Cardinal Becciu speaks of ‘drawing up a balance sheet’ of one’s life before God in homily — By: Catholic News Agency

Cardinal Angelo Becciu. / Credit: Claude Truong Ngoc, CC BY SA 40 via Wikimedia Commons

Vatican City, Jan 5, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

After being convicted on several counts of embezzlement of Vatican funds, Cardinal Angelo Becciu gave a New Year’s Eve homily recommending the congregation draw up “a balance sheet” of one’s personal life before God, according to an Italian media outlet.

Becciu, who was sentenced to five and a half years in prison by the Vatican’s criminal court on Dec. 16, celebrated Christmas in his hometown on the Italian island of Sardinia and presided over a Mass in the Cathedral of the Blessed Immaculate Virgin of Ozieri on Dec. 31.

“Recalling the past means drawing up a balance sheet of our personal lives before God, without closing our eyes to the issues that grip the society in which we live both locally and universally,” Becciu said in his homily, according to the Italian Catholic blog

“It also means having a calm and practical look at that reality, that mystery, which we hold most dear: the Church of God,” he said.

The cardinal was also welcomed as a “guest of honor” at a celebratory dinner with the poor after the Mass by Bishop Corrado Melis of Ozieri, who vehemently defended Becciu in a letter to his diocese after he was found guilty by a Vatican tribunal.

In addition to finding Becciu guilty of embezzlement of funds from the Vatican property deal in London, judges in the Vatican trial also convicted the cardinal for using Vatican money to pay Cecilia Marogna, a Sardinian woman who was employed by Becciu as a security consultant, and of embezzlement for sending 125,000 euros of Vatican money to a charity run by his brother in Sardinia.

Becciu has denied all wrongdoing and his lawyers have announced that the cardinal will appeal the ruling in the Vatican’s yearslong finance trial. 

Due to the appeal, the cardinal remains free as he awaits the appeal process for his case per Italian incarceration procedures for convicted criminals who have not committed violent crimes or are a flight risk. 

None of the other five people who received jail sentences at the end of the Vatican’s finance trial are currently behind bars, and it is expected that the appeals process could take at least a year for a new trial to conclude.

Becciu told the Sardinian television station TGR Sardinia after presiding over Christmas Mass at the parish church of Santa Sabina in his hometown of Pattada, Sardinia, that he felt “an affectionate welcome” on the island after his conviction.

Sardinian Bishop Melis published an emotional letter on the website of the Diocese of Ozieri immediately following the Vatican ruling saying that the sentence imposed on Becciu — whom he refers to endearingly in Italian as “Don Angelino” — caused him “immense suffering, … bitterness, and disorientation.”

“To dear Don Angelino I remember a phrase dear to Charles de Foucauld: ‘The cross is the daily bread of faithful souls,’” the bishop said.

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