Four Priests Charged In Vatican Banking Scandal
- FEB. 9, 2012, 1:54 PM
Italian investigators have charged four priests with laundering money out of the Vatican’s official bank, the Institute for the Works of Religion, the National Catholic Reporter’s John L. Allen Jr. writes.
The Italian daily l’Unita was the first to report that the priests were being investigated for laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It’s the latest in a series of investigations into Vatican finances dating back to 2010. In December of that year, Pope Benedict XVI decreed an updated anti-money laundering law for Vatican finances.
Late last month, an Italian TV program published letters written by the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S. that charged the Holy See’s financial planners with cronyism and corruption.
In the letters, published by the popular Italian news magazine program “The Untouchables,” Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò said that his appointment to the U.S. was motivated by a desire to get him out of Rome because he was causing headaches, according to Les Echoes’ Guillaume Delacroix.
Viganò worried that his removal would cause disillusion among those hoping to clean up “corruption and dishonesty” in the city-state, including rigged contract bids and mismanaged investments, Allen reports.
The Vatican has denied the charges.
A Vatican Whistleblower Was Transferred After Exposing Catholic Corruption
SANYA KHETANI – JAN. 26, 2012, 12:20 PM – source (fonte): http://www.businessinsider.com/carlo-maria-vigano-vatican-corruption-2012-1
In yet another scandal to plague The Vatican, an Italian television show has revealed how a former top official was transferred against his will after exposing financial irregularities in the city’s functioning, Reuters reported.
The show “The Untouchables”, on private television network La 7 Wednesday night showed several letters that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the erstwhile deputy-governor of Vatican City, sent to superiors, including Pope Benedict, in 2011 about the corruption.
The Vatican criticized the “questionable journalistic methods” used in the investigation, while confirming the letters were authentic and expressing “disappointment over the revelation of reserved documents” in a statement posted on Vatican Radio’s website.
As deputy-governor of the Vatican City from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the No. 2 official in a department responsible for maintaining the city-state’s infrastructure.
Soon after his appointment, Vigano discovered corruption, nepotism and cronyism, especially in the awarding of contracts to outside companies at inflated prices, which he sought to remedy.
The TV program interviewed a member of the bankers’ committee — whose face was blurred and voice changed to protect his identity — who said Vigano had a reputation as a “ballbreaker” among companies that had contracts with the Vatican, because of his emphasis on transparency and fair competition.
While Vigano turned Vatican City’s budget from deficit to surplus during his tenure through cost-cutting, it made him some enemies, who had unsigned articles criticizing him as inefficient published in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale in 2011.
On March 22, 2011, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone removed Vigano from his position for reasons identical to those published in an anonymous articles published against him.
After writing to Bertone in vain, Vigano wrote directly to the pope, explaining how he had worked hard to “eliminate corruption, private interests and dysfunction that are widespread in various departments.”
Despite this, Vigano was named ambassador to Washington in October of last year after the sudden death of the previous envoy, a post he still occupies, according to The Washington Post.
The Holy See Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. said the Vatican was justified in transferring Vigano, and such reports formed part of the “biased coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church.”
The Vatican also warned it could take legal action against the TV show, according to the AP.
The church is more than just the pope
Part of the explanation is that the pope is not the Catholic church. Tip O’Neil said that all politics is local. I would argue that all religion is also local.
After a television interview, I was talking with a young producer who told me of her experience. She had been raised Catholic, but stopped going to church in college. Now she is engaged and was encouraged by her fiancé and Francis to give the church another try. After going to church a few times, she felt called to go to the sacrament of reconciliation. It was a disaster. The priest yelled at her and told her that everything bad that had happened to her was because she had not gone to confession in 10 years.
There will be no “Francis effect” if when people return to the church they do not meet someone like Francis at their parish. Going to confession today is like playing Russian roulette. You don’t know whether you will meet the compassionate Jesus or some angry, judgmental crank who thinks it is his job to tell people how bad they are. This is a form of abuse about which the church has done nothing.
Nor should we limit our focus to the clergy. Parish staff can be tempted to clericalism, and parish communities can ignore new parishioners who can feel lost in a crowd of people.
Try this experiment. Go to a Catholic church you have never attended and see how long it takes before someone initiates a conversation with you. Then go to an Evangelical church and try the same experiment. The Evangelicals will win every time.
Organizational theorists remind us that to reform an institution requires more than just rearranging the organizational chart. It requires a change in culture, or what we Christians call a spiritual conversion. A pope can point the way through both word and example, but unless we get on board there will be no permanent change in the church.
For centuries, the Catholic church has presumed that the role of the clergy is to be active and the role of the laity is to be passive. The Second Vatican Council tried to kill that notion, but old patterns die slowly.
In Brazil, Francis led the bishops through an examination of conscience, which included the question: Do we give the laity “the freedom to continue discerning, in a way befitting their growth as disciples, the mission which the Lord has entrusted to them? Do we support them and accompany them, overcoming the temptation to manipulate them or infantilize them?”
When conversation turns to the priest shortage, I sometimes joke, “Maybe God knows what she is doing. Maybe this is the only way to end clericalism in the church.”
The positive side of the priest shortage is that the few remaining priests (and sisters) can’t do everything and if the church is to survive, the laity must step forward and be empowered to make the church prosper. One pastor I admired used to joke, “More power to the people; less work for the father.”
Francis has given us hope and shown us the way, but it is up to us to pick up the ball and run with it. There is no room in the church for passive observers; we are all called to be the body of Christ active in our world today. That means participating in or supporting parish programs for liturgical music, hospitality, continuing education, Scripture discussion, youth ministry, and social justice, to mention just a few.
Francis’ desire for a “poor church for the poor” or for the church to be a “field hospital” has to be incarnated at the parish level or it will not happen at all.
Jesuit Fr. Thomas J. Reese is senior analyst for National Catholic Reporter.
Reese entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained in 1974.
He was educated at St. Louis University, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and at the University of California Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in political science. He worked in Washington as a writer and lobbyist for tax reform from 1975 to 1978.
He was an associate editor of America magazine, where he wrote on politics, economics and the Catholic church, from 1978 to 1985 and editor-in-chief from 1998 to 2005. He was a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center from 1985 to 1998 and 2006 to 2013.
While at Woodstock, he wrote the trilogy on the organization and politics of the church:Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church (1989), A Flock of Shepherds: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1992), and Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (1996). He also edited The Universal Catechism Reader (1990), an analysis of the first draft of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Episcopal Conferences: Historical, Canonical and Theological Studies (1989).
On May 14, 2014, Father Reese was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. His writings for the NCR do not necessarily reflect the views of the commission.
Father Reese is based in Washington, DC.
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Follow Reese on Twitter: @ThomasReeseSJ and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thomas.j.reese.9. His email is treesesj@NCRonline.org.
Vatican Bank is the main shareholder in ‘Pietro Beretta’ arms
source (fonte): usahitman.com
Perhaps few people know that Pietro Beretta arms factory Ltd. (the largest arms industry in the world) and is controlled by the Holding SpA Beretta and the majority shareholder of the Beretta Holding SpA after Gussalli Ugo Beretta, is the IOR (Institute for Works of Religion (commonly known as the Vatican Bank) private institution founded in 1942 by Pope Pius XII and headquartered in Vatican City.
The story is this, behind this is as follows:
Rome was not built in a day, nor the Vatican, and less its present opulence. Has its roots in the fourth century of the Christian era, when the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and made available to the Pope Sylvester I a colossal Fortunately, it actually turned into the 1st Pope rich history.
The Catholic Church is the only religious organization in the world that has as an independent state headquarters: Vatican City. With its 2 Km2 Vatican is much smaller than many golf courses in the world, and to follow it without haste does not take much more than an hour; Counting his riches, however, take considerably longer.
The modern opulence Vatican relies on the generosity of Benito Mussolini , who thanks to the signing of the Lateran Treaty between his government and the Vatican, gave the Catholic Church a number of safeguards and security measures.
The “Holy See” got the recognition as a sovereign state, the benefit of tax exemption of their property for the benefit of their citizens, they had to pay duties so imported from abroad. He was granted diplomatic immunity and its diplomats started to enjoy post-privileges of the profession, as well as foreign diplomats accredited to the Holy See.
Mussolini promised to introduce the teaching of the Catholic religion in all schools in the country and let the institution of marriage under the patronage of Canon Law, which did not admit divorce. The benefits were enormous given the Vatican including tax benefits, were predominant.
In 1933, the Vatican once again demonstrated its ability to engage in lucrative deals with the fascist governments.
The 1929, signed with Mussolini, was followed by another between the Holy See and the 3rd Reich of Hitler.
The manager Francesco Pacelli was one of the key figures of the pact with Mussolini, his brother Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII was in charge of negotiating as Vatican Secretary of State, signing a treaty with Hitler’s Germany.
Pius XII knew Germany. It was nuncio in Berlin during World War I and then as Secretary of State of Pius XI, had numerous presentations to the course he was taking German politics. As such, intervened decisively in the encyclical of Pius XI, known as “Mit brennender Sorge” (which translates “With Burning Concern”).
The initiative of the encyclical left, contrary to popular belief, the German bishops, the first draft was written in Rome by Cardinal Faulhaber.
The then Cardinal Pacelli, who speak German, gave definitive form, presented to Pius XI, was signed and publicada.
A despite constant pressure and great world, Pope Pius XII always refused to excommunicate Hitler and Mussolini, his pontificate was marked by adopting a false pose of neutrality.
When the Nazis invaded Poland, Pius XII refused to condemn the invasion; One of the biggest advantages that the Vatican would very lucrative agreement he had with Hitler was Kirchensteuer confirmation, or a church tax, is a state tax that even now must pay the German believers, and can only escape if they renounce their religion. In practice, very few who renounce it. This tax alone represents between 8 and 10% of total tax collected by the German government.
In 1969, the Vatican brought into to its inner cabal of financial planners a man named Michael Sindona, who accelerated the move of Vatican investments to offshore holdings.
This was because the Vatican was literally making a fortune, and there was no reason not to take advantage of modern financial instruments and strategies. Now, you need to know that there was already throughout Italy a dual-banking system. On one side were what we could call “regular banks,” but the church maintained a parallel banking system of what we informally known as “Catholic banks.” These were banks that throughout the country did business with the church and its officials, they were usually owned by Catholics, and they considered themselves as distinct from other parts of the financial community that they deemed “secular.” Beginning in the 1950’s, Nogara and the Vatican begin to harness and direct the financial power of these more conservative “Catholic” institutions and use that capitol for wider investment purposes. It’s a smart move financially, it’s also very legal, but it marks a distinct break in the history of the “Catholic bank” system, which is beginning to behave more and more like the financially savvy “lay” banks.
This is a behind the scenes look at some of the developments taking place inside the vatican bank. Cloaked in secrecy, the institution as been updating its systems and adopting technological advancements while releasing little to no information of its dealings and financial practices.