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Letter from Rome: Cardinal Becciu and the importance of transparency

The weird and troubling case of the pope's sacking of a high-ranking cardinal and his refusal to say why

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Letter from Rome: Cardinal Becciu and the importance of transparency

Mystery surrounds the sudden resignation of Cardinal Angelo Becciu. (Photo: AFP)

More than nine weeks. That's how much time has passed since Pope Francis took the highly unprecedented move to publicly humiliate a top-ranking cardinal by forcing him to resign his Roman Curia post and relinquish all rights connected to membership in the illustrious red-hatted college.

And more than nine weeks later, we still do not know why the pope did it. Neither he, nor any Vatican official, has said exactly what Cardinal Angelo Becciu did to deserve the wrath of the Church's supreme lawgiver here on earth.

We've been left only with unsubstantiated press reports about how the 72-year-old Sardinian cardinal supposedly squandered hundreds of millions of dollars from the pope's charity fund on bad real estate deals and how he embezzled from the Vatican coffers to enrich his family.

But these reports merely quote the narrative crafted by a couple of Italian newspapers that based their "scoop" on leaked documents, none of which show that Becciu did anything that actually rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

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