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Another “Interesting” Maneuver by Ratzinger/Benedict

COMMENT: Amid widespread media speculation that the Pope resigned because of the scandals surrounding the molestation scandals, another papal appointment warrants scrutiny. Ratzinger/Benedict has transferred Mon­signor Ettore Balestrero to Colombia.

Balestrero oversaw the Vatican’s dealings with Moneyval, the European investigative/regulatory body charged with investigating money laundering. With the Vatican once again the focal point of money laundering charges, one wonders about Balestrero’s transfer.

Among the past imbroglios in which the Vatican Bank has been implicated is an alleged relationship between Vatican bank adviser Roberto Calvi and Pablo Escobar, of the Colombia-based Medellin cartel.

Was the IOR laundering money for the Colombia cartels? Does that have anything to do with the Balestreto appointment?

Ratzinger/Benedict also made another controversial and significant move just before resigning–appointing a German member of the Knights of Malta and chairman of the board of Blohm & Voss to head the Vatican Bank.

“Report: Pope Resigned in Wake of Gay Priest Scandal” by Doug Stanglin; USA Today; 2/22/2013.

EXCERPT: Pope Bene­dict XVI is clear­ing the decks of his pon­tif­i­cate, tweak­ing the rules of the con­clave, finess­ing the reli­gious rites used to launch the next papacy and mak­ing some eyebrow-raising final appoint­ments before he retires next week. . . .

Pope Bene­dict XVI is clear­ing the decks of his pon­tif­i­cate, tweak­ing the rules of the con­clave, finess­ing the reli­gious rites used to launch the next papacy and mak­ing some eyebrow-raising final appoint­ments before he retires next week.

. . . And on Fri­day, the Vat­i­can announced Bene­dict had trans­ferred a top offi­cial in the sec­re­tariat of state, Mon­signor Ettore Balestrero, to Colom­bia — an appoint­ment that came amid swirling media spec­u­la­tion about the con­tents of a con­fi­den­tial report into the Vatican’s leaks scandal.

Ital­ian news­pa­pers have been rife for days with unsourced reports about the con­tents of the secret dossier that three car­di­nals pre­pared for Bene­dict after inves­ti­gat­ing the ori­gins of the leaks. The scan­dal erupted last year after papers taken from the pope’s desk were pub­lished in a block­buster book. The pope’s but­ler was con­victed in Octo­ber of aggra­vated theft, and later pardoned.

The Vat­i­can has refused to com­ment on the reports, which have claimed the con­tents of the dossier, deliv­ered to Bene­dict in Decem­ber, were a fac­tor in his deci­sion to resign. Bene­dict him­self has said he sim­ply no longer has the “strength of mind and body” to carry on.

. . . Balestrero was head of the Holy See’s del­e­ga­tion to the Coun­cil of Europe’s Mon­ey­val com­mit­tee, which eval­u­ated the Vatican’s anti-money laun­der­ing and anti-terror financ­ing mea­sures. He has had a hand in the efforts by the Vat­i­can bank to be more trans­par­ent and is close to Benedict’s No. 2, the Vat­i­can sec­re­tary of state Car­di­nal Tar­ci­sio Bertone.

The Vat­i­can sub­mit­ted itself to Moneyval’s eval­u­a­tion in a bid to improve its rep­u­ta­tion in the finan­cial world.

The Vat­i­can passed the test on the first try in August, and Mon­ey­val said it had made great progress in a short amount of time. But the Holy See received poor or fail­ing grades for its finan­cial watch­dog agency and its bank, long the source of some of the Vatican’s more sto­ried scandals.

Discussion

One comment for “Another “Interesting” Maneuver by Ratzinger/Benedict”

  1. He’s not the Pope anymore, just a Pope. The more the merrier?

    Benedict To Be Called ‘Emeritus Pope,’ Will Wear White

    NICOLE WINFIELD February 26, 2013, 9:59 AM

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI will be known as “emeritus pope” in his retirement and will continue to wear a white cassock, the Vatican announced Tuesday, again fueling concerns about potential conflicts arising from having both a reigning and a retired pope.

    The pope’s title and what he would wear have been a major source of speculation ever since Benedict stunned the world and announced he would resign on Thursday, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.

    The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Benedict himself had made the decision in consultation with others, settling on “Your Holiness Benedict XVI” and either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff.

    Lombardi said he didn’t know why Benedict had decided to drop his other main title: bishop of Rome.

    In the two weeks since Benedict’s resignation announcement, Vatican officials had suggested that Benedict would likely resume wearing the traditional black garb of a cleric and would use the title “emeritus bishop of Rome” so as to not create confusion with the future pope.

    Benedict’s decision to call himself emeritus pope and to keep wearing white is sure to fan concern voiced privately by some cardinals about the awkward reality of having two popes, both living within the Vatican walls.

    Adding to the concern is that Benedict’s trusted secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, will be serving both pontiffs — living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican and keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope’s household.

    Asked about the potential conflicts, Lombardi was defensive, saying the decisions had been clearly reasoned and were likely chosen for the sake of simplicity.

    “I believe it was well thought out,” he said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 26, 2013, 7:59 am

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