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Sunday, 20 June 2010

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Google Reader (27): "Catholic church dragged into public works scandal that has sent shockwaves through Italian government

A senior Vatican cardinal is under investigation for corruption, dragging the Catholic church into a public works scandal that has sent shockwaves through the Italian government.

Italian media reported today that Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the archbishop of Naples, was suspected of striking cosy deals while head of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the Vatican congregation that uses proceeds from a property empire including 2,000 Rome apartments to fund missionary efforts.

Sepe allegedly oversaw the sale in 2004 of a building in Rome to the then transport minister, Pietro Lunardi, for the suspiciously low price of €4.16m, newspapers reported, adding that magistrates wanted to know why Lunardi then freed up €2.5m in state funding the following year for the congregation to create a museum in its headquarters, and why that museum never opened.

Lunardi, who is also under investigation, said he would contact the magistrates looking into the deal 'as soon as possible... to clear everything up'.

Sepe gave a fiery homily today in Naples, asking his congregation: 'How many martyrs are there, even today, who in the name of the truth... are tortured, humiliated and disrespected?'"

I like the last bit. Nothing like acting indignant and laying it on thick, really thick.

Lord Blagger

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