When PopeWatch first mentioned Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui back on November 13, 2013 he wrote the following:
PopeWatch has noticed that the closer one pays attention to the day to day operations of the Vatican the more one becomes convinced that the Roman Catholic Church is the True Faith. Why? Well for the same reason that a Jewish merchant converted to Catholicism in the Renaissance. He had expressed an interest in converting to a Catholic merchant friend of his. He announced to his friend that he was going to Rome to see the operation of the curia up close. His friend who knew the corruption at Rome was aghast and assumed that his friend would lose all interest in converting. Instead his friend came back and announced that he was being baptized in a month. His friend was happy, but asked him why. “At Rome I saw how the curia operates. If I operated that way I would be bankrupt in a week. The Church however has been going strong in spite of this for sixteen centuries. It must be from God!”
The woman whose appointment as a PR representative for the Vatican raised eyebrows, has been arrested, per the Vatican Insider:
Spanish monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, 54, Secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and Italian PR woman Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, 33, are under arrest in the Vatican. The arrests have been validated but the woman was released because she collaborated in the investigations. The investigation carried out by the Vatican Gendarmerie and judiciary has apparently identified them as the alleged “poison pen letter writers” responsible for the latest document leak: two books that are yet to be published are based on the content of these documents. The books are titled “Avarizia” and “Via Crucis” and have been written by Emiliano Fittipaldi of Italian news magazine L’Espresso and journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, of Italian-based mass media company, Mediaset, respectively.
Vallejo Balda and Chaouqui were both members – the former was secretary, the latter was a member – of the commission in charge of examining and advising on the organisation of the economic and administrative structure of the Holy See (COSEA), established in July 2013 to examine the accounts and papers of all dicasteries and to suggest reforms in order to elucidate expenditures and improve overall management.
It was Vallejo himself, the Prefecture’s number two man, who put Chaouqui forward as a candidate for the commission (the idea is that the Prefecture will go once Curia reform is complete). But doubts and criticisms were raised in the weeks after Chaouqui’s appointment by the Pope: on Twitter, she claimed Benedict XVI had “leukaemia” while other messages she wrote, which were even more grave, took a swipe at the then Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone and Italian former minister Tremonti. Chaouqui defended herself by saying she was the victim of false accusations that stemmed from jealousies with regard to her new role and complained that strangers had been interfering with her Twitter account.
In light of today’s clamorous turning point, the PR woman’s interview with journalist Denise Pardo published on the L’Espresso website on 17 September 2013, appears significant. In the interview, Chaouqui stated that she had access “to highly confidential documets” and also talked about her friendship with journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.
Go here to read the rest. Background on her from the first PopeWatch featuring her:
The Holy See has been embarrassed by claims that Pope Francis’s new PR had accused a senior cleric of corruption and said that Pope Benedict XVI had leukaemia in tweets she made before she got the job.
The Vatican has reportedly launched an inquiry into the hiring of Francesca Chaouqui, 30, who was appointed as PR officer for a new papal committee set up to overhaul the Vatican’s financial administration in July.
Before securing the job, Chaouqui had extensively tweeted about Vatican affairs, often not mincing her words, giving rise to speculation that she had access to some degree of confidential information.
Sandro Magister at Chiesa gives us the background on this odd appointee:
The Vatican secretariat of state had accurate information about her a number of months before her appointment, last July 18, as a member of the commission for the reorganization of the financial-administrative offices of the Holy See, with the ability to access all of the most confidential documents.
In them it was maintained that Paolo Gabriele, the butler of Benedict XVI arrested and sentenced for stealing from the pope a an enormous number of confidential documents that were later given to the press, was not the only one in the curia to have acted in that way, but like him and after him there were others still in action, including a woman.
The “revelations” relative to this affair did not give the names of the protagonists. Including the latest and most spectacular anonymous interview, published in “la Repubblica” on March 7, 2013, a few days before the conclave that elected pope Bergoglio.
The interviewee, however, was a person so talkative as to swear up and down that she was the informant for the articles in “la Repubblica”: Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, 32, of a Moroccan father and Calabrian mother, residing in Rome, married, employed in public relations from 2007 to 2009 in the international law offices of Pavia & Ansaldo, then from 2010 in the offices of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and finally since 2013 in the offices of Ernst & Young, with a vast network of real or boasted relationships with journalists, politicians, businessmen, prelates, cardinals.
When, during those days of conclave, the identity of the anonymous informer of “la Repubblica” also came to the attention of the substitute secretary of state, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, he protested to the newspaper. Which in effect stopped publishing any more articles visibly traceable to the Chaouqui “source.”
On July 18, therefore, the news of the appointment by the pope of this young “PR” specialist to the commission for the reorganization of the Vatican administration left dumfounded those who were aware of the background.
But even for those who may have been in the dark it would have been very easy to get an idea of this character. It was enough to open her Twitter page, look at her profile, scroll through the messages.
One would have gathered from this, among other things, that Francesca Chaouqui has a direct connection with Gianluigi Nuzzi, the journalist who received and published the documents stolen from Benedict XVI by his unfaithful butler, and is an assiduous informer of the website dagospia.com, the source most widely followed in Italy for gossip and slander on the Vatican.
A Pope of course appoints thousands of people and it perhaps matters little that one of his appointees appears to be a self promoting leaker. However this does indicate that Pope Francis is not a detail man and that unless he surrounds himself with men who are, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui may be only one of many embarrassments for his pontificate.
That last sentence has proved quite prophetic.