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Pope reportedly displeased at lavish canonization banquet

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Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Vatican Prefect for Economic Affairs, has revealed to the news media today that Pope Francis was apparently highly displeased by the nature of an extravagant banquet that took place on the veranda of the offices of that prefecture on the day of the canonizations of Popes St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII. “I can’t reveal what [the Pope] said. I informed him about it and I can only say that he was not pleased, so to speak. But I can assure you that these incidents will not happen again,” Cardinal Versaldi told an Italian television network, as reported by Catholic News Agency. The banquet is said to have cost sponsors around $25,000, and it was apparently not paid for with Vatican funds.

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“Like many of you, I was also surprised and outraged by this. I have immediately begun the search for an explanation, which is still in progress, and I have informed all of the chief authorities in order to try to find the person responsible for all of this, which clashes with the spirit of a canonization and especially with the style Pope Francis wanted for this celebration, one of sobriety and participation by the people,” Cardinal Versaldi said in a statement. Versaldi was apparently not present for the affair, which is said to have been organized by Italian businesswoman Francesca Chaouqui, who has a seat on the Vatican's Financial Oversight Commission.

Chaouqui denies that she had anything to do with organizing the banquet, and claims that charges that she did so are an attempt to discredit her before the Holy Father.