The priest appointed last month as an interim prelate of the so-called Vatican Bank is associated with the “gay lobby” at the Holy See, according to an article by analyst Sandro Magister released today.
Magister’s column for L’Espresso recounts that Monsignor Battista
Mario Salvatore Ricca, who was appointed temporary prelate of the
Institute for Works of Religion June 15, had a relationship with another
man – the “intimacy” of which was “so open as to scandalize numerous
bishops, priests, and laity” of Uruguay, where he served in the
nunciature from 1999 to 2004.
Msgr. Ricca was appointed to his position, serving as secretary at
meetings of the cardinals’ commission on the Vatican Bank and assisting
in meetings of the bank’s board of superintendents, by the commission
with the express approval of Pope Francis.
He was intended to be a part of the reform of the scandal-ridden institution.
Yet “just one week” after the appointment, Pope Francis was informed
by sources within the Vatican diplomatic corps of “some episodes from
Ricca’s past previously unknown to him,” Magister wrote.
When Msgr. Ricca went to the nunciature in Montevideo, he had a residence assigned to his friend Patrick Haari.
In 2000, the new nuncio to Uruguay, Archbishop Janusz Bolonek, found
the arrangement “intolerable,” according to Magister. He was able to
have Haari dismissed, and Msgr. Ricca transferred, after the priest was
found in two compromising situations.
In one of the situations, the monsignor was beaten up, having gone to
“a meeting place for homosexuals” in Montevideo, as he had “on other
By 2004 Msgr. Ricca had been transferred to the Vatican, working for
the secretariat of state.
Since 2006 he has been charged with the
direction of several residences for clerics visiting Rome, including the
Saint Martha House, where Pope Francis has taken up residence.
“This allowed him to weave an intricate network of relationships with
the highest levels of the Catholic hierarchy all over the world,”
according to Magister.
Though Archbishop Bolonek has always been severe in his reports on
Msgr. Ricca, Magister said, “at the Vatican there are some who actively
promoted” a cover-up of his misdeeds.
But his appointment as prelate of the Vatican bank brought bitterness
to the “many” persons who “knew about his scandalous past,” and Pope
Francis was finally made aware of it.
Magister wrote that Pope Francis responded to the information with
“sadness over having been kept in the dark with regard to such grave
matters, and the intention to remedy the appointment he had made.”
CNA was told by Magister July 18 that his article was “verified word
for word,” and “constituted on primary sources, including
The term “gay lobby” in reference to the Vatican made headlines
recently when a group of Latin American religious recorded that Pope
Francis acknowledged its existence to them in a June 6 audience.