In a gesture as surprising as it is difficult to assess until there is an official explanation, Pope Francis has celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursdayin the afternoon in the private chapel of the residence of the excardenal Becciu, to whom he abruptly ceased as prefect of the Saints and withdrew the rights of cardinal in September 2020.
The news was released by an Italian Vaticanist who informed all his colleagues: «The Pope celebrated Mass of the Lord’s Supper this afternoon at around 5.30 pm in the chapel of the private apartment of His Eminence the Cardinal. Angelo Becciu. The cardinal is in charge of communicating it ».
While the Vatican Information Office maintained a strange silence, a reliable Vatican source noted that “it is not strange a paternal gesture of this type on a day like Holy Thursday. On several occasions, Francisco had held lunches with priests precisely in Becciu’s apartment. He has also commented in some homilies that Jesus washed the feet of all his disciples, including the one who was going to betray him.
Among the available reading keys is a curious report on divine mercy published precisely this Holy Thursday in ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ with the signature of its director on the two images of Judas and Jesus Christ that the Pope has in his personal study at Casa Santa Marta.
The first is a photograph of a Romanesque capital from the church of Vézelay, in France, which represents Jesus carrying Judas on his shoulders as in the representations of the Good Shepherd and the lost sheep. The second image, a gift from a French painter, is a painting of the risen Jesus who embraces the lifeless body of Judas who has come down from the tree in which he hanged himself as a ‘Pietà’.
The pope’s constant teaching on mercy and the fact that Holy Thursday is the day of the priests could explain the unusual gesture.
Six months after the sudden dismissal of Ángelo Becciu, an unprecedented punishment in the Curia, neither the Press Office nor the Vatican Court have yet provided the slightest explanation.
The only comments on the case are those of the interested party, who called a strange press conference the day after his dismissal to present himself as a victim: «I told (the Pope) that if I no longer have his trust, I will present my resignation. He has accepted it and has asked me to also renounce the privileges of the cardinal. I said ‘okay’. Later, the Vatican communiqué cited the ‘rights and duties’ of the cardinal, that is, I will not be able to enter the conclave or participate in meetings and ceremonies … I accept it, I accept it ».
Becciu retains only the honorary title of ‘cardinal’, as well as the apartment in the Vatican because Francis has told him that he must not abandon it: “I am leaving it for all the work you have done for me.”
Among the probable reasons for his dismissal is the disastrous management of the secrecy funds of the Secretary of State during his tenure as ‘number three’ of the Vatican and directly responsible for those funds from 2011 to 2018. The scandal of embezzlement of funds invested in apartments Luxury in London came to light on October 1, 2019 with the registration of its offices and the dismissal of four high-level officials at the Secretary of State. Since then they have been awaiting a trial in the Vatican Court that seems to never begin.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism