Vatican City, March 12, 2022 / 08:00 (CNA).
On the eve of Cardinal Angelo Becciu’s Vatican trial for fraud, Pope Francis spoke to the city-state’s justice system about the importance of working together and listening to everyone to ensure a fair trial.
Synodality in judicial matters, the pope said March 12, “means that all participants in the process…are called to contribute to the establishment of the truth through the adversarial process, the confrontation of arguments and the careful examination proofs”.
“This march together therefore requires a listening exercise which, as we know, falls within the very nature of a fair trial,” he added.
Becciu, who was forced to resign membership rights in the College of Cardinals in September 2020, has been charged with embezzlement, abuse of power and bribery of perjury.
The 74-year-old Italian cardinal has always denied any wrongdoing. He is due to appear next week as one of 10 defendants in a trial at the Vatican over the Secretary of State’s purchase of a luxury property in London.
At the opening ceremony of the judicial year of the courts of Vatican City State on Saturday, Pope Francis said judges must exercise an honest listening “without prejudice or preconceived ideas.”
“With the same willingness to listen, which requires time and patience, each member of the judicial formation must be open to the reasons presented by the other members, in order to arrive at a thoughtful and shared judgment. Listen to everyone,” he said.
He specifically thanked the Vatican’s chief justice and chief prosecutor, both of whom are working on the Becciu trial and arguing behind the scenes.
I thank, he said, the President of the Tribunal Giuseppe Pignatone and the promoter of justice Gian Piero Milano “for the dedication with which they engage in the delicate service of the administration of justice”.
Pope Francis said the work of Vatican City magistrates “is destined to increase in a season of reform,” citing innovations in the economic, financial and judicial fields.
“Reforms”, he explained, “which intend to correspond, on the one hand, to the parameters developed by the international community in various fields, such as the economic field, and, on the other hand, to the specific needs of the Church to adapt all its structures to an increasingly evangelical style.
He said steps have been taken to limit spending and enhance Vatican transparency in the management of public finances, “which, in a context such as the Church, must be exemplary and beyond reproach, especially on the part of those who occupy important positions of responsibility.
Referring to the speech of Saint John Paul II during the presentation of the new Code of Canon Law in 1983, Pope Francis said: “in serving the cause of justice, law must always be inspired by the commandment-law of the charity “.
“From this point of view, which excludes any self-referential vision of the law, he continues, the justice proposed by Jesus Christ is not so much a set of rules to be applied with technical expertise, but rather a disposition of life which guide those who have responsibilities and who ask above all for a commitment to personal conversion”.
“It requires a disposition of heart to implore and to nurture in prayer and thanks to which we can fulfill our duties by uniting the rectitude of the laws with mercy, which is not the suspension of justice but its fulfillment (cf. Rom 13:8-10).
Of criminal trials, Francis said that “justice must always be combined with the demands of mercy, which ultimately call for conversion and forgiveness.”
“Between these two poles, there is a complementarity and a balance must be sought,” he said.
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