Europe

Italian cardinal makes donation after flat row

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on 3 June 2011 in Vatican City Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has defended the money he spent on the apartment

An Italian cardinal has donated €150,000 (£109,000) to a Catholic charity which allegedly footed the bill for renovations to his luxury flat.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was donating the money for medical research "to make amends", said Mariella Enoc, head of the Bambino Gesu Hospital.

Cardinal Bertone said he had paid for the work on his residence himself.

However, documents leaked to reporters earlier this year allege the €200,000 came from the Bambino Gesu Foundation.

The foundation collects donations for a children's hospital in Rome.

Vatican leaks lift the lid on Pope's financial battle

Vatican reforms may be starting to bite

Ms Enoc said that the cardinal had acknowledged the affair had "damaged our hospital and our foundation... and thus he is making amends to us with a donation".

Cardinal Bertone, 81, was the Vatican's secretary of state - a role equivalent to prime minister - under Pope Benedict XVI but was replaced when Pope Francis was elected in 2013.

He has defended his use of the top-floor flat overlooking Saint Peter's Square, saying that he shares it with a community of nuns who look after him.

But apparently lavish lifestyles are at odds with the tone now set by Pope Francis, who lives in a modest suite of rooms in the Vatican's Santa Marta guest house.

Italian news agency Ansa quoted Cardinal Bertone as saying that the money he was giving was "a voluntary donation".

"It's not reimbursement, because I personally haven't done any damage," he was quoted as saying.

He said he would donate the money in instalments from his savings and from contributions for charity that had been made to him over the years.

"My life is not luxurious," he reportedly said.

Cardinal Bertone was widely criticised over the so-called "Vatileaks" scandals in 2012.

The leaked documents revealed corruption and infighting at the Vatican.

The cardinal said he had been the victim of "moles and vipers".

More on this story