Holy Smoke

Is Pope Francis’s Vatican turning into Richard Nixon’s White House?

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In this episode

Damian Thompson

There was a point in the Watergate scandal when revelations came so thick and fast that journalists struggled to keep up with them. And we seem to have reached an equivalent point in respect to the scandals engulfing Pope Francis's Vatican. 

Last week I interviewed Vatican expert Ed Condon about the sacking of Cardinal Angelo Becciu, accused by the Pope of stealing or misusing unimaginable sums of Church money, something he denies. Since Ed and I spoke, there have been two developments, both in their own way hard to believe. 

First, Angelo Becciu is now accused of overseeing the transfer of large amounts of money to Australia during the trial on fabricated sex abuse charges of his arch-adversary Cardinal George Pell, who had rumbled him. 

Second, the Pope has announced the setting up of a commission to decide which Vatican financial transactions should remain confidential. And, incredibly, the man he has asked to run it is Cardinal Kevin Farrell, formerly one of the closest associates of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the pathological sex abuser who was for many years Archbishop of Washington. 

To quote the title of Lionel Shriver's celebrated novel, we really need to talk about Kevin. Listen to this episode to discover why.