Vatican defends work of missionary body in face of Italian scandal
Published: June 28, 2010
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican defended the wide-ranging work throughout the world of its missionary arm, which has come under scrutiny in an Italian investigation into a public works corruption scandal. A Vatican statement June 28 said recent news stories about the alleged involvement of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the probe had prompted the need to "recall some objective facts to protect the good reputation of this important body of the Holy See and the Catholic Church." Managing the significant financial and real estate patrimony of the congregation, the statement said, requires expert advice and there exists the possibility of "exposure to errors in judgment and fluctuation in international markets." The statement did not mention Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples and former head of the congregation, who has been formally placed under investigation by Italian judicial authorities. Italian newspapers speculated that the cardinal sold property below market value to a government minister, who then allocated public funds for work on the Vatican building housing the congregation. There are also questions about how the cardinal helped a government official -- now under investigation -- find an apartment. Cardinal Sepe said at a news conference June 21 that all of his actions as prefect of the congregation from 2001 to 2006 were carried out in full transparency and with the good of the church in mind.
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