Betty Clermont has an epic post on the nature of intramural and extramural conflicts in the Vatican. While I think that reports of the Church’s demise are just a bit premature, the main thread is that there has been a lack of accountability, particularly with regard to financial transactions. Probably the most incendiary allegation has to do with suspicions of institutional involvement of l’Istituto per le Opere di Religione (the Institute for Religious Works) in transactions in which “clergy may have acted as fronts for corrupt businessmen and the Mafia.” It looks improbable that charges will be filed, but to be unable to explain multimillion dollar transactions speaks to a disregard for the niceties.
This in turn bears on whether the Vatican is involved in promoting certain politicians/positions in the EU. What does seem clear is that the hyper-hierarchical structure at the apex of the church promotes politics at the expense of true religion. I’m sure that the Church will weather all this–it’s too important to too many people to “implode”– but it is in need of renewal.