Francesca Chaouqui, a sexy 32-year-old publicist who shockingly found her way into the higher echelons of the Vatican as the only female and youngest member has vexed the Vatican with betrayal after a string of ‘unholy’ nude photos of herself and her lover embarrassed the Holy See.
Chaouqui was hired in 2013 to be part of COSEA, the Pope’s Commission for Reference on the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See. Her appointment had caused an uproar in the Italian media. She was, at 30, the youngest member (by more than 20 years) on the influential eight-member panel. She was also the only female.
Chaouqui trained as a public relations pro, and felt felt she had no business being on a board whose mission was to help Pope Francis implement much-needed financial reforms on the Curia, the bureaucracy that governs the church. She was the only one without significant budgeting and accounting experience.
As far as anyone could tell, she was only brought on because of her relationship with Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, a Spanish priest from the ultraconservative Opus Dei order who was serving as a liaison between the laypeople on the commission and the clergy.
The Italian press immediately pounced on some of her questionable social-media activity, like a tweet about Pope Benedict XVI having leukemia or another tweet about a cardinal being corrupt — posts Chaouqui explained away by saying her account had been hacked.
Or there were the photos of her on the Internet that hardly seemed churchly, ranging from the merely saucy (glamour shots better suited for a department-store ad) to the outright racy (semi-nude photos of herself and her then-boyfriend, now husband).
Then came the cocktail reception she hosted during the canonization Mass for John XXIII and John Paul II, serving champagne and passing hors d’oeuvres to VIPs on a rooftop patio while the masses teemed below in St. Peter’s Square.
All of which served as prelude to last week, when Chaouqui was arrested, along with Balda, for illegally leaking confidential documents to a pair of Italian journalists writing tell-all books about fiscal chicanery at the Vatican.
However, at HAMILTONSTYLE we are wary of supporting Chaouqui’s arrest in this age of information disclosure. Although we know that for centuries, the Vatican has been enmeshed in secrecy scandals, if Chaouqui released information to the press using her discretion as a PR pro, her arrest smirks of executive high-handedness.
Surely however, “church-less” Chaouqui has caused the Pope and all Catholics hefty “churchy” betrayals that can’t be lived down in a hurry. Christianity generally is heading too far and fast towards a catastrophic implosion of immorality, greed and gluttony.