Vatican: A Trial With Leaks

January 21, 2022
Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra

In an unprecedented trial, which opened on July 25, 2021, there are countless twists and turns. 

In yet another leak appearing on the blog of Sandro Magister, the famous Vaticanist, shows a summary of the voluminous file provided to the Tribunal of the Holy See last April by the current number two of the Secretariat of State, Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra.

Having succeeded Cardinal Angelo Maria Becciu in the post of substitute of the Secretariat of State on October 15, 2018, Archbishop Pena Parra had drawn up, in April 2021 – with the express authorization of the Holy Father – on behalf of the promoter of justice of the Vatican, an inventory of the dicastery at the time of his taking office, in order to shed light on “some aspects of the activity of the Secretariat of State regarding the 60 Sloane Avenue building in London.”

“The dossier is 322 pages long, with numerous attachments, but the key pages are the first 20, with the Note of Pena Parra. Which among other things includes information that could create a diplomatic incident with none other than China.”

Indeed, it was discovered that “’some news furnished by the archbishop of Vilnius (Lithuania) regarding the vulnerability’ of the Vatican computer system. With Pena Parra specifying as follows: ‘a nephew of the Archbishop, an expert on the subject, had evidence of China’s intrusion into our computer system, and we received proof of this,’” explains the current substitute of the Secretariat of State.

Apart from the computer hack, the picture that Msgr. Pena Parra paints of his dicastery when he took office, and in particular of his administrative office headed at the time by Msgr. Alberto Perlasca, is enough to create uneasiness in Rome.

Msgr. Pena Parra seems to have suffered from an obstruction on the part of some of his subordinates: “It is a mechanism in which the superior is put under pressure, pushing him to act in haste, portraying ‘catastrophic’ events, such as: ‘If this is not signed immediately there is a risk of losing a great deal of money.’… Many times I was unexpectedly interrupted even while meeting with ambassadors, bishops, etc., in order to sign urgent documents that, according to them, could not wait until the end of the talks.… The constant leitmotiv was that I did not know the ‘machine’ and therefore the reservations I expressed were groundless and only slowed down the work of the administrative office.”

And Msgr. Parra states: “the overall management was aimed at financial speculation and not at the conservative and same preservation of the assets of the Secretariat of State.”

When he mentioned the London matter which is the origin of the trial and at whose center is Cardinal Becciu, his predecessor, Msgr. Pena Parra came to the conviction that, “the administrative office...had been the victim of a scam.” 

“With his signature, premature and in any case not authorized by the superiors, Msgr. Perlasca had ceded to Mr. Torzi not only the thousand shares, but above all the exclusive right of management of the building,... creating considerable financial damage for the Secretariat of State, not to mention the reputational damage for the Holy Father and the whole Church.”