Skip to comments.Pope Francis asked the IOR maximum transparency (Vatican Bank)
Posted on 04/26/2013 6:20:26 PM PDT by markomalley
"The Pope is currently devoting his attention and his forces to the priorities of wider interest of the government of the Church specifies the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi .Anche-though of course encourages the continuation of the commitment of transparency in administrative and financial activities the Holy See and the various Vatican institutions. "
Francis wants to get to the bottom of the Vatican bank situation, once and for all. Before taking any decision (whether this be reform or a handover), Pope Francis intends to shed light on how exactly the bank works. The identity of the IORs anonymous coded account holders has been one of the Vaticans best kept secrets and this is not the first time the code of bank secrecy has been challenged when suggestions were made to review the Churchs finances. For example, when John Paul I was Patriarch of Venice and challenged Marcinkus over the controversial handover of a Venetian Catholic institute, he had intended to shed light on who the real owners of some funds that had been deposited in the Curia, in view of a major overhaul of internal structures.
It is possible that the IOR could undergo some changes as part of the reform process started in the Roman Curia by the new Pope. This has been confirmed both by Honduran cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Madariaga, one of the eight wise men summoned by the Pope and by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, who drew up the first reform draft. It is unlikely Bergoglio will shut the Vatican bank down as it is useful for financing Churches in poorer countries that are undergoing great economic hardship.
But the scandals surrounding the IOR have taken their toll on the Vatican. The banks profits do not go to shareholders (who do not exist) but to religious works and to charity. How does the Church go about changing peoples perception of the Vatican bank being a tool used by the mafia for money laundering? This may or may not be true, said Mgr. Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo in a recent interview with Argentinean newspaper Clarin. It is true that rich Italian money. I think Benedict XVI really did put his foot down and work is being done to clean the bank up and change it. I think Bergoglio will be even more rigorous. He is a very practical man and he is not Italian.
In an interview with American Vatican correspondent John Allen, Bergoglios former spokesman in Buenos Aires, Federico Wals, mentioned the time when the then cardinal decided to distance the diocese from a number of banks, to guarantee a more rigorous handling of the Churchs accounts, turning to trustworthy credit institutions. So the transformation of the IOR into a sort of ethical bank is a possibility. This would affect the IORs foreign investments which are predominantly in government bonds and low risk portfolios. Average annual interest rates fluctuate between 4 and 12%. Taxes do not exist in side the Vatican City State, so we are speaking in terms of net profit. The decisions taken with regard to the IOR will be part of an overall overhaul of the Vatican financial system, which could lead to economic dicasteries (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, which has a bank of its own the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, which Bertone transformed into a sort of ministry of budget) being merged under the leadership of the Governorate.
The Vaticans Financial Information Authority, Moneyvals suggestions and Bergoglio are in agreement over one thing: offices are necessary but only to a certain extent. One of Benedict XVIs last moves before stepping down from the papacy was approving the nomination of the lawyer Ernst von Freyberg by the Cardinals Commission that oversees the Institutes for the Works of Religion (IOR), 9 months after the painful dismissal of the banks then director, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.
But during the Ash Wednesday mass, Benedict XVI himself denounced the divisions that disfigure the face of the Church, admitting to some cardinals that his biggest regret about leaving the Pontificate was that he was not able to complete the Reform of the Curia begun by Paul VI, with a view to making it a more sober and efficient governing body. This involved the reorganisation of economic dicasteries (APSA and Prefecture) which could become sections of the Secretariat of State, which is in turn part of the Governorate of the Vatican City State.The Secretariat of State is not a dicastery of the Curia but provides it with organisational and logistical support.
In essence, the four current cardinals Bertone, Bertello, Versaldi and Calcagno would be reduced to one and the Secretariat of State would be split into 3 or 4 sections instead of the current two (the general affairs section under substitute, Becciu, and the relations with states section headed by Mamberti). This means there would be ten less heads of dicasteries, a shocking choice, though one that has been made before: in 1973 Paul VI gave 65 year old Paolo Bertoli an early retirement, leaving him without a job ; in 2006 Benedict XVI moved Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe from the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and made him Archbishop of Naples. He also moved the President of the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Christians, Mgr. Michael Fitzgerald, to the Nunciature of Cairo. The IOR employs 130 people, its assets total 5 billion euros (in 2008), it holds 44 thousand current accounts, reserved for Vatican employees, the clergy and a number of lay people and private corporations.
I’m glad he’s willing to take them on. His humble trappings will help him, in that regard. He won’t be seen as grasping for power, just righting wrongs.