Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018

'Doubts' raised among cardinals over papal frontrunners


(By Christopher Livesay)
Vatican City, March 13 - Heading into the conclave
to elect the new pope this week, the names of two cardinals were
widely believed to be the frontrunners, one a Brazilian beloved
by Vatican insiders from the Roman Curia, the other an Italian
with backing from those interested in an outsider's reformist
But as Milan Archbishop Angelo Scola and Sao Paulo
Archbishop Odilo Pedro Scherer were locked into the Sistine
Chapel to vote among the 115 cardinal-electors, concerns over
their potential papacy were reverberating in Rome.
On Tuesday, just hours before the cardinals took part in a
pre-conclave mass at St Peter's Basilica, anti-mafia police
raided hospitals, homes and offices in the Lombardy region
around Milan in a healthcare corruption probe in Scola's
Scola himself is not implicated.
But for his childhood friend, former Lombardy Governor
Roberto Formigoni, it was the latest in a string of corruption
scandals involving his regional administration, which led him to
dissolve his executive last October.
One of the open charges involves an ongoing investigation
into whether Formigoni accepted money from a lobbyist for
private use, which he flatly denies.
Formigoni is one of the leading members of the Communion
and Liberation (CL) movement, a conservative lay-Catholic group
that encourages evangelization in all sectors of society, such
as schools and the workplace.
Scola was the CL's biggest advocate among the cardinals
until recently distancing himself from the group.
The movement, founded in the 1960s as a response to Marxism
and other leftist movements in Italy, carries huge political
clout in Italy, having lent substantial support to former
premier Silvio Berlusconi, among other politicians.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, an anonymous
European cardinal said Scola was "too connected to politics" and
said he plans to discuss CL in the conclave.
Another issue Vatican watchers expect the conclave to
address involves the troubled Vatican Bank where Scherer, a
former member of the Curia, is closely connected.
According to Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi,
the bank, otherwise known as the Institute of Religious
Works (IOR), was discussed at the last pre-conclave meeting of
the cardinals.
Lombardi said talk surrounded a brief report on the
"process of integrating with Moneyval," which is the Council of
Europe's committee on financial transparency.
The Vatican has been making efforts to comply with Moneyval
in order to join the 'white list' of states that respect
international standards on combating money laundering and the
financing of terrorism.
One high-profile controversy during Benedict XVI's papacy
involved the Vatican Bank, whose head was sacked amid a push to
get it on the UN's list of countries with flawless
anti-money-laundering credentials.
Scherer, who has defended the bank's record as a member of
its oversight commission, will likely face concerns from
cardinals who are interested in reforming the bank and making it
more transparent.
And given the questions raised over Scola's background,
Vatican watchers are increasingly coming to terms with the fact
that only God knows who will ascend the throne of St Peter.

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