An end to the Vatican Bank? Or just better mood music for the Church?
Posted by Charles II on April 7, 2013
One of our commenters, Jim, provided three links on the issue of Pope Francis. Two (here and here) have to do with Cardinal Bergoglio’s sincerity in confronting the abuses of the Argentine Dirty War. The third has to do with the source of these comments, Father Campbell-Johnston.
Meanwhile, in the centrist Catholic press, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter gives a much more complimentary view of Pope Francis. Among one of the more interesting points is this:
Bishop Jorge Eduardo Lozano of Gualeguaychú, Argentina, a close friend of Bergoglio who worked under him as an auxiliary in Buenos Aires for six years…
ticked off five such challenges:
“The use of money,” meaning not just balancing the Vatican’s budget, but making sure it’s clear where institutions such as the Vatican Bank get their money and what’s done with those funds.
(On that score, [“Federico Wals, a 32-year-old layman who served as Bergoglio’s spokesperson since 2007”] predicted Francis may actually close the Vatican Bank based on his history in Buenos Aires. When Bergoglio took over in the late 1990s, Wals said, the archdiocese was a part owner of several local banks. Bergoglio quickly sold those shares and put the church’s money into private banks as a normal client.)
I think this is really the key signal as to where Bergoglio is headed. The Vatican Bank is not only the source of repeated scandal, it is the proximate means by which the Vatican can meddle in politics in other countries. I had an extended discussion off the boards with someone knowledgeable about the Vatican banking history and pointed out that there are several ways by which the Vatican can privately shift funds into countries in which it wants to meddle. Owning one’s own bank, however, provides a definite advantage, assuming that one has the assent of the U.S. and can use electronic transfers on networks that the US controls.
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