If there is a Biblical precedent operating in this story, St Peter's has one more 'astonished' denial left before the cock crows.
Once again the Vatican expresses it's "astonishment" that Italian banking officials could conceive of the Vatican Bank laundering money. Maybe the Vatican thinks 'laundering' is a sacrilegious term for taking dirty money and seemingly making it holy and clean. Perhaps they see the Vatican bank as a kind of 'confessional' for sinful Benjamins. In any event, Italian officials don't have the same attitude.
Prosecutors: Vatican Bank Defying Laundering Laws
AP - ALESSANDRA RIZZO and VICTOR L. SIMPSON - 10/22/2010
Rome: Italian prosecutors contest claims by the Vatican bank that it is trying to comply with international rules to fight money laundering, saying an investigation that led to the seizure of euro23 million ($30 million) from a Vatican bank account shows "exactly the opposite," according to a court document obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
An Italian court on Wednesday rejected a Vatican request to lift the seizure, leading the Vatican to express "astonishment" at the court's ruling and indicating the case will not be cleared up quickly, as the Vatican originally predicted. (More astonishment from the Vatican. Imagine that.)
Since the money was ordered seized last month, the Vatican and the bank's chairman, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, have repeatedly said the allegations resulted from a "misunderstanding" and that the Vatican bank — officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion — has been working to comply with international rules to fight money-laundering.
The strongly worded document from the prosecutors' office said that while there is a "generic and stated will" to conform by the bank "there is no sign that the institutions of the Catholic church are moving in that direction." (All talk and no walk. Imagine that.)
It said the prosecutor's investigation had found "exactly the opposite."
The document was submitted to the court as part of the prosecutors' case against the bank.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a new statement Friday evening, saying Vatican bank officials "confirm their intent to follow the line of transparency" in all financial transactions and are confident in being able to provide as soon as possible all clarifications requested. (A person confirming their intent to kick a bad habit is not the same as following through on changing the behavior. Often times it's just a ploy to silence the people who desire that the behavior be changed.)
Under the investigation, financial police seized the money Sept. 21 from a Vatican bank account at the Rome branch of Credito Artigiano Spa, after the bank informed the Bank of Italy about possible violations of anti-money laundering norms.
The bulk of the money, euro20 million ($26 million), was destined for JP Morgan in Frankfurt, with the remainder going to Banca del Fucino.
The prosecutors' document suggests confirmation of Italian press reports that the probe was widening, looking into possible violations in earlier years linked to Italian corruption, in addition to the two most recent cases.
The document cites suspicious transactions involving checks drawn from a Vatican bank account at Unicredit bank in 2009, involving the use of a false name. (Imagine that, a false name. Maciel knew how that worked.)
The prosecutors also cited a euro650,000 withdrawal from a Vatican bank account at Intesa San Paolo bank where the Vatican didn't specify the money's ultimate destination despite a specific request by the Italian bank.
The prosecutors called this "a deliberate failure to observe the anti-laundering laws with the aim of hiding the ownership, destination and origin of the capital."
The Italian banks have declined comment.
The Vatican bank is required to provide such information because it is considered by Italy to be a foreign bank.
Gotti and his No. 2, Paolo Cipriani, have been placed under investigation by Italian authorities. They were questioned by Rome prosecutors on Sept. 30. They have not been charged with any crime.
Italian legal experts have said the case could end up being decided by Italy's highest court........
The article then continues to give a brief history of the Banco Ambrosio scandal.
I was going to write about this article on Catholic loyalists taking to the blogosphere to defend Church teachings. I'm still going to do that, but from a different perspective. How do these bloggers give the institutional structure, which is proving to be more and more corrupt and self serving, a free pass? I just don't get that attitude at all. Does Newt Gingrich have the truth of the matter, that conservatives are so immature and shallow that he doesn't have to walk their talk, he just has to talk it? Is that all it takes to soothe the fears of the conservatives, the right talk around their wine and wheat? Talk the talk and you can be as corrupt as you want as long as you are somewhat discrete?
That is the big message I'm getting from Loyalist Catholics. We don't care how the hierarchy hurts, harms, denigrates, lives hypocritically, or spends our money as long as they talk our talk. The kind of talk that puts a public spotlight on the sins of others, while ignoring the discrete sins of loyalists. The kind of talk that essentially says to a priest, you can be sexually active as long as you attack abortion and gay marriage and make sure we don't have to LOOK at what you actually do with your own life. The kind of talk that tells gays they can be gay as long as they don't claim to be gay. The kind of talk that Sarah Palin gets away with about teen age virginity and a parent's duty to teach that while her own family demonstrates it doesn't work.
This is the same kind of posturing that dares to pay Maggie Gallagher of NOM to be the face of traditional marriage when her own sexual history is far from traditional. In fact for some reason she doesn't use her married name Srivastav, which I thought was the kind of thing upscale professional women's libbers from Yale did. Oh did I mention, she's a Yalie?
I've written before that I really don't have any trouble with conservative religious rituals. If those kinds of practices stoke one's spiritual engines that's fine by me. What I really have a problem with is when one's Eucharistic Adoration blinds them to the level of corruption in the Institution and makes them de facto enablers of that corruption. I get really frustrated when loyalty to the theology of the Trenten church is used to excuse the fact the adherents of that theology don't walk their talk. It makes for a very shallow hypocritical and magical approach to Catholicism that Jesus never taught. Jesus was not impressed with those who knew the rules, but only applied them as full time exercises to others, while they themselves substituted occasional ritual practice as sufficient for their own walk. He called them 'whitened sepulchres'.
I really wish 'Loyalist Catholic' bloggers would turn down some of their generous donations from Republican political operatives and get on board with the understanding that the bottom line for both conservative and progressive Catholics has to be the integrity of our teaching authority and governing instituion. It does not reflect well on the mission of the Church, no matter how you define that mission, to have the Vatican Bank function as a money laundering center, have our bishops engaged in a criminal conspiracy to hide and protect clerical sexual abusers, or have our most visible representatives engaged in taking bribes from criminal enterprises or spending vast sums of money on themselves and their religious accoutrements.
It is pointless for Catholics to argue over theological or moral ideation while the institution itself is mired in good old fashioned and very traditional secular corruption. I urge traditionalist to take a real look at a consistent part of the tradition, and that's the institutionalized corruption. The Latin and the rest of it can be debated later.