Title: Cardinal Becciu denies wrongdoing, says Pope Francis asking for his resignation was ‘surreal’
“I am shocked. Disturbed. [It’s] a blow for me, for my family and the people of my town. Out of a spirit of obedience and love that I have for the church and the pope, I accepted his request to step aside. But I am innocent, and I will show it. I asked the Holy Father to have the right to defend myself.”That is what Cardinal Angelo Becciu told Il Messaggero, the Rome daily, on the evening of Sept. 24, shortly after Pope Francis had asked for and received his resignation as prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints, taking away his rights as cardinal, the most important of which is the right to vote in a conclave.
Today, the once-powerful Vatican cardinal held a press conference at the Istituto Maria Bambina, not far from the entrance to the Vatican, just across the road from where he lives, in what was clearly just the beginning of his battle to prove his innocence. The clearly distraught 72 year-old Sardinian-born cardinal, who for over seven years met Pope Francis almost every day, travelled with him on all his foreign trips and was seen as one in whom Francis had maximum confidence, began by recalling what happened at last night’s dramatic meeting.
As he entered the pope’s room at 6:02 p.m. (local time) for his usual weekly work report, Cardinal Becciu said, “I felt a friend of the pope and a loyal servant of the pope.” But almost immediately Francis stunned him by telling him straight out: “I do not trust you anymore!”