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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis has sacked six Vatican employees without waiting for their trials to end, while praying on Labor Day "for all workers, so that no one loses their job and everyone is properly paid."
At 9 p.m. on the eve of the Feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of workers, the Holy See Press Office announced in a cryptic message that "individual measures have been arranged for some employees of the Holy See" as part of the investigation into certain financial transactions.
The dismissals revolved around "the investigation into financial investments and in the real estate sector of the Secretariat of State" — a reference to the purchase of a London property worth $220 million with donations taken from the pontiff's Peter's Pence collection. No details were communicated in the press statement.
Italian media, however, is accusing the pontiff of jettisoning due process. "The dismissals were made directly by Pope Francis who evidently did not want to wait for the end of the investigation launched by the court, a possible postponement in judgment and not even the final sentence," writes Franca Giansoldati, Vatican correspondent for Il Messaggero.
"One of the suspects — the secular official [Fabrizio] Tirabassi — has not even been questioned by the magistrates to date and his stay has been extended until July 31," he added.
Vaticanist Marco Tosatti notes that the dismissals give the impression of the pontiff as "capable of being 'just and hard'" and creating the picture of "transparency," but "not with the real culprits" who might be "some cardinal who really is the one who should be fired."
The writer also points out that Pope Francis suffers from a "scapegoat syndrome," finding scapegoats to take the blame "and then expels them, fires them."
Il Messaggero identifies the six sacked employees as:
Giansoldati emphasizes that the "layoffs" were made "while the court investigation into the story of the purchase of the famous London building is still ongoing, a controversial and tangled affair, but where every operation has always been endorsed by superiors and, ultimately, by the pope."
The staff is still under investigation and interrogations are underway, yet "no judicial reasons have been provided and this, probably, to make it impossible to challenge the administrative act" of dismissal, Giansoldati adds, noting that the dismissals were made "directly by Pope Francis, who evidently did not want to wait for the end of the investigation launched by the court, a possible indictment and not even the final sentence."
In Oct. 2019, five of the above employees were provisionally suspended from service for the property sales scandal involving the Secretariat of State.
Police raided the home and office of Msgr. Alberto Perlasca in February, Church Militant reported, as Perlasca headed the department responsible for managing Vatican investments and for overseeing the administration of the Peter's Pence fund.
Italian media also raised the unexplained sacking of Eugenio Hasler, who was fired personally by Pope Francis on March 28, 2017, and has been demanding justice ever since. In a recent Facebook post, Hasler, a senior official in the Vatican City State government, suggested that unnamed parties had falsified information to cause the pope to lose confidence in him.
Suggesting that he was made a scapegoat for senior clerics in the system with skeletons in their closet, Hasler wrote: "After three years, some things are coming to light, others will need more time, but we need to know. Almost all these people, and I emphasize almost all, are still in command and, in part, hold even more prominent positions (for example, promotions). They are not just laypeople ... ."
The news of the dismissals of the Vatican employees comes days after Pope Francis announced he would postpone the collection for Peter Pence from the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, on June 29, to Oct. 4, the day dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi.
Father Augusto Zampini, a member of Pope Francis' newly created Wuhan virus task force, admitted that the Holy See is losing income as a result of the lockdown and has been compelled to delve into emergency financial reserves to keep its head above water.
The closure of the Vatican museums from March 9 onward following the pandemic has resulted in a loss of over 11 million euros so far, Church Militant reported.
Last month, the Governorate of the Vatican City State issued an internal memo predicting "heavy repercussions" for "the economic and financial situation of the Holy See and of the State of Vatican City," which will "only become more serious with the passing of time."