TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 272 – Liz Lev On Pulling Rupnik’s Art & Father Kirby Talks Fragility Of Freedom For The 4th!
 
Art historian Liz Lev discusses from Rome what makes art sacred in light of the ongoing Rupnik scandal with the recent call from Cardinal Sean O’Malley to remove the mosaics of the priest accused of sexually abusing women. Father Jeffrey Kirby joins to mark the 4th of July sharing his thoughts on what he calls the ‘fragility of freedom.’ Father Roger Landry checks in from the road along the Eucharistic pilgrimage with an inspiring homily for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 5pmET on EWTN radio!

https://thecatholicassociation.org/podcast/ep-272-liz-lev-on-pulling-rupniks-art-father-kirby-talks-fragility-of-freedom-for-the-4th/
__________________________________________________________
 
1. Vatican excommunicates Archbishop Viganò for refusing to recognize Pope Francis, In a rare trial, the Vatican acted against Carlo Maria Viganò, a former ambassador to the U.S. and one of Pope Francis’s most vociferous internal critics., By Anthony Faiola and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post, July 5, 2024, 9:19 AM
 
The Vatican on Friday excommunicated Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, exacting a severe punishment on the most vociferous internal critic of Pope Francis for refusing to recognize the authority of the pope and liberal reforms made by the Roman Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
 
Such drastic steps are exceedingly rare in the church and illustrated the extent to which Viganò — the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States — is perceived to have crossed a line. He has called on the pope to resign and excoriated him in harsh terms, including calling him “a servant of Satan.”
 

 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/07/05/vigano-excommunicated-schism-pope-francis/
__________________________________________________________
 
2. Pope to preside over interfaith meeting in Indonesian mosque during longest, most challenging trip, Pope Francis will preside over an interfaith meeting in a mosque in the world’s largest predominantly Muslim country during a four-nation Asian visit in September, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 5, 2024, 7:40 AM
 
Pope Francis will preside over an interfaith meeting in a mosque in the world’s largest predominantly Muslim country during a four-nation Asian visit in September that will be the longest and most complicated foreign trip of his pontificate.
 
The Vatican on Friday released the itinerary for Francis’ Sept. 2-13 trip to Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Singapore. The packed schedule makes clear that the 87-year-old pontiff, who has battled health problems and is increasingly reliant on a wheelchair, has no plans to slow down.
 
After a day of rest upon arrival in Jakarta on Sept. 3, Francis launches into a typically rigorous round of protocol visits to the four countries’ heads of state and government, speeches to diplomats and meetings with clergy and public Masses in each location. In Jakarta, he’ll preside over an interfaith meeting at the capital’s Istiqlal Mosque.
 

 
At 11 full days, it’s the longest of Francis’ 11-year papacy, outpacing by a few days some of his long trips to the Americas and recalling some of the strenuous, globe-hopping trips of St. John Paul II.
 

 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/07/05/pope-francis-asia-foreign-trip-indonesia-singapore/6b00d04e-3abd-11ef-93fe-36cbc6f6ab36_story.html
__________________________________________________________
 
3. Your Religious Values Are Not American Values, By Pamela Paul, The New York Times, July 5, 2024, Pg. A9, Opinion
 
Whenever a politician cites “Judeo-Christian values,” I find it’s generally followed by something unsettling.
 

 
On June 19, Gov. Jeff Landry of Louisiana signed legislation requiring public classrooms to display the Ten Commandments, a practice struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1980.
 

 
One week later, Landry’s fellow Christian soldier Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s superintendent of public instruction, announced plans to mandate teaching the Bible in public schools. Walters said learning the Bible is necessary to having “an understanding of the basis of our legal system.”
 
Forgive me for wondering: Is he referring to “an eye for an eye” or the stoning of disobedient children?
 
Either way, for both Trump and true believers, it hardly matters that the First Amendment was intended to protect religion from the state, not to have the state impose a religion. (So much for originalism.) Their goal is to impose one form of religion, Christianity, and the underlying message is that those who do not share it will have to submit.
 
Not only have such moves been declared unconstitutional (“I can’t wait to be sued,” Landry said), but they are also exclusionary and offensive to many.
 
Despite what the Christian nationalist movement would have you believe, America was not founded as a Christian nation. Nor is it one today. In a pluralistic country, neither the Bible nor Judeo-Christian values are universal, including in the two heavily Christian Southern states in which these laws were passed.
 

 
Politicians … rarely bother to include nonbelievers — those of us who are not what politicians refer to as people of faith — in their supposedly inclusive rhetoric. This is where leaders of both parties, with their public prayers and displays of religiosity, typically alienate people like me whose principles do not stem from belief in a god. Barack Obama was an exception in including people “with no faith at all,” though I would have preferred a more elegant phrasing. Many of us rationalists do have faith, but it’s in science or humanity, as disappointing as humanity can be.
 

 
And there’s a lot to explain in the Bible itself if you believe it’s a holy book — like its acceptance of slavery.
 
For me, the Bible’s primary interest is in its historical and literary influence, a work whose stories and metaphors have permeated literature. But it’s also one that, throughout history, has inspired and abetted many of the world’s most violent and deadly wars.
 
In their drive to foist their religious beliefs on others or to prove their conservative Christian bona fides, Republicans are leaning harder into exclusionary territory. Prominent and mainstream Republicans increasingly support the tenets of the Christian nationalist movement, which often embeds antisemitism and anti-Muslim views into its creed. And it is probably no coincidence that this is occurring as many Christians are fleeing their religion — many, no doubt, because of the hypocrisy and intolerance they’ve witnessed.
 
In ordinary times, all this would be quickly swatted away by the courts. Unfortunately, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court has demonstrated that, like many Republican politicians, when it comes to freedom of religion — and yes, that must include freedom from religion — those justices are willing to put their own faith above all else.
 
This Fourth of July, let’s bear in mind that what many Americans value in this country is its inclusion and protection of all, regardless of their beliefs.
 
https://www.nytimes.com/2024/07/04/opinion/christian-nationalist-religion-america.html
__________________________________________________________
 
4. John Quincy Adams, Christian Nationalist, A religious reading of the Declaration of Independence has a long pedigree., By Samuel Goldman, The Wall Street Journal, July 4, 2024, 3:23 PM, Opinion
 
The term “Christian nationalism,” as Orwell said of “fascism,” has no meaning except insofar as it signifies “something not desirable.” Take Politico reporter Heidi Przybyla’s contention earlier this year that “the one thing that unites” so-called Christian nationalists supporting Donald Trump is the belief that “our rights as Americans” come from God, not “any earthly authority.”
 
Ms. Przybyla later conceded that the Declaration of Independence states that “all men” are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” If that’s Christian nationalism, it follows that the U.S. is a Christian nation. Christianity and biblical religion are essential to the American political tradition. They don’t, however, operate as many claim they do.
 
There is ample precedent for a religious interpretation of the Declaration. On July 4, 1821, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams described it as the culmination of a Christian revolution. In “theories of the crown and the mitre,” Adams proposed, “man had no rights.” The discovery of inalienable liberty of conscience in matters of doctrine led to a re-evaluation of man’s obligation to ecclesiastical and civil powers. Whig reformers took tentative steps against “the oppressors of church and state” in Britain but still saw freedom as a privilege. The natural basis of rights was recognized only in America, where the government was founded on “a social compact formed upon the elementary principles of civil society, in which conquest and servitude had no part.”
 

 
Adams’s words remind us that reconciliation has always been a feature of the American enterprise. We’d do well to heed his encouragement “to bless the Author of our being for the bounties of his providence, in casting our lot in this favored land; to remember with effusions of gratitude the sages who put forth, and the heroes who bled for the establishment of this Declaration.”
 
One doesn’t need to be a Christian nationalist to believe something miraculous happened in Philadelphia in 1776. Yet appreciation for that event should make even secular Americans wonder whether there are forces at work in history that transcend human understanding.
 
Mr. Goldman is an associate professor of political science and executive director of the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom at George Washington University.
 
https://www.wsj.com/articles/john-quincy-adams-christian-nationalist-founding-america-history-religion-7b013ec4
__________________________________________________________
 
5. Top Vatican diplomat says modern conflicts don’t qualify as ‘just war’, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, July 4, 2024
 
After the Justice and Peace Commission of the Holy Land recently put out a new document condemning what it said was the weaponization of the term “just war” in the Gaza conflict, the Vatican’s Secretary of State has said the concept is being revisited.
 
Asked about the document, Vatican Secretary of State Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin said, “We know that on the question of just war, there is a lot of discussion today, because this was a concept of social doctrine.”
 
“There is just war, the war of defense, but today with the weapons that are available, this concept becomes very difficult” he said, saying, “In fact, it’s being discussed. I don’t think there is a definitive position yet, but it’s a concept that’s in revision.”
 
In terms of the current war in Gaza, sparked after Israel retaliated for an Oct. 7, 2023, surprise attack by Hamas that killed 1,200 people and which so far has claimed over 30,000 Palestinian lives, Parolin said, “It’s never a just war, in this sense.”
 
The document from the Justice and Peace Commission of the Holy Land, published earlier this week, argues that the so-called Just War Theory in Catholic social doctrine “is being used in a way in which it was never intended: to justify the death of tens of thousands.”
 
“We cannot allow words like ‘just’ to be mobilized to justify what is unjust, cruel and devastating. We must argue for the integrity of language, because we remain convinced that true justice is still possible if we can hold fast to its promise,” the document said.
 
Regarding the ongoing Gaza war, the document said that “neither the attacks by Hamas nor Israel’s devastating war in response satisfy the criteria for ‘just war’ according to Catholic Doctrine,” and that “the manipulation of the language of just war theory is not only about words: it is having tangible, fatal results.”
 
The document called the application of just war theory to modern conflicts, especially those that have dragged on for decades, “dubious,” and suggested “that ‘just’ wars might only exist in very rare cases.”
 

 
https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2024/07/top-vatican-diplomat-says-modern-conflicts-dont-qualify-as-just-war
__________________________________________________________
 
6. Vatican chief of staff testifies in UK finance trial, admits to false invoice and blames a deputy, Pope Francis’ chief of staff has become one of the highest-ranking Holy See officials to testify in a foreign court, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 3, 2024, 8:37 PM
 
Pope Francis’ chief of staff became one of the highest-ranking Holy See officials to testify in a foreign court Thursday, telling a British tribunal about the negotiations at the heart of the Vatican’s so-called “trial of the century,” admitting he filed a false invoice and pointing a finger at his one-time deputy who escaped the scandal unscathed.
 
Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra was called to testify in a British civil proceeding brought against the Vatican by an Italian-British financier who was involved in the Holy See’s investment in a London property.
 
Raffaele Mincione is seeking to clear his name in the British courts after he was convicted by a Vatican criminal tribunal last year for his role in the Holy See’s 350 euro (US$375 million) investment in the former Harrod’s warehouse. He is asking the British High Court to declare he acted “in good faith.”
 
The London case, believed to be the first time the Holy See has been put on trial in a foreign court, is part of the collateral damage that the Vatican has incurred in deciding to prosecute 10 people for a range of financial crimes surrounding its money-losing London investment.
 
Vatican prosecutors accused Mincione and others of fleecing the Holy See of tens of millions in euros in fees and commissions. Another London broker, Gianluigi Torzi, was accused of then extorting the Vatican for 15 million euros to cede control of the building. They were both convicted by the Vatican court, along with seven others including a cardinal, and are appealing.
 

 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/07/04/vatican-pope-mincione-financial-trial-perlasca/7f941fb2-3a17-11ef-93fe-36cbc6f6ab36_story.html
__________________________________________________________
 
7. Federal judge sentences 4 anti-abortion activists for a 2021 Tennessee clinic blockade, Four anti-abortion activists who were convicted for their roles in a 2021 Tennessee clinic blockade will serve sentences ranging from six months in prison to three years of supervised release, By Travis Loller, Associated Press, July 3, 2024, 6:55 PM
 
Four anti-abortion activists who were convicted in January on felony conspiracy charges for their roles in a 2021 Tennessee clinic blockade were sentenced this week to terms ranging from 6 months in prison to three years of supervised release. The sentences were below those asked by prosecutors, and U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger said she took into account the good works of the defendants in their communities.
 
While the judge recognized their actions were based on sincerely held religious beliefs, she said that was not an excuse to break the law. The defendants used their religious fervor to “give themselves permission to ignore the pain they caused other people and ignore their own humanity,” Trauger said.
 
Around 200 supporters, including many parents with children, rallied and prayed outside the federal courthouse in Nashville before the sentencing hearings Tuesday and Wednesday. They also packed a courtroom where the proceedings were relayed over a livestream, filling the benches and spilling onto the floor and into the hallway.
 

 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2024/07/03/abortion-tennessee-clinic-blockade-sentence/69cbe526-398f-11ef-93fe-36cbc6f6ab36_story.html
__________________________________________________________
 
8. Bianca Jagger Leads Appeal to Pope Francis to Save Latin Mass, By Franca GIansoldati, Il Messaggero, July 3, 2024, 10:21 PM
 
Bianca Jagger, the wife of the leader of the Rolling Stones, is the head of a series of VIP personalities from the Anglo-Saxon world who have appealed to Pope Francis by signing a petition to avert the risk of the feared Vatican axe on the Latin Mass. For some time, recurring voices inside and outside the Vatican have indicated the preparation of a draconian document that should make this liturgy according to the 1962 missal disappear as it is considered to bring various problems. Jagger is not new to papal appeals, having made an impassioned plea to Bergoglio a few years ago to take up the defense of human rights in Nicaragua, condemning an “unbounded” dictatorship that still persecutes bishops and Catholic priests in her troubled homeland. “His silence was my greatest disappointment, is the Pope really unaware of what is happening in Nicaragua?” she said at the time. This time, however, she has become a champion of the Latin rite by signing a letter published by the director of the Times of London, which recalls a similar moment under the pontificate of Paul VI in 1971, when writers, artists, and academics, including Agatha Christie, Graham Green, Barbara Hepworth, and Yehudi Menuhin, intervened in defense of the traditional Mass. This appeal became known as the “Agatha Christie letter” because it is said that her name pushed Montini to grant permission for the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in England and Wales. The letter stated that “the rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired extraordinary works… by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters, and sculptors from all countries and all eras. It therefore belongs to universal culture.” The Times today publishes the following text: “Recently, worrying news has come from Rome that the Latin Mass will be banned from almost all Catholic churches. This is a painful and disorienting prospect, especially for the growing number of young Catholics whose faith has been nurtured by it. The traditional liturgy is a ‘cathedral’ of texts and gestures, which has developed over many centuries just as these venerable buildings have. Not everyone appreciates its value, and that’s fine; but destroying it seems like a pointless and insensitive act in a world where history can slip away too easily and be forgotten. The ability of the ancient rite to encourage silence and contemplation is a treasure not easily replicable and, once gone, impossible to reconstruct,” it reads. This appeal, like the previous one, is entirely ecumenical and apolitical. Among the signatories are Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and non-believers. “We implore the Holy See to reconsider any further restrictions on access to this magnificent spiritual and cultural heritage.” Dozens and dozens of signatures follow, including that of Lloyd-Webber (producer of celebrated musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera), Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano), Princess Michael of Kent, designer Paul Smith, former minister Michael Gove.
 
https://www.ilmessaggero.it/en/bianca_jagger_leads_appeal_to_pope_francis_to_save_latin_mass-8219484.html
__________________________________________________________
 
9. Are We in the Middle of a Spiritual Awakening?, By Jessica Grose, The New York Times, July 3, 2024, Opinion
 
When I asked readers who identified as spiritual but not religious to reach out to me, I was astounded by how much variety there was in the faith experiences of individuals in this group. Some said they found spirituality both in the beauty of the physical world and in communing with other people.
 

 
As I read and listened to the wide range of spiritual stories that readers shared with me over the past few weeks, I thought about the way that nones — the catchall term that describes atheists, agnostics and nothing in particulars — can imply blankness and almost a kind of nihilism.
 
But as I learn more about the idea and the history of being spiritual but not religious, and the growth of this self-definition over the past few decades, alongside the documented move away from traditional church attendance, I wondered if I hadn’t given enough weight to new expressions of faith. Rather than seeing this moment as reflecting the slow demise of organized religion in America, one that leaves some people bereft of community and meaning, it’s worth asking if we’re in the middle of the birth of a messy new era of spirituality.
 
First, I want to be honest that I’m not going to be able to give a definitive answer through the data here. The polling around questions of spirituality is pretty noisy, because the terms “spiritual” and “religious” are “so amorphous and they overlap so greatly,” said Robert Fuller, a professor of religious studies at Bradley University and the author of “Spiritual but Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America,” when we spoke last week.
 

 
Pew Research tried to rectify the overall lack of good data on spirituality with a big report in December. Pew acknowledges that this is a tough topic to pin down because definitions of spirituality are all over the map: Though church attendance has definitely declined and formal religion is important to many fewer Americans than it used to be, “the evidence that ‘religion’ is being replaced by ‘spirituality’ is much weaker, partly because of the difficulty of defining and separating those concepts.”
 
That said, Pew’s survey found that “22 percent of U.S. adults fall into the category of spiritual but not religious.” Pew found that some of the things that most S.B.N.R.s believe are that “people have a soul or spirit in addition to their physical body” and “there is something spiritual beyond the natural world, even if we cannot see it.” They are also likely to believe that animals and elements of nature like rivers and trees can have “spirits” or “spiritual energies.”
 

 
But there’s another, more nebulous concern that I have heard — and expressed myself — that organized religion is an obvious way to find meaning outside oneself and to form community, and that those things may be harder for some people to achieve without the ready-made structure that existing churches, temples and mosques offer.
 
Reporting this piece has changed my thinking somewhat, because I’ve been focused on the decline: the decaying church buildings with their fraying exteriors and cold, emptying pews. What we may be seeing instead are the first shoots of regrowth, of something else that’s too new and diffuse to really track or understand properly.
 

 
https://www.nytimes.com/2024/07/03/opinion/spirituality-religion.html
__________________________________________________________
 
10. Judge blocks Biden administration’s inclusion of ‘gender identity’ in Title IX regulations, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, July 3, 2024, 5:38 PM
 
A third judge has temporarily halted the U.S. Department of Education from enforcing a regulation that would broadly prohibit discrimination based on a person’s self-asserted “gender identity.”
 
United States District Court Judge John W. Broomes issued a ruling that blocks enforcement of the regulation in every school and college in Kansas, Alaska, Utah, and Wyoming. The ruling also prevents the government from enforcing the regulation in every school and college that is attended by members of Female Athletes United and Young America’s Foundation, along with schools attended by children whose parents are members of Moms for Liberty — which are all listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
 
The U.S. Department of Education had already been blocked from enforcing the regulation in 10 other states based on two separate rulings: Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
 
Republican attorneys general in 12 other states have also filed lawsuits seeking to block the department from enforcing the rules in their states.
 
The Biden administration regulation, which is set to go into effect on Aug. 1, would reinterpret Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination to include a new prohibition on discriminating against a person’s “gender identity.” The rule would prohibit education institutions that receive federal funds from enforcing any policy or practice that “prevents a person from participating in an education program or activity consistent with their gender identity,” even when the self-purported gender identity is different from the person’s biological sex.
 

 
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/258192/judge-blocks-biden-administrations-inclusion-of-gender-identity-in-title-ix-regs
__________________________________________________________
 
11. Israeli embassy criticizes Holy Land Catholic leaders for statement on ‘just war’, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, July 3, 2024, 3:05 PM
 
Israel’s embassy to the Holy See is criticizing a recent statement by Catholic leaders in the Holy Land that suggested Israel’s ongoing campaign in Gaza is not a “just war.”
 
In a statement June 30, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Holy Land implied that Israel’s behavior in Gaza goes beyond the “proportionate use of force” necessary for a war to be rooted in justice.
 
The commission, sponsored by the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, brings together Latin and Eastern Catholic leaders in Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Cyprus. It is led by Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.
 
The June 30 statement pointed to the high death toll in Gaza as a sign that Israel’s conduct there is not just.
 

 
In a response posted to social media July 2, the Israeli embassy to the Holy See characterized the statement as “using religious pretext and linguistic stunts” to de facto object to Israel’s “right to defend itself.”
 
The embassy stated that Israel’s objective from the beginning of the conflict was “to end Hamas rule in the territory and secure that atrocities like the ones committed on Oct. 7 [2023] will not happen again.”
 

 
Pope Francis himself has questioned the concept of just war, saying “war is essentially a lack of dialogue.” Just this week, a top Vatican official said the concept of just war “is being reviewed.” 
 

 
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/258183/israeli-embassy-criticizes-holy-land-catholic-leaders-for-statement-on-just-war
__________________________________________________________
 
12. Why the Vatican hasn’t settled with Libero Milone, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, July 3, 2024, 1:40 PM
 
The Holy See’s former auditor general was back in Vatican City court Wednesday, for the preliminary appeal hearing of his lawsuit against the Secretariat of State.
 
Libero Milone is suing for wrongful dismissal and damages over his 2017 ousting, in which he was forced to resign under threat of prosecution by then-sostituto at the secretariat, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, and the then-head of the Vatican City Corps of Gendarmes, Domenico Gianni.
 
But as the case enters its second phase, many wonder how it ever got this far to begin with, since hardly anyone seems to dispute Milone’s basic narrative.
 
The answer to that may be that, however embarrassing his lawsuit might be, litigating the matter is seen in the Vatican as better than the alternatives — at least for some people.
 
For many of those who have followed the progress of justice in the financial crimes scandals of the last decade, the Milone result appeared like a deliberate exercise in legal sophistry by the Vatican to deny justice to the scandal’s most obvious individual victims.
 
A more rounded analysis of events might conclude that “the Vatican” has no real coherence as an institution in Milone’s case, and he has been left stranded in the middle of competing institutional interests:
 
On the one hand, there is the Secretariat of State, which is currently party to another major lawsuit in London while still embroiled in the appeal process for the criminal trial which convicted Becciu and 8 other former secretariat staff and advisors.
 
Put simply, if the secretariat were to accept liability for what happened to Milone it would leave it open to millions of euros in damages — do say nothing of having to absorb another body blow to its public credibility. After years of humiliating public losses — financial and moral — it’s unclear if the papal secretariat has the institutional reserves to absorb more of either.
 
On the other side, the Vatican City court is trying to pick its way through a reputational minefield, with its credibility frequently called into question during and after the financial crimes trial. In Milone’s case, it is being asked to judge between what may be a pressing moral claim and a technically impregnable legal defense.
 
For many looking in from outside, the fact that Milone’s case has made it to court at all, let alone to the point of appeal, looks like a self-inflicted wound by “the Vatican.” After all, it isn’t as if either of the major antagonists, Becciu and Gianni, remain in post. On the contrary, both have had to resign in disgrace and, in the cardinal’s case, his former department has branded him a liar and a criminal in their own legal submissions in London.
 
And indeed, it isn’t the case that Milone’s lawsuit is some kind of legal inevitability, and that there is no way for “the Vatican” to act to resolve his grievances reasonably and with an appearance of justice.
 
But the two obvious options for doing so rely on men who, at least so far, show no obvious interest in getting involved.
 
The first, most obvious way for Milone’s situation to be resolved — including to those closest to Milone’s legal team — would seem to be for the whole matter to be settled out of court. This could allow for some kind of choreographed vindication of Milone’s reputation without necessarily an admission of any substantial liability by the Secretariat of State.
 
But any such settlement would have to be brokered with the approval of Pope Francis, who has repeatedly rebuffed such suggestions, sources close to the Secretariat of State have told The Pillar.
 
Why the pope remains apparently set against blessing a settlement is unclear, and sources disagree on the likely reasons.
 
Some say Francis is personally stung by Milone’s public denunciations of curial corruption as he has made his case in public, and believes they undermine his credibility as a reformer.
 
Others suggest the pope is embarrassed at having been manipulated by Becciu and feels like settling with Milone would be an admission of personal responsibility for what happened.
 
Still other sources close to the case argue that Francis is determined not to interfere in any Vatican legal process, and is acutely sensitive to allegations the Vatican is operating a kangaroo court system.
 
Whatever the reason, however much some senior figures within the Secretariat of State have been open to some kind of settlement, Pope Francis has entertained no such notions.
 
On the contrary, although Francis met and spoke several times with Cardinal Becciu during his trial, sources close to the Secretariat of State say the pope has denied repeated requests for a meeting with, or even about, Milone.
 
The second possibility for addressing Milone’s claims — uncontested claims at this point — that he was wrongfully forced from office by Cardinal Becciu and Domenico Gianni would seem to be for the Vatican City state to treat the whole affair as a criminal matter.
 
The Secretariat of State has already conceded as much in the current lawsuit, accepting that any action by Becciu to coerce Milone’s departure and co-opt Vatican police in the process, would have been extralegal acts and abuses of office.
 
Similarly, Gianni’s role in detaining and interrogating Milone and his former deputy for hours, threatening them with criminal prosecution and demanding they sign documents, would seem to fall easily within the bounds of a prosecutable offense.
 

 
Since he first announced his intention to sue, the auditor has repeatedly stated that he retains copies of his official files, including proof of systematic corruption at the highest levels of the curia. He has since deposited all this evidence with the court, so all sides — the Secretariat of State, the judges, and presumably the pope — know exactly what he has.
 
The real question may prove to be not if he can find justice in Vatican City, but how far he is willing to go — and how publicly — to clear his name and restore his reputation if he is denied it.
 
For now at least, “the Vatican,” in all its forms, appears to be trying to call his bluff.
 
https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/why-the-vatican-hasnt-settled-with
__________________________________________________________
TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!


“Conversations with Consequences” is an audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.