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Vatican Bank Chief’s Free-Market Ideology and Opus Dei Background

Com­ment: Ettore Got­ti Tedeschi–head of the Vat­i­can Bank–espoused the free-mar­ket ide­ol­o­gy that led to the crash of 2008. Tedeschi has also advised then Car­di­nal Ratzinger and helped him write an eco­nom­ic the­sis. (Ratzinger became, of course, Pope Bene­dict.) Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Tedeschi  is a mem­ber of Opus Dei, the fas­cist lay Catholic order that has been ascen­dant in Vat­i­can pol­i­tics.

Once again, the Vat­i­can Bank has come under inves­ti­ga­tion for mon­ey laun­der­ing. As not­ed in past posts, the lawyer cur­rent­ly assist­ing the Vat­i­can in cas­es relat­ed to child molesta­tion had pre­vi­ous­ly defend­ed the Vat­i­can Bank in a Holo­caust-relat­ed law­suit.

A pri­ma­ry investor in Nazi indus­try, the Vat­i­can Bank has long been involved with financ­ing fas­cism.

“Pope’s Banker Faces Inquiry over ‘Mon­ey Laun­der­ing’ ” by Michael Day; independent.co.uk; 9/22/2010.

Excerpt: The Vat­i­can, still pick­ing up the pieces after the glob­al pae­dophil­ia scan­dal, was yes­ter­day rocked by news that the heads of its bank are under inves­ti­ga­tion in con­nec­tion with a £20m mon­ey laun­der­ing probe.

Vat­i­can Bank pres­i­dent Ettore Got­ti Tedeschi and direc­tor-gen­er­al Pao­lo Cipri­ani are being inves­ti­gat­ed fol­low­ing two trans­ac­tions that were report­ed as “sus­pi­cious”, police sources said.

The trans­ac­tions on 15 Sep­tem­ber are thought to involve €20m sent to the Ger­man bank JP Mor­gan in Frank­furt, and €3m sent to a cen­tral-Ital­ian bank, the Ban­ca del Fuci­no. The funds have been seized by Ital­ian author­i­ties. . . .

Mr Got­ti Tedeschi is a mem­ber of the ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive reli­gious move­ment Opus Dei, and an out­spo­ken advo­cate of the need for greater moral­i­ty in finance. [Ital­ics are mine–D.E.] . . .

Yes­ter­day’s rev­e­la­tions, which come just days after Pope Bene­dict com­plet­ed his con­tro­ver­sial tour of Britain, are only the lat­est in a series of inci­dents that have raised doubts about the finan­cial integri­ty of the bank, how­ev­er. . . .

The Vat­i­can Bank, after a series of scan­dals stretch­ing back to the fraud­u­lent bank­rupt­cy of Ban­co Ambrosiano in the 1980s, is under pres­sure to adopt new finan­cial stan­dards fol­low­ing a 2009 push by the G20 nations for greater trans­paren­cy.

The IOR said it been work­ing “for some time” with the Bank of Italy and the Organ­i­sa­tion for Eco­nom­ic Coop­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment “for the Holy See’s inclu­sion in the so-called White List” – an OECD des­ig­na­tion for coun­tries that apply inter­na­tion­al tax reg­u­la­tions. The Bank of Italy has declared that trans­ac­tions with banks such as the IOR, which are not on the White List, will be sub­ject to greater scruti­ny. . . .


Discussion

6 comments for “Vatican Bank Chief’s Free-Market Ideology and Opus Dei Background”

  1. Accord­ing to this arti­cle, Ettore Tedeschi was con­vert­ed into a “fer­vent” Catholic under the spir­i­tu­al guid­ance of Gio­vani Can­toni, leader of the far-right “Allean­za Cat­toli­ca”:

    The Vat­i­can Bank Has a New Lais­sez-Faire Pres­i­dent: Ettore Got­ti Tedeschi

    The new pres­i­dent of the IOR is a staunch pro­po­nent of a cap­i­tal­ism inspired by Chris­tian­i­ty. For him, a high birth rate is the main engine of the econ­o­my. Mean­while, in Italy, anoth­er impor­tant replace­ment is being pre­pared: at the head of the media out­lets owned by the bish­ops

    by San­dro Mag­is­ter

    The Vat­i­can Bank Has a New Lais­sez-Faire Pres­i­dent: Ettore Got­ti Tedeschi

    The new pres­i­dent of the IOR is a staunch pro­po­nent of a cap­i­tal­ism inspired by Chris­tian­i­ty. For him, a high birth rate is the main engine of the econ­o­my. Mean­while, in Italy, anoth­er impor­tant replace­ment is being pre­pared: at the head of the media out­lets owned by the bish­ops

    by San­dro Mag­is­ter

    ROME, Octo­ber 1, 2009 – At the same time when in Italy, between August and Sep­tem­ber, a dra­mat­ic ouster was under­way for Dino Bof­fo, the sole direc­tor of the media owned by the Catholic Church, on the oth­er shore of the Tiber there were silent, sub­dued prepa­ra­tions for a change at the top of anoth­er key orga­ni­za­tion, the IOR, Insti­tute for Works of Reli­gion, the Vat­i­can bank.

    The IOR itself is going through stormy times. A book describ­ing its mis­con­duct, with indis­putable doc­u­men­ta­tion, has for months been at the top of the best-sell­er lists. But in it, the vil­lain is not so much the IOR as such, but its black sheep of for­mer times, bish­ops Paul Marcinkus and Dona­to De Bonis. The banker Ange­lo Caloia, pres­i­dent of the IOR over the past four­teen years, is instead depict­ed in the book as a knight in shin­ing armor, the hero who kicked out the crooks, cleaned out the stalls, and brought a vir­tu­ous image back to the pope’s bank. His res­ig­na­tion, and his replace­ment by Ettore Got­ti Tedeschi (in the pho­to), were announced in peace and with mutu­al esteem between the two, on the morn­ing of Sep­tem­ber 23.

    ...

    Before his appoint­ment, Got­ti Tedeschi had nev­er set foot in the IOR, or even paid any atten­tion to it. But he had already been at home at the Vat­i­can for some time. Sec­re­tary of state Car­di­nal Tar­ci­sio Bertone had asked for his help last year, to straight­en out the finan­cial man­age­ment of the Vat­i­can’s cen­tral admin­is­tra­tion, which had a short­fall of more than 15 mil­lion euro in 2008.

    The cure seems to have worked. A cul­prit of the mis­man­age­ment, the sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the admin­is­tra­tion, Bish­op Rena­to Boc­car­do, was sent away to be bish­op of Spo­le­to and Nor­cia. He had aspired to one of the top nun­cia­ture posi­tions, and because of this had even turned down the see of Vien­na. In his place now is Car­lo Maria Viganò, from Lom­bardy, who will soon rise to the high­est posi­tion of the cen­tral admin­is­tra­tion, replac­ing Car­di­nal Gio­van­ni Lajo­lo.

    Got­ti Tedeschi was formed as a banker in the Amer­i­can McK­in­sey school of inter­na­tion­al finance. As a Catholic, he con­vert­ed from “super­fi­cial” to fer­vent in the 1960’s, under the spir­i­tu­al direc­tion of the tra­di­tion­al­ist thinker Gio­van­ni Can­toni. The books that revealed his thought to the gen­er­al pub­lic are “Denaro e Par­adiso [Mon­ey and Par­adise],” pub­lished in 2004, with a pref­ace by Car­di­nal Gio­van­ni Bat­tista Re, and “Spir­i­ti ani­mali. La con­cor­ren­za gius­ta [Ani­mal Spir­its: The Right Kind of Com­pe­ti­tion],” pub­lished by Uni­ver­sità Boc­coni and with a pref­ace by Alessan­dro Pro­fu­mo, pres­i­dent of the largest Ital­ian bank, Uni­cred­it.

    ...

    It turns out that Gio­van­ni Can­toni is also close­ly affil­i­at­ed with the far-right “Tra­di­tion, Fam­i­ly, Prop­er­ty” (TFP). The TFP and Mr. Can­toni appear to have to rather inter­est­ing views regard­ing to the return of nobil­i­ty as the offi­cial “rul­ing class” of soci­ety. Here’s a 1993 review of a book writ­ten by TFP’s founder, Plinio Cor­rea de Oliveira (with fawn­ing remarks by Mr. Can­toni), that might par­tial­ly explain why the TFP is con­sid­ered con­tro­ver­sial:

    Ital­ian Nobil­i­ty Rejoic­es at Launch­ing of TFP Book

    Its Doc­tri­nal Arse­nal Is Enor­mous­ly Strength­ened

    Prof. Plinio Cor­rêa de Oliveira’s lat­est book, Nobil­i­ty and Anal­o­gous Tra­di­tion­al Elites in the Allo­cu­tions of Pius XII, has been launched in yet anoth­er coun­try: Italy.
    Tra­di­tion, Fam­i­ly and Prop­er­ty, Novem­ber-Decem­ber 1993, York (PA), pages 2–5

    Nev­er has the coun­try stood in more need of such a work. Pub­lished by Mar­zo­rati Edi­tore of Milan—firm famous for high-qual­i­ty his­tor­i­cal and cul­tur­al works—the book’s Ital­ian edi­tion appears, coin­ci­den­tal­ly, or bet­ter, prov­i­den­tial­ly, right as the coun­try tra­vers­es a deep polit­i­cal cri­sis termed “Tan­gen­topoli” (“Kick­back City”) by those striv­ing to remove a rul­ing class wide­ly besmirched by cor­rup­tion scan­dals.

    Inas­much as cor­rup­tion is the root cause of the Ital­ian cri­sis, one can­not but con­clude that this is more than a polit­i­cal cri­sis; it is a moral cri­sis. But what is more dis­cour­ag­ing and wor­ri­some, many ana­lysts argue, is that no alter­na­tive, cred­i­ble rul­ing class is avail­able to reverse the trend to­ward self-dis­in­te­gra­tion and lead the Ital­ian peo­ple toward the goals of a sound com­mon good.

    In this con­text one can read­i­ly appre­ci­ate the immense val­ue of Pro­fes­sor Cor­rêa de Oliveira’s work. It offers a solu­tion for the cri­sis by explain­ing the mer­i­to­ri­ous role of the nobil­i­ty in lead­ing and shap­ing soci­ety through the cen­turies. Unlike less priv­i­leged coun­tries, Italy can still count on a numer­ous and expe­ri­enced nobil­i­ty, which needs only to redis­cov­er its mis­sion and func­tion.

    Mil­lions of wor­ried Ital­ians may have there­fore sighed with relief on Octo­ber 31 when RAI 1 (Italy’s most impor­tant TV net­work) pro­vid­ed prime-time cov­er­age of the launch­ing of Pro­fes­sor Cor­rêa de Oliveira’s book in Rome.

    The launch­ing had been held the day before at an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence where lead­ing mem­bers of the Ital­ian aris­toc­ra­cy offi­cial­ly announced their can­di­da­cy for par­tic­i­pa­tion in the nation­al lead­er­ship. Is it pos­si­ble that Ital­ians glimpsed a dim light at the end of their dark tun­nel and rec­og­nized the alter­na­tive class able to over­come “Tan­gen­topoli”?

    “We will be the new Ital­ian rul­ing class,” stat­ed Prince Sforza Rus­poli, one of the speak­ers at the sym­po­sium joint­ly spon­sored by Rome’s Cen­tro Cul­tur­ale Lep­an­to and Tra­di­tion, Fam­i­ly, Property—Italy Bureau under the patron­age of Car­di­nals Alfons Stick­ler and Sil­vio Oddi.

    About 250 dis­tin­guished guests attend­ed the con­fer­ence in the grand “Sala del Bal­dachi­no” of the mag­nif­i­cent palace of Princess Elv­ina Pallavici­ni, per­haps the most rep­re­sen­ta­tive mem­ber of the Roman aris­toc­ra­cy. Among those present were rank­ing cler­gy­men, schol­ars, diplo­mats and jour­nal­ists, but, as one would expect, most of the audi­ence were nobles, includ­ing Arch­duke Mar­tin von Hab­s­burg of Aus­tria, Prince Car­los of Bour­bon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Cal­abria, Princess Urra­ca of Bour­bon-Two Sicilies, Mar­quis Aldo Pez­zana Capran­i­ca del Gril­lo, Duke Gio­van Pietro Caf­farel­li (Pres­i­dent of the Associa­tion of Ital­ian Nobil­i­ty), Princes Car­lo and Fab­rizio Mas­simo, Baron Rober­to Sel­vag­gi, Count­ess Ele­na Cac­cia Domin­ioni and Mar­quis Lui­gi Coda Nun­ziante.

    ...

    Sim­i­lar enthu­si­asm was shown at a Novem­ber presenta­tion in Paler­mo hon­ored by the par­tic­i­pa­tion of sev­er­al of the most promi­nent mem­bers of the Sicil­ian nobil­i­ty.

    But at the Rome sym­po­sium the Ital­ian nobil­i­ty unequiv­o­cal­ly claimed its role in nation­al lead­er­ship for the first time since the down­fall of the monar­chy. So much so that a full-page report in Italy’ s largest news­pa­per, La Repub­bli­ca (10/31/93), described the event as a “ver­i­ta­ble cav­al­ry charge, a coun­ter­at­tack.” (Unprece­dent­ed num­bers of nobles most cer­tain­ly took part, either as can­di­dates or as sup­port­ers, in Rome’s munic­i­pal elec­tions on Decem­ber 5. Their names are laden with his­to­ry and tra­di­tion and need no com­ment: Bar­beri­ni, Orsi­ni, Chi­gi, Borgh­ese and oth­ers.)

    Accord­ing to Pius XII’s teach­ings, the nobil­i­ty has a fun­da­men­tal role to play in contem­porary soci­ety. When the rul­ing elites of so many coun­tries are suf­fer­ing a seri­ous cred­i­bil­i­ty cri­sis, the nobil­i­ty must strive more than ever to ful­fill this role by lead­ing an exem­plary life and serv­ing the com­mon good in the most self­less man­ner. In this way they will be a mod­el for the rest of soci­ety.

    Clear­ly echo­ing the Pope’s mes­sage as set out in the book, in his words at the Rome launch­ing Prince Sforza Rus­poli called on all the mem­bers of the aris­toc­ra­cy to over­come their divi­sions and unite under the Papal lead­er­ship in the name of the peo­ple, who “want to see the val­ues of prayer, action, and sac­ri­fice, of which our ancestors—saints, lead­ers and heroes— gave tes­ti­mo­ny at the price of their life.” Fur­ther­more, Prince Rus­poli said, “I wish to express to Pro­fes­sor Plinio how grate­ful and indebt­ed we are as Rome’ s aris­toc­ra­cy, and there­fore as an aris­toc­ra­cy faith­ful to the Church, for his work.”

    In his speech Gio­van­ni Can­toni, head of the Allean­za Cat­toli­ca, stat­ed that since Papal social teach­ings are part of the Church’s moral Mag­is­teri­um accord­ing to John Paul II, Pro­fes­sor Cor­rêa de Oliveira’s bril­liant com­men­taries on Pius XII’s allo­cu­tions to the Roman Nobil­i­ty should be regard­ed as inte­gral to the moral the­ol­o­gy of the Church.

    In his turn, the renowned polit­i­cal ana­lyst Prof. Domeni­co Fisichel­la stressed the his­tor­i­cal role of the nobil­i­ty and oth­er tra­di­tion­al elites as mod­er­at­ing ele­ments for an ide­al rela­tion­ship between the monarch and the peo­ple. He also demon­strat­ed how con­tem­po­rary elites, unable to per­pet­u­ate this func­tion, eas­i­ly become oli­garchies.

    ...

    Out with the old, in with the real­ly old. It’s New Progress.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 25, 2012, 9:39 pm
  2. Great find, Pter­rafractyl.

    TFP is one of those orga­ni­za­tions that wields great pow­er in both Europe and Latin Amer­i­ca, Argenti­na in par­tic­u­lar.

    The Euro­pean nobil­i­ty are lay­ing in wait, antic­i­pat­ing the day when the fas­cist cadres can clear the way for their return as par­tic­i­pants in a glob­al fas­cist sys­tem.

    Posted by Dave Emory | January 26, 2012, 12:55 am
  3. So it looks like Mr. Tedeschi’s anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign, might be a lit­tle cor­rupt:

    Top arch­bish­op ‘denounces Vat­i­can cor­rup­tion’
    By — | AFP – Wed, Jan 25, 2012

    A top Vat­i­can offi­cial who is now the envoy to Wash­ing­ton denounced cor­rup­tion and waste in the man­age­ment of the Holy See in let­ters to Pope Bene­dict XVI, Ital­ian media report­ed on Wednes­day.

    Car­lo Maria Vigano was sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the gov­er­norate of the Vat­i­can — the per­son in charge of the admin­is­tra­tion — until Octo­ber, when he was named ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States in what was seen as a demo­tion.

    In extracts from the let­ters pub­lished in Cor­riere del­la Sera and Libero, Vigano said he had faced a “dis­as­trous” sit­u­a­tion when he became head of the gov­er­norate in 2009 and said his trans­fer to Wash­ing­ton was “pun­ish­ment”.

    “My trans­fer is caus­ing dis­ar­ray and dis­cour­age­ment among those who believed it was pos­si­ble to resolve the numer­ous sit­u­a­tions of cor­rup­tion and waste” in the Vat­i­can, he report­ed­ly said in one let­ter to the pope in March 2011.

    Much of his crit­i­cism was focused on a Vat­i­can finan­cial com­mit­tee that includes the head of the Vat­i­can bank, Ettore Got­ti Tedeschi. He said the bankers were favour­ing “their inter­ests” more than the Vat­i­can’s.

    In one finan­cial oper­a­tion by the bankers that went wrong, the Vat­i­can made a net loss of 2.5 mil­lion euros ($3.2 mil­lion), the arch­bish­ops said.

    He was also high­ly crit­i­cal of the cost of basic tech­ni­cal ser­vices and said con­struc­tion con­tracts for Vat­i­can build­ings were always going to the same com­pa­nies for tar­iffs that were more than twice as high as in Italy.

    He said oth­er car­di­nals in the Vat­i­can “knew the sit­u­a­tion well”.

    ...

    How shock­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 26, 2012, 10:55 am
  4. @Dave: Pret­ty scary stuff, Dave. I should point out to any­one view­ing this who may not be famil­iar with your work that fas­cist-monar­chist col­lab­o­ra­tion isn’t any­thing new; In fact Umber­to II was pret­ty much allowed free reign under Mus­soli­ni last time I checked.

    Posted by Steven L. | January 26, 2012, 1:54 pm
  5. “Vatileaks”, heh. Don’t slip on the man­na pud­dle!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 18, 2012, 5:16 pm
  6. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/13/us-vatican-scandal-idUSTRE81C0ZL20120213

    “Mon­signors’ mutiny” revealed by Vat­i­can leaks

    By Philip Pul­lel­la

    VATICAN CITY | Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:10am EST

    (Reuters) — Call it Con­spir­a­cy City. Call it Scan­dal City. Call it Leak City. These days the holy city has been in the news for any­thing but holy rea­sons.

    “It is a total mess,” said one high-rank­ing Vat­i­can offi­cial who spoke, like all oth­ers, on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty.

    The Machi­avel­lian maneu­ver­ing and machi­na­tions that have come to light in the Vat­i­can recent­ly are wor­thy of a nov­el about a sin­is­ter pow­er strug­gle at a medieval court.

    Senior church offi­cials inter­viewed this month said almost dai­ly embar­rass­ments that have put the Vat­i­can on the defen­sive could force Pope Bene­dict to act to clean up the image of its admin­is­tra­tion — at a time when the church faces a deep­er cri­sis of author­i­ty and rel­e­vance in the wider world.

    Some of those sources said the out­come of a pow­er strug­gle inside the Holy See may even have a longer-term effect, on the choice of the man to suc­ceed Bene­dict when he dies.

    From leaked let­ters by an arch­bish­op who was trans­ferred after he blew the whis­tle on what he saw as a web of cor­rup­tion and crony­ism, to a leaked poi­son pen memo which puts a num­ber of car­di­nals in a bad light, to new sus­pi­cions about its bank, Vat­i­can spokes­men have had their work cut out respond­ing.

    The flur­ry of leaks has come at an embar­rass­ing time — just before a usu­al­ly joy­ful cer­e­mo­ny this week known as a con­sis­to­ry, when Bene­dict will admit more prelates into the Col­lege of Car­di­nals, the exclu­sive men’s club that will one day pick the next Roman Catholic leader from among their own ranks.

    “This con­sis­to­ry will be tak­ing place in an atmos­phere that is cer­tain­ly not very glo­ri­ous or exalt­ing,” said one bish­op with direct knowl­edge of Vat­i­can affairs.

    The sources agreed that the leaks were part of an inter­nal cam­paign — a sort of “mutiny of the mon­signors” — against the pope’s right-hand man, Sec­re­tary of State Car­di­nal Tar­ci­sio Bertone.

    Bertone, 77, has a rep­u­ta­tion as a heavy-hand­ed admin­is­tra­tor and pow­er-bro­ker whose style has alien­at­ed many in the Curia, the bureau­cra­cy that runs the cen­tral admin­is­tra­tion of the 1.3 bil­lion-strong Roman Catholic Church.

    He came to the job, tra­di­tion­al­ly occu­pied by a career diplo­mat, in 2006 with no expe­ri­ence of work­ing in the church’s diplo­mat­ic corps, which man­ages its inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. Bene­dict chose him, rather, because he had worked under the future pon­tiff, then Car­di­nal Joseph Ratzinger, in the Vat­i­can’s pow­er­ful doc­tri­nal office.

    “It’s all aimed at Bertone,” said a mon­sign­or in a key Vat­i­can depart­ment who sym­pa­thizes with the sec­re­tary of state and who sees the leak­ers as deter­mined to oust him. “It’s very clear that they want to get rid of Bertone.”

    Vat­i­can sources say the rebels have the tac­it back­ing of a for­mer sec­re­tary of state, Car­di­nal Ange­lo Sodano, an influ­en­tial pow­er-bro­ker in his own right and a vet­er­an diplo­mat who served under the late Pope John Paul II for 15 years.

    “The diplo­mat­ic wing feels that they are the right­ful own­ers of the Vat­i­can,” the mon­sign­or who favors Bertone said.

    Sodano and Bertone are not mutu­al admir­ers, to put it mild­ly. Nei­ther has com­ment­ed pub­licly on the reports.

    WHISTLE-BLOWING ARCHBISHOP

    The Vat­i­can has been no stranger to con­tro­ver­sy in recent years, when uproar over its han­dling of child sex abuse charges has ham­pered the church’s efforts to stem the ero­sion of con­gre­ga­tions and priest­ly recruit­ment in the devel­oped world.

    But the lat­est image cri­sis could not be clos­er to home.

    It began last month when an Ital­ian tele­vi­sion inves­tiga­tive show broad­cast pri­vate let­ters to Bertone and the pope from Arch­bish­op Car­lo Maria Vigano, the for­mer deputy gov­er­nor of the Vat­i­can City and cur­rent­ly the Vat­i­can ambas­sador in Wash­ing­ton.

    The let­ters, which the Vat­i­can has con­firmed are authen­tic, showed that Vigano was trans­ferred after he exposed what he argued was a web of cor­rup­tion, nepo­tism and crony­ism linked to the award­ing of con­tracts to con­trac­tors at inflat­ed prices.

    As deputy gov­er­nor of the Vat­i­can City for two years from 2009 to 2011, Vigano was the num­ber two offi­cial in a depart­ment respon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the tiny city-state’s gar­dens, build­ings, streets, muse­ums and oth­er infra­struc­ture, which are man­aged sep­a­rate­ly from the Ital­ian cap­i­tal which sur­rounds it.

    In one let­ter, Vigano writes of a smear cam­paign against him by oth­er Vat­i­can offi­cials who were upset that he had tak­en dras­tic steps to clean up the pur­chas­ing pro­ce­dures and begged to stay in the job to fin­ish what he had start­ed.

    Bertone respond­ed by remov­ing Vigano from his posi­tion three years before the end of his tenure and send­ing him to the Unit­ed States, despite his strong resis­tance.

    Oth­er leaks cen­ter on the Vat­i­can bank, just as it is try­ing to put behind it past scan­dals — includ­ing the col­lapse 30 years ago of Ban­co Ambrosiano, which entan­gled it in lurid alle­ga­tions about mon­ey-laun­der­ing, freema­sons, mafiosi and the mys­te­ri­ous death of Ambrosiano chair­man Rober­to Calvi — “God’s banker.”

    Today, the Vat­i­can bank, for­mal­ly known at the Insti­tute for Works of Reli­gion (IOR), is aim­ing to com­ply ful­ly with inter­na­tion­al norms and has applied for the Vat­i­can’s inclu­sion on the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s approved “white list” of states that meet EU stan­dards for total finan­cial trans­paren­cy.

    Bertone was instru­men­tal in putting the bank’s cur­rent exec­u­tives in place and any lin­ger­ing sus­pi­cion about it reflects bad­ly on him. The Com­mis­sion will decide in June and fail­ure to make the list would be an embar­rass­ment for Bertone.

    ITALIAN POPE?

    Last week, an Ital­ian news­pa­per that has pub­lished some of the leaks ran a bizarre inter­nal Vat­i­can memo that involved one car­di­nal com­plain­ing about anoth­er car­di­nal who spoke about a pos­si­ble assas­si­na­tion attempt against the pope with­in 12 months and open­ly spec­u­lat­ed on who the next pope should be.

    Bertone’s detrac­tors say he has packed the Curia with Ital­ian friends. Some see an attempt to influ­ence the elec­tion of the next pope and increase the chances that the papa­cy returns to Italy after two suc­ces­sive non-Ital­ian popes who have bro­ken what had been an Ital­ian monop­oly for over 450 years.

    Sev­en of the 18 new “car­di­nal elec­tors” — those aged under 80 eli­gi­ble to elect a pope — at this Sat­ur­day’s con­sis­to­ry are Ital­ian. Six of those work for Bertone in the Curia.

    Bertone, as chief admin­is­tra­tor, had a key role in advis­ing the pope on the appoint­ments, which raised eye­brows because of the high num­ber of Ital­ian bureau­crats among them.

    “There is wide­spread malaise and delu­sion about Bertone inside the Curia. It is full of com­plaints,” said the bish­op who has close knowl­edge of Vat­i­can affairs.

    “Bertone has had a very brash method of run­ning the Vat­i­can and putting his friends in high places. Peo­ple could not take it any more and said ‘enough’ and that is why I think these leaks are com­ing out now to make him look bad,” he said.

    POPE “ISOLATED”

    Leaked con­fi­den­tial cables sent to the State Depart­ment by the U.S. embassy to the Vat­i­can depict­ed him as a “yes man” with no diplo­mat­ic expe­ri­ence or lin­guis­tic skills and the 2009 cable sug­gests that the pope is pro­tect­ed from bad news.

    “There is also the ques­tion of who, if any­one, brings dis­sent­ing views to the pope’s atten­tion,” read the cable, pub­lished by Wik­iLeaks.

    The Vat­i­can sources said some car­di­nals asked the pope to replace Bertone because of admin­is­tra­tive laps­es, includ­ing the fail­ure to warn the pope that a rene­gade bish­op re-admit­ted to the Church in 2009 was a well-known Holo­caust denier.

    But they said the pope, at 84 and increas­ing­ly show­ing the signs of his age, is not eager to break in a new right-hand man.

    “It’s so com­pli­cat­ed and the pope is so help­less,” said the mon­sign­or.

    The bish­op said: “The pope is very iso­lat­ed. He lives in his own world and some say the infor­ma­tion he receives is fil­tered. He is inter­est­ed in his books and his ser­mons but he is not very inter­est­ed in gov­ern­ment.”

    (Edit­ing by Jon Boyle and Alas­tair Mac­don­ald)

    Posted by Vanfield | February 19, 2012, 10:28 pm

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