Pope Francis has called off a meeting with members the Papal Foundation, a charity that has been deeply divided over a request from Pope Francis to give a large donation to a scandal-hit hospital.
Donors objected to a personal request from the Pope to grant $25 million for a Rome hospital faced with serious allegations of money laundering and corruption. The foundation usually awards grants of no more than $200,000.
The Foundation sent half of the grant to the Holy See before complaints grew to such an extent that Foundation chairman Cardinal Donal Wuerl said he had asked the Pope to refuse the rest – a request that was granted.
On Thursday, the cardinal sent a new letter to donors saying the Vatican had postponed a regular meeting with Pope Francis “until all of the work of the Foundation is complete and its members and Stewards have agreed upon the Foundation’s mission, structure, processes, and relationship to the Holy See.”
The letter also says the Foundation needs to “address and adequately respond to a report from a board member, which includes anonymous sources and significant misinformation with seriously misleading allegations that continue to circulate among the Stewards of the Foundation causing confusion and disharmony.”
The Foundation holds its annual board meeting in Rome, allowing members to have an audience with the Pope, a privilege granted to the charity.
“While the postponement of the papal audience out of appreciation for our work might be a disappointment, at the same time, the wisdom of such a stop is evident,” Cardinal Wuerl added in his letter.
However, LifeSiteNews quotes anonymous donors who say the cancelation is a snub.
“The cancelation of the papal audience was surely not a result of wanting to have more Board meetings, but was obviously a fear about the pope facing a bunch of angry ripped-off donors. Do we really need to pretend otherwise?” one said.
To become a lay member, or “steward” of the Papal Foundation, donors must pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year.”