John L. Allen Jr.: If trial’s a test of accountability, what grade will the Vatican get?

(Crux) Outside the rather small world of the Vatican and its environs, Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina, two Italian laymen and former officials of a foundation overseeing the papally-sponsored pediatric hospital Bambino Gesù, are hardly household names, even among people who would score off the charts otherwise on most tests of Catholic literacy.

However, with Pope Francis out of town this week for a trip to Colombia, Profiti and Spina will share a few awkward moments in the spotlight, as they stand trial in a Vatican criminal court for allegedly misappropriating roughly $500,000 of the children’s hospital’s money.

In all likelihood, however, even the specter of the latest blockbuster Vatican trial, following “Vatileaks” and “Vatileaks 2.0,” won’t be enough to make the two celebrities, because the real star of this show is also the missing player in the drama: Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a former Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who was never charged or even investigated, but whose private Vatican apartment benefited from the funds Profiti and Spina allegedly diverted.

The trial against Profiti and Spina gets underway Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. Rome, and there’s no hard-and-fast limit on how long it might go. However, signs suggest the court is hoping it can be wrapped up in a matter of days, perhaps even before Francis returns next Monday. [More]