wonder what else he was right about?

Aged parent said...

Dear Nicolas Bellard:

If I may, allow me to point out that if words have any meaning at all the cooked up word "homophobic" would be literally defined as "an inordinate fear of men." I believe it is important that we keep our head on straight in these matters.

Secondly, I for one would have no problem whatsoever if such a "witch hunt" would begin in earnest. The filth and stench being inflicted upon Holy Church by the sodomite faction simply has to be rooted out. Like the cancer that it is it has to be cut out or even worse catastrophes will come upon the Faith.

Fr Ray Blake said...

It is Greek word, homo = same.

BJC said...

I remember reading in William Cobbett's 'A History of the Protestant Reformation in England & Ireland' that Catherine of Aragon was a good Catholic woman but she had no sense of guile. Its a personality fault because of course this is what people are like. Benedict had it (bless his heart) but I don't think JP II did and by the looks of things neither does Pope Francis. He needs to wise up, but the problem is we probably all know someone like that and they never seem to.

Nicolas Bellord said...

If, as has recently happened in England, some people go around accusing members of a religious order of being practising homosexuals, writing emails and letters to that effect, without having the slightest evidence to support the allegations then that is what I would call a homophobic witch-hunt and utterly deplorable.

I am all for rooting out those in the church who openly advocate sodomy but one must be certain of ones ground before doing so as otherwise you will be guilty of breaking the commandment against bearing false witness against one's neighbour.

Aged parent said...

Dear Father:

Like many I was thinking of the word "homo" in the Latin sense, as in "homo sapiens" or "Ecce Homo".

ACC92 said...

Just read that the Pope REFUSED Ricci's resignation....

Nicolas Bellord said...

ACC92: Where did you read about the refusal of Ricca's resignation? There is a Swiss report that he had resigned. Very strange that the Vatican seems to be silent.

Hayfarmer said...

Pope Francis states today that he will not "judge" homosexual priests. So there, Monsignor Ricca will remain his lunch buddy.

Nicolas Bellord said...

The Argentinian newspaper "La Nacion" reports the following exchange with the Pope on the plane back to Rome:

"- Una pregunta un poco delicada. La historia de monseñor Ricca ha dado la vuelta al mundo, ¿cómo va a afrontar este asunto y todo lo relacionado con el supuesto lobby gay en el Vaticano?

-Con respecto a monseñor Ricca, he hecho lo que el derecho canónico manda hacer, que es la investigación previa. Y esta investigación no dice nada de lo que se ha publicado. No hemos encontrado nada. Pero yo querría agregar una cosa: muchas veces en la Iglesia se va a buscar los pecados de juventud y se publican. Y hablo de pecados, no delitos como los abusos de menores. Pero si una persona -laica, cura, o monja- comete un pecado y luego se arrepiente, el Señor la perdona. Y cuando el Señor perdona, olvida. Lo importante es hacer una teología del pecado. Muchas veces pienso en San Pedro: hizo de los peores pecados, renegar de Cristo. ¡Y con ese pecado lo hicieron Papa!"

Google translates this as follows:

"- A question a little delicate. Ricca Bishop's story has gone around the world, how will you address this issue and everything related to the alleged gay lobby in the Vatican?

-With regard to Bishop Ricca, I did what canon law commanded to do, which is preliminary investigation. And this study says nothing about what has been published. We have found nothing. But I would add one thing: many times in the Church is to find the sins of youth and published. And speaking of sins, crimes such as child abuse. But if a person-secular priest or nun commits a sin and then repents, the Lord forgives. And when the Lord forgives, He forgets. The important thing is to make a theology of sin. I often think of St. Peter made ​​the worst sins, deny Christ.And with that sin did Pope!"

The crucial bit is what is the correct translation of "investigacion previa". Does it mean "preliminary investigation"? That is crucial as Sandro's accusation is that the record given to the Pope was incomplete not mentioning the scandalous bits. If so then the Pope is being quite correct in not rushing to judgement until he learns more in Rome as to the truth or otherwise of the accusations.

It does however raise the question of whether God forgets that we have sinned. Is there not punishment in Purgatory nonetheless even though the sinner has repented? And does past behaviour not have some bearing on what appointments some one is given subsequently?

Nicolas Bellord said...

Just to add to my previous comment. It now seems that a more correct translation of "investigacion previa" would be "required investigation". I.e. an investigation as foreseen (prevu in French, previa in Spanish or previa in the original italian) by Canon Law.

I got this from:

This claims to be an accurate transcription of what the Pope said in Italian with an English translation. It rather suggests that this investigation did in fact look at the accusations by Sandro and found nothing to support them. I am a bit wary of that having regard to the very short timescale. Perhaps though the Pope is saying these misdemeanours were so long ago (1999) that they can be overlooked as the person in question has repented. But against that the Pope is supposed to have said that "We found none of that" meaning the accusations. Perhaps we need to wait and see what happens now that the Pope has returned to Rome.

However there is a further point about these accusations when Sandro wrote:

'Here, in Bern, he had met and become friends with a captain of the Swiss army, Patrick Haari. The two arrived in Uruguay together. And Ricca asked that his friend be given a role and a residence in the nunciature.

The nuncio rejected the request. But a few months later he retired and Ricca, having become the chargé d'affaires “ad interim" until the appointment of the new nuncio, assigned Haari a residence in the nunciature, with a regular position and salary.'

This is more of an accusation of financial impropriety in providing lodging and a job. Was this a proper use of Church money? A bit worrying in someone who is going to be overseeing the Vatican Bank?

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