VATICAN COURT CLEARS JOURNALISTS, CONVICTS TWO IN VATILEAKS TRIAL

VATICAN COURT CLEARS JOURNALISTS, CONVICTS TWO IN VATILEAKS TRIAL

(Vatican Radio) A Spanish priest and an Italian lay woman at the heart of the so-called Vatileaks 2 trial have been given jail sentences for leaking confidential documents, while two journalists also on trial were cleared by the Vatican court on Thursday.

Msgr. Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda was sentenced to eighteen months in prison, while Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, who has a three-week old son, was given a suspended ten months sentence.

The two Italian journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, who wrote best-selling books based on the leaked documents last year, were cleared by the court on the grounds that the Vatican judiciary has no jurisdiction over them.

A fifth defendant, Nicola Maio, an assistant to Vallejo, was found innocent at the end of the eight-month trial.

 

Advertisements

C9 CARDINALS WORK TOWARDS NEW APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION – THERE WAS ALSO THIS…..

C9 CARDINALS WORK TOWARDS NEW APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION

The Vatican today released a summary of the three days of work by the C9, the Council of 9 cardinals who are advisors to the Pope:

C9

The Council of Cardinals met with the Holy Father from Monday, April 11 to Wednesday, April 13. All members were present apart from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India, who was unable to attend for health reasons. The Pope participated in all the meetings aside from this morning’s session, due to the usual Wednesday general audience.

The conversations focused mostly on the various dicasteries of the Curia that have been the subject of reflection in previous meetings, with a view to the new apostolic constitution. These included the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and others.

The texts regarding the Holy Father’s proposal for the two new dicasteries referred to on other occasions – “Laity, Family, Life” and “Justice, Peace, Migrations” (also including Charity and Health Pastoral Care) were reread and submitted to the Holy Father for his decisions.

Other issues were considered: in particular, the criteria for gathering information for the appointment of new bishops, in the light of their identity and pastoral mission. The cardinals also reflected on the meaning and role of the nuncio.

Updates were also presented in the form of reports from the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy on issues within its sphere of competence, and from Cardinal O’Malley on the activity of the Commission for the Protection of Minors.

On the final day the Council worked to gather, order and integrate the various contributions that have emerged from the meetings so far, so as to begin to structure an overall proposal to offer to the Pope from the Council in view of the new Constitution.

The next meetings of the Council this year are scheduled to take place from 6 to 8 June, 12 to 14 September, and 12 to 14 December.

THERE WAS ALSO THIS…..

THE 30,000 FAITHFUL IN ST. PETER’S SQUARE for the weekly General Audience included Spanish film star Antonio Banderas. Accompanied by his girlfriend, Nicole Kimpel, Banderas was greeted personally by Pope Francis at the end of his catechesis and after having made an appeal for prayers for his upcoming visit to the Greek island of Lesbos in solidarity with refugees fleeing conflict. After the meeting Banderas tweeted: ‘nice chat with Pope Francis before we start filming in Rome’. Ahead of the audience he had let his followers know he was excited and looking forward to the meeting. Antonio Banderas is United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador. (Vatican Radio)

THE TRIAL FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF RESERVED INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS resumed today at 10 am in Vatican City State Tribunal, according to the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi.. It was attended by the 4 members of the Tribunal, the 2 Promoters of Justice and the defendants Ángel Lucio Vallejo Balda, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, Nicola Maio, (journalists) Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, with their respective legal representatives. The hearing was dedicated entirely to the interrogation of the defendant Gianluigi Nuzzi by the President, the Promoter of Justice, and the counsels for the defence of the other defendants. Some lawyers requested that the Court admit certain witnesses other than those already previously requested and admitted. The Court retired to the Counsel Chamber and subsequently refused the requests for new witnesses. The hearing ended at around 2.15 p.m. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on April 26 at 3.30 p.m. Since the interrogation of the defendants has now been concluded, the examination of witnesses will take place. (Press Office Bulletin)

 

POPE LIGHTS ASSISI CHRISTMAS TREE FOR REFUGEES – TRIAL UNDERWAY IN VATILEAKS 2 CASE – FR. LOMBARDI ON VATILEAKS TRIAL, VATICAN LAW AND JUSTICE

It is so exciting here in Rome as we are just hours away from the start of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, an event announced on March 13, 2015, the second anniverary of Pope Francis’ election. You should see St. Peter’s Square: the chairs are up for tomorrow’s papal Mass, pilgrims are viewing the Christmas Tree and Nativity scene and security is all over the place – visible and invisible.

Tomorrow, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, is a holiday in Italy and countless  numbers of people are taking four days off to celebrate, including the two-day weekend plus yesterday and tomorrow’s feast day. Many, including entire families with little children, have come to Rome for the Holy Year events.

Tomorrow’s agenda starts at 9:30 am with the papal Mass to open the Holy Year of Mercy, including the opening of St. Peter’s Holy Door, and continues in the afternoon with the traditional visit by the Holy Father to Pza. di Spagna where he will offer a floral homage to the statue of Mary Immaculate and say a prayer. EWTN will be carrying this ceremony and, of course the morning Jubilee Mass.

Tune in today (2pm ET) to At Home with Jim and Joy when I will bring you some updates on Jubilee preparations.

I am not sure what this page will offer you tomorrow. It is a holiday for Italy but not for the media. I will be busy in St. Peter’s Square and the Holy See Press Office and in the afternoon will do the TV commentary for Pope Francis’ visit to Pza. di Spagna. Tomorrow evening at 6, Rome time, there will be the recitation of the rosary in St. Peter’s Square at the statue of St. Peter: this will take place every night at that hour during the Holy Year.

If you are in the Eternal City tomorrow, come to St. Peter’s Square between 7 and 8 pm, Rome time, when there will be a light show on the facade and dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

POPE LIGHTS ASSISI CHRISTMAS TREE FOR REFUGEES

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday evening lit – remotely from the Vatican – the Christmas tree and nativity scene in the lower piazza of the Basilica of St.Francis in Assisi.

The nativity scene has been built into a seven-meter boat used by migrants to travel from Tunisia to the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2014. The ceremony was attended by 31 refugees from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Nigeria and Syria being hosted by Caritas Assisi. Also present was an Italian naval officer who had helped in some of the many rescues of migrants off the coast of Sicily. In this photo, you see the refugees next to some of the people from Assisi: (photo AP)

ASSISI TREE - AP

The Italian State Railway and Italian Navy also distributed toys to families in need.

Here is Pope Francis’ message during the illumination:

“Watching that boat … Jesus is always with us, even in difficult times. How many brothers and sisters have drowned at sea! They are with the Lord now. But He came to give us hope, and we must take this hope. He came to tell us that He is stronger than death, that He is greater than any evil. He came to tell us he is merciful, all mercy; and this Christmas I invite you to open your hearts to mercy and forgiveness. But it is not easy to forgive these massacres. It’s not easy.

“I would like to thank [members of the] Coast Guard: the good men and women. I thank you, for you were the instrument of hope that brings us Jesus. You, among us, you have been sowers of hope, the hope of Jesus. Thank you, Antonio, you and all your teammates and all that this land of Italy has so generously received: the South of Italy is an example of solidarity for the whole world! For everyone who looks at the crib, they can say to Jesus: ‘But, I also have lent a hand because you are a sign of hope’.

“And to all refugees, I say a word, that of the prophet: Raise your head, the Lord is near. And with him is strength, salvation, hope. The heart, perhaps, [is] sorrowful, but the head [is] high in the hope of the Lord.”

TRIAL UNDERWAY IN VATILEAKS 2 CASE

Vatican City, 7 December 2015 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today issued the following communique: “This morning at 9.30, in the Vatican City State Tribunal, a further hearing was held in the criminal trial for the dissemination of confidential news and documents.

“The defendants were all present, accompanied by their respective lawyers (all five of whom are currently recognised as ‘private’ lawyers: E. Bellardini for Msgr. L.A. Vallejo Balda, L. Sgrò for F. I. Chaouqui, R.C. Baffioni for N. Maio, L. Musso for E. Fittipaldi and R. Palombi for G. Nuzzi).

“The College of Judges (President Prof. Giuseppe Dalla Torre, and the members Prof. Piero Antonio Bonnet, Prof. Paolo Papanti-Pellettier and Prof. Venerando Marano) heard the oral presentation from the defence, along with the objections and demands already submitted in writing prior to the established deadline (Saturday 5 December).

“With regard to each objection and demand submitted, the opinion of the Promoter of Justice represented by Prof. Milano and Prof. Zannotti was heard.

“The College therefore retired to the Counsel Chamber shortly before 10.30 for around one hour. Finally, it communicated its decisions, providing the proper detailed motivations. The hearing concluded before midday.

“The objection presented by Chaouqui’s defence regarded the presumed lack of jurisdiction of the Tribunal given that the events took place in Italy and were carried out by a person declared a ‘political refugee’ in Italy. The objection was rejected, and the College clarified that the current law attributes without doubt the jurisdiction of the Vatican City State Tribunal, and observed that Chaouqui, by appearing before the investigators and the Tribunal, had in practice recognised such jurisdiction.

“The demand presented by the Msgr. Vallejo Balda’s counsel for the defence for a psychological evaluation of the defendant was rejected. The Promoter of Justice explained that the Vatican legal system admits requests for a ‘psychiatric evaluation’ but not for a ‘psychological evaluation’, and that aspects of the personality and behaviour of the defendant can emerge adequately during the proceedings.

Click here to read the rest of this story: http://www.news.va/en/news/new-hearing-in-the-trial-for-dissemination-of-rese

FR. LOMBARDI ON VATILEAKS TRIAL, VATICAN LAW AND JUSTICE

The following note by Fr. Federico Lombardi, head of the Holy See Press Office, was published today. He addresses the question of the judges and lawyers at Vatican City State Tribunal, Vatican law and the trial of 5 people in the so-called Vatileaks 2 scandal:

In recent weeks, since the opening of the trial for the dissemination of reserved documents commonly known as “Vatileaks 2”, many observations and evaluations have been written regarding the judicial system of Vatican City State and in particular on the Tribunal where this trial and its related procedures are taking place. Since many of these observations are inappropriate, or at times entirely unjustified, it would appear opportune to offer some considerations enabling a clearer view and a more just evaluation of this fundamental aspect of the situation.

Firstly, although this should be self-evident, it is necessary to recall that Vatican City State has its own legal order, entirely autonomous and separate from the Italian legal system, and has its own judicial bodies for the various levels of judgement and the necessary legislation in terms of criminal matters and procedure.

Within this latter there exist all the procedural guarantees characteristic of the most advanced contemporary legal systems. Indeed, all the fundamental principles are established and fully implemented: an independent and impartial tribunal constituted by law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a technical defence (by private or ex officio legal representation), and the freedom of the judicial college to form an opinion on the basis of evidence in public hearing and in debate between the prosecution and the defence, leading to the issuance of a sentence able to be substantiated and with the possibility of being contested by appeal and ultimately annulled.

All those engaged in judicial roles, both investigators and judges, are selected via cooptation; they may not be recruited by way of a public selection procedure open to the citizens of the State, as normally occurs in other States. They are selected from among professionals of the highest level, with consolidated experience and a recognised reputation (as may be seen in their curricula vitae, which can be consulted via internet). Indeed, they are all professors in Italian universities.

With regard to the lawyers, a violation of the right to a defence has been hypothesised. In this respect it is necessary to avoid a basic mistake: the current Vatican legislation, applied by the legal authorities, is perfectly in line with procedural law in the majority of jurisdictions throughout the world, where a specific qualification is required for admission to practice in the courts; this is issued subject to certain prerequisites and the possession of specified qualifications. It is therefore unsurprising that a lawyer able to practice in Italy may not be able to do so in Vatican City State, just as he or she would not be able to practice in Germany or France. Arguments to the contrary would imply that a foreign defendant would be able to claim to be represented in Italy by a foreign private lawyer, which is not permitted. Such conditions do not constitute a limit imposed by the Vatican legal order, but rather a further confirmation of its autonomy and completeness. All lawyers are enrolled on an easily consulted professional register of lawyers with right of audience before the Vatican City State Tribunal. Ex officio or private lawyers may be selected from the professionals on this register.

These are lawyers qualified not only at the Tribunals of the Church and the Holy See, but also in the Italian courts, as they are all registered in the respective councils of the Order of Italian lawyers. In addition, they also possess a second degree in canon law and a further diploma conferred following a three-year specialist course at the Roman Rota. Therefore, they are professionals who, aside from being in authorised to practise in Italy, are also in possession of further knowledge rendering them eligible for practice in a jurisdiction in which a knowledge of canon law is necessary.

These are prerequisites necessary to guarantee the professionalism and competence of those who are entrusted with ensuring the proper conduct of a trial which, for various reasons, attracts broad attention.

 

PRESS OFFICE ON LEAKS OF VATICAN DOCUMENTS – CONGREGATION ADDRESSES NEWS REPORTS ON ITS REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS

Pope Francis is back on Twitter!  Here is his November 12 tweet, the first since October 31:  As Christians, we are called to imitate the Good Shepherd and to help families experiencing difficulties.

PRESS OFFICE ON LEAKS OF VATICAN DOCUMENTS

Wednesday afternoon the following statement was released by the Holy See Press Office relative to news reports of alleged illicit financial activity by a Vatican office:

“In recent days articles have appeared in various media organs and news agencies that refer in a partial and imprecise fashion to the content of a confidential document, hypothesizing that in the past APSA has been exploited for an illicit financial activity. The Vatican’s judicial authority has opened an investigation in regard to the diffusion of this document. APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See) has always collaborated with the competent bodies, it is not the subject of an investigation and it continues to undertake its own activity with respect to norms in force.”

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI

Later Wednesday afternoon, the Holy See Press Office issued an additional statement on Wednesday that confirmed that a pair of Italian journalists are under investigation by Vatican police (the Gendarmeria), under the direction of judicial magistrates probing the leak of confidential documents that allegedly indicate mismanagement at high levels of the Roman Curia. (Vatican Radio)

Journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi each wrote a book released earlier this month, claiming to give details of what they describe as resistance to the Holy Father’s efforts to reform the machinery of central Church governance.

In his statement, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, said other officials are under scrutiny for possible involvement in the document leak as well.

Following is the full text of Fr. Lombardi’s statement, in Vatican Radio’s English translation:

The Vatican Gendarmeria, in its capacity as judicial police, had informed the Vatican judiciary of the operations of two journalists [Gianluigi] Nuzzi and [Emiliano] Fittipaldi, in connection with [their] possible participation in dissemination of reserved information and confidential documents – a crime under the Vatican City criminal code (Law n.IX SCV, of 13 July 2013 Art. 116b).

In the investigative activity already undertaken, the Judiciary has acquired elements of evidence of the fact of the two journalists’ involvement in the offense, who therefore are now under investigation.

The situations of other persons who, owing to their official positions, could have cooperated in the acquisition of the reserved documents in question, are also under investigation.

CONGREGATION ADDRESSES NEWS REPORTS ON ITS REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS

(VIS) – The following is the full text of the communique issued yesterday afternoon by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples on news relating to its ownership of real estate.

“The Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, also known as ‘Propaganda Fide’, adheres fully to the Holy Father Francis’ line of thought and guidance with regard to the life and reform of the Roman Curia; in addition, it his committed to pursuing the institutional aims set forth in the Apostolic Constitution ‘Pastor Bonus’, as well as respecting the will of donors who over the years have contributed to its missionary work. Therefore, it welcomes all the administrative reforms anticipated by the Secretary for the Economy and submits all the budgets and final accounts to the latter.

“Certain insinuations on the part of certain sectors of the media, which circulate news not corresponding to the truth, are therefore unacceptable. It has been written, for example, that the Congregation offers luxury properties for rent at low prices as favours, and even that it hosts a spa or is the proprietor of the Hotel Priscilla.

“The real estate belonging to the Congregation, donated for the Missions, is rented at market value; there are exceptions in the case of situations of poverty. The aforementioned properties are rented in accordance with current Italian legislation, to which both the Congregation as the owner and the recipient are subject.

“The income deriving from the rent of these properties, for which regular tax is paid in Italy (in 2014 the Dicastery paid IMU – imposta municipale unica, property tax, of 2,169,200 euros in Rome alone) is destined principally for the maintenance of the Congregation, the Pontifical Urbanian University, the Pontifical Collegio Urbano, the missionary institutions and young Churches in the mission territories.

“Propaganda Fide is grateful to the benefactors who, with its help, make it possible for the Gospel to be announced and provide support for innumerable educational, social and healthcare initiatives in the poorest countries.

“We wish to clarify that, should such dissemination of false or biased information recur, this Congregation will be obliged to protect its image in the appropriate forums.”

POPE FRANCIS: “STEALING VATICAN DOCUMENTS IS A CRIME”

POPE FRANCIS: “STEALING VATICAN DOCUMENTS IS A CRIME”

Sunday, November 8, after praying the Angelus with the huge crowd of faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis referred to the recent theft and publication of confidential Vatican documents, saying such an action was “a crime” and “deplorable act that does not help.”

ANGELUS - ALL SAINTS

“I know that many of you have been upset by the news circulating in recent days concerning the Holy See’s confidential documents that were taken and published,” began the Holy Father. “For this reason I want to tell you, first of all, that stealing those documents was a crime. It’s a deplorable act that does not help. I personally had asked for that study to be carried out and both I and my advisers were well acquainted with (the contents of) those documents and steps have been taken that have started to bear fruit, some of them even visible.

Francis said he wanted “to reassure you that this sad event certainly does not deter me from the reform project that we are carrying out, together  with my advisers and with the support of all of you.  Yes, with the support of the whole Church because the Church renews itself with prayer and the daily holiness of each baptized person.”

He concluded with his habitual request for prayers, saying “I therefore thank you and ask you to continue to pray for the Pope and the Church, without getting upset or troubled but proceeding with faith and hope.”