Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vatican Bank Scandal to Erupt in U.S. Secular Press

John Allen at the Birdcage Liner, the only writer worth reading there, has the relevant facts. First, a brief quote, and then I’ll give you some points to bear in mind if and when conversation around the water cooler turns ugly:

This morning, Italian authorities announced that U.S. $30 million in funds belonging to the Vatican Bank have been seized, and the bank’s president and another senior official have been placed under investigation, following allegations of money-laundering. Specifically, prosecutors apparently believe that the Vatican Bank is being used by some Italian entities and VIPs to disguise financial fraud or tax evasion. […]

The clear desire for full transparency regarding the financial operations of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), demonstrated many times by the authorities of the Holy See, is well known. That requires that procedures designed to prevent terrorism and money-laundering be put into effect. For this reason, the authorities of IOR for some time have been pursuing the necessary contacts and meetings, both with the Bank of Italy and the relevant international bodies – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Financial Action Task Force – in order to insert the Holy See into the so-called “White List.”

The Holy See, therefore, is perplexed and astonished by the initiative of the Prosecutor of Rome, especially since the information necessary is already available from the relevant offices of the Bank of Italy, and analogous operations are going on concurrently with other Italian institutions of credit.

In case you didn’t get that, here it is by the numbers:

  • The “Vatican Bank” is controlled by lay people;
  • The Bank’s overseers in the Vatican have appealed to Italian authorities for regulation for “some time” and received no response;
  • This “scandal” involves lay people, not Church authorities; and
  • The Church has nothing to hide here.

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