The Vatican City State is building a bigger courtroom.
The head of the country’s tribunal said Wednesday it expects that unspecified but upcoming judicial processes could require seating for a larger-than-usual number of attendees, and that a new courtroom for the country is being prepared in a space that was until recently occupied by the Vatican Museums.
Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the Vatican City State’s court system, made mention of the courtroom expansion during a hearing Tuesday in the trial of two priests, one accused of sexual abuse and the other of coverup, at the St. Pius X preseminary in the Vatican City State, at which boys discerning priesthood study, and traditionally serve at the altars of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Pignatone said that a June 7 hearing in the trial will be held in the new courtroom if it is by then ready, according to Proceso Digital. The judge added that the new room has been designed to accommodate more people than the small Vatican courtroom presently used by the city state’s court, which conducts trials for alleged crimes committed in the state.
While the St. Pius X preseminary trial has attracted international attention, the Vatican City State also seems to be anticipating the possibility of upcoming trials in the sprawling and ongoing investigation into Vatican financial scandal centered at the Holy See’s Secretariat of State.
Pope Francis has in recent weeks made several changes to the Vatican City State’s criminal procedure, allowing cardinals and bishops to stand trial before the city state’s civilian-led courts, permitting alleged criminals to be tried in absentia, and creating new sentencing guidelines for crimes committed in Vatican City.
Also on Wednesday, Gianluigi Torzi, the businessman at the center of the Vatican financial scandal, was arrested in London on an Italian arrest warrant. Torzi, likely to face criminal charges for tax evasion, fraud, money laundering and other financial crimes, was charged in the Vatican last year with extortion, money laundering, fraud, and embezzlement, and could face trial in the Vatican City State.
Among those officials is Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the now-disgraced former deputy at the Secretariat of State, whom, several sources tell The Pillar, Pope Francis is considering authorizing a Vatican trial.