Cardinal Becciu firmly rejects being linked to Cardinal Pell’s death – LifeSite

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The international attention given to Cardinal George Pell’s death in recent days after the Vatican’s former auditor general said it was “shrouded in mystery” has taken a new turn after Pell’s brother and Cardinal Angelo Becciu have rejected key elements of the recent reports.

In an exclusive interview given to Il Giornale’s Nico Spuntoni, Cardinal Becciu rejected a comment made by the Vatican’s ex-auditor general Libero Milone, who stated that Pell’s January 2023 death was “shrouded in mystery.”

The Sardinian cardinal stated that after Milone’s comments a “new and sleazy media campaign of demonization” had begun against him with regards the circumstances surrounding Pell’s death.


Milone’s comments were part of a July 2 interview he gave to The Australian and caused widespread consternation and attention. 

READ: Close ‘confidante’ says Cardinal Pell’s nose broken when body sent to Australia by the Vatican

Along with his recently deceased deputy Ferrucio Panicco, Milone worked alongside Pell to reform the Vatican finances at the express wish of Pope Francis until what he describes as his forced resignation in 2017. 

Pell and Milone faced opposition from within the Vatican, were reportedly “increasingly effective” in their investigations, and “came too close to uncovering dangerous things.” Such opposition to Pell’s reforms has even been linked by some to the false allegations of sexual abuse made against Pell, for which Pell was imprisoned for more than 400 days in his native Australia before being unanimously acquitted in 2020.

In a previous $9.25 million suit against the Vatican Secretariat of State, Milone and Panicco argued that they were unjustly accused of spying and embezzlement in June 2017 by Becciu, accusations that, they argue, stemmed from their audit of Vatican finances that uncovered widespread corruption within the hierarchy of the Holy See.

Milone has continually insisted that Cardinal Becciu’s accusations against him and Panicco are absolutely false. 

He has also repeatedly identified Becciu – former second highest official in the Secretariat of State – as opposing much of the work which he and Pell were doing to reform the Vatican’s finances. For his part, Becciu has rejected pressuring the pair to resign, telling Spuntoni most recently that “I have the obligation to firmly reject all the accusations that he (Milone) has been repeating to the point of boredom against me for several years.”

In December, Becciu himself was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in jail by the Vatican over financial crimes. The guilty verdict handed out by the Vatican came as unsurprising in many ways, given that the Vatican – particularly Pope Francis and Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin – had been in need of some demonstrable evidence of having cleaned up the Vatican finances, after years of scandal and the lawsuit by the Vatican’s former auditor general currently being brought against the Secretariat of State. By sentencing Becciu, both Parolin and Francis gave themselves a clear target on which to pin widespread blame for certain actions, whether blame was justly labeled or not. 

Becciu and Pell’s brother reject notion of foul play

In a signed statement sent to Spuntoni after Milone’s interview with The Australian, Becciu decried any suggestion that he was linked to Pell’s death. He rejected the “fanciful and macabre reconstructions insinuating even that the undersigned – now routinely described as the corrupt par excellence of the Roman Curia – may be somehow involved in the death, which they evidently judged unnatural, of Cardinal George Pell.”

As part of the interview conducted with Milone, The Australian wrote that it had asked the Salvator Mundi hospital where Pell died “to comment on claims by senior sources that internal CCTV cameras were not working on and around January 10 last year and that no medical doctor was on duty the evening the cardinal died.” 

LifeSite sent its own inquiries to hospital management and lead clinicians to comment on such reports, and also asked about the details of Pell’s final autopsy. Neither The Australian nor LifeSiteNews received a response. 

The Australian also wrote that “rumours have swirled around the Holy See for months that Pell’s body was left in post-autopsy disarray and not been properly dressed, sparking further concerns about his last hours.”

Adding to this was Sky News Australia host Andrew Bolt, who in a July 4 program said that a “Pell confidante at the opening of the coffin” after the Vatican sent Pell’s body to Australia for burial, reportedly found that he had been treated with “gross disrespect.” 

Bolt added that it could be “incompetence,” but that “some of Pell’s closest associates have told me they suspected some in the Vatican had not forgiven Pell for exposing corruption.”

Bolt further started that Pell’s brother, David, told him on July 3 that “the embalming … had been mucked up or buggered up.”

“A Sydney undertaker had to clean the body – Pell’s nose had also been broken. Pell was also shoeless,” Bolt said that David Pell had confided to him. 

Milone later told this correspondent that he had no knowledge of such aspects regarding the hospital and had only learned about it from reading the media reports. He added that his remark about Pell’s death being “shrouded in mystery” was due to the fact that “only a few days before his operation I had seen him and he appeared in good health and that a hip replacement operation today is considered a very routine simple intervention.”

In an apparent contradiction with Bolt’s report after it aired, David Pell told The Australian that not only did the family have no complaints about the cardinal’s treatment by the hospital but that George Pell was “a ticking time bomb, due to a number of heart issues.”

Bolt had said that David told him that “a Sydney undertaker had to clean the body – Pell’s nose had also been broken. Pell was also shoeless.”

But David Pell downplayed this idea and appeared to contradict it. His nose “was askew,’’ said David – according to The Australian – that “could have been ­broken by the lid of his tight-fitting coffin.”

As for the cardinal’s shoes, David said they were not on due to being too big – the imposing George Pell took a size 14 shoe.

Commenting on David’s remarks, Becciu told Spuntoni that they were a “call to common sense” for supporters of the thesis that Becciu was financially linked to the abuse charges made against Pell.

“My so-called opposition” to Pell’s reforms “are absolute falsehoods artfully constructed by those who in these last four years have had an interest in painting me as an enemy of Cardinal Pell,” Becciu told Il Giornale.

Indeed, the Sardinian pointed back to Cardinal Parolin and Pope Francis, intimating that it was they who would have been behind any action – supportive or otherwise – towards Pell and Milone. “As Substitute I depended directly on the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Pope. Only from THEM could I receive instructions on how to govern the First Section of the Secretariat of State of which I was the Head.”

Given Milone’s comments to this correspondent, it appears that The Australian made more particular claims about Pell’s death than he did, though such claims were published in an article linking them to Milone. With David Pell now appearing to contradict testimony that Bolt said he had given, it appears that aspects of Pell’s death still remain “shrouded in mystery” in some regards, even though Becciu has explicitly ruled out any involvement in foul play, given that conflicting reports from those close to Pell continue to emerge.

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