Pope visits immigrant father's hometown for birthday party
PORTACOMARO, Italy (AP) — Pope Francis made a rare personal getaway Saturday, returning to his father’s birthplace in northern Italy for the first time since ascending the papacy to celebrate the 90th birthday of a second cousin who long knew him as simply “Giorgio.” Francis' two-day visit to his ancestral homeland underscored some of the keystones of his papacy, including the importance of honoring the elderly and the human toll of migration. The private visit Saturday will be followed by public one Sunday to celebrate Mass for the local faithful, where Francis could well reflect on his family's experience migrating to Argentina.
By Philip Pullella © Thomson Reuters FILE PHOTO: Landmark Vatican corruption trial resumes
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A court at a Vatican corruption trial on Thursday heard a secretly recorded telephone call between the main defendant, embattled Cardinal Angelo Becciu, and Pope Francis.
The recording was made without the pope's knowledge by someone in a room with Becciu in July 2021, shortly before the trial began and while the pope was still recovering from major intestinal surgery, the court was told.
Reporters were asked to leave the room while the tape was played but lawyers who heard it said Becciu asked the pope to confirm that the pontiff had authorised a payment to help release a nun who had been kidnapped in Africa.
Pope links plight of Ukrainians today to Stalin's 'genocide'
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Wednesday linked the suffering of Ukrainians now to the 1930s “genocide artificially caused by Stalin," when the Soviet leader was blamed for creating a man-made famine in the country believed to have killed more than 3 million people. Francis’ linking of the plight of Ukrainian civilians today to those killed by starvation 90 years ago, and his willingness to call it a “genocide” and squarely blame Josef Stalin, marked a sharp escalation in papal rhetoric against Russia. As of this year, only 17 countries have officially recognized the famine, known as the Holodomor, according to the Holodomor Museum in Kyiv.
© Thomson Reuters Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu speaks to the media in Rome
The lawyers said that on the call pope seemed perplexed and confused by why Becciu was calling and that the pontiff repeatedly asked the cardinal to send him a written note about what he wanted.
In 2018, Becciu, then the third most powerful person in the Vatican, hired co-defendant Cecilia Marogna, a self-styled security analyst, to free a Columbian nun who was kidnapped in Mali by an al Qaeda-linked group.
Marogna, 44, received 575,000 euros ($598,630) from the Secretariat of State, the Vatican's most important department, in 2018 to 2019 when Becciu was working there. The money was sent to a company she had set up in Slovenia and she received some in cash, the court has been told.
Pope Francis IDs successor to conservative Providence bishop
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Pope Francis has named a coadjutor bishop to assist conservative Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin and succeed him when he retires. Tobin held a press conference Wednesday morning at the cathedral in Providence to discuss the changes. He said the transition is meant to ensure his replacement is ready to go when he retires. The Most Reverend Richard G. Henning is the new coadjutor bishop of Providence with a right of succession. The Most Reverend Robert C. Evans is resigning as the auxiliary bishop.
The police discovered Marogna had spent much of the money for personal use, including luxury brand clothing and visits to health spas.
She is charged with embezzlement and Becciu is changed with embezzlement, corruption, and abuse of office. They, like the other eight defendants, have denied all wrongdoing.
The chief prosecutor at the trial, Alessandro Diddi, told reporters on Thursday that he had begun a new tangent of his investigation in which he suspects Becciu of criminal conspiracy. He said he deposited the details with the court.
Becciu's lawyers said in a statement they were not aware of any new accusations. The statement did not comment on the secretly recorded phone call.
A year before the trial started, Francis fired Becciu on suspicion of nepotism. Becciu denies doing anything to help his family financially.
On Thursday Becciu faced his main accuser, his former top aide Monsignor Alberto Perlasca. He told the court how he was ordered to make payments he considered unusual.
He said he sent 100,000 euros to a charity in Sardinia, not knowing at the time that it was linked to Becciu's family.
Becciu has said the charity helped create jobs in a poor area.
The trial revolves around the purchase of a building in London by the Secretariat of State. The 10 defendants include former Vatican employees and Italian middle men who the prosecution says extorted the Vatican.
($1 = 0.9605 euro)
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
Cardinal leading Catholics' churchwide consultation wrestles with tradition and change .
(RNS) — The synod will be inspired by the Holy Spirit and rooted in truth, said Cardinal Mario Grech. The truth, he added, 'can be presented by a minority, a group or even an individual.'Francis’ vision for the synod is a balance of traditionalists’ love of orthodoxy and the pope’s enthusiasm for reform. Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary general of the Vatican’s synod office, told Religion News Service Wednesday (Nov. 30) that when considering expectations for the synod, “the only limit is the Word of God, understood in the light of tradition.