|The Vatican has indeed urged international financial reform--for everybody else. Which is understandable given the Vatican is way too busy tracking down the whistle blowers who are exposing their own need for reform.|
I got home from work last night in time to read the following AP article detailing the Vatican's ire with another book based on leaked documents. This time the documents include private correspondence to and from Pope Benedict. The book was authored by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi. Nuzzi is the one journalist who has been most responsible for printing the Vati Leaks material and is apparently the 'leakers' go to guy. The material includes private correspondence between Benedict and Gotti Tedeschi, the Opus Dei head of the Vatican bank amongst other interesting revelations. The Spirit is most definitely moving in the Vatican, and those Holy winds are clearing the smoke of secrecy and shady dealings out into the light of day. No amount of papal sabre rattling is going to stop this wind. Jesus is taking His Church back from the bankers, careerists, and self centered clerical bling wearers. He is giving it back to His people because that is what His people want.
Vatican: New book of leaked documents 'criminal'
Pope Benedict XVI has already appointed a commission of cardinals to investigate the "Vatileaks" scandal, which erupted earlier this year with the publication of leaked memos alleging corruption and mismanagement in Holy See affairs and internal squabbles over its efforts to comply with international anti-money laundering norms.
The publication Saturday of "His Holiness," by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, added fuel to the fire, reproducing confidential letters and memos to and from Benedict and his personal secretary which, according to the Vatican, violated the pope's right to privacy.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement Saturday the book was an "objectively defamatory" work that "clearly assumes characters of a criminal act." He said the Holy See would get to the bottom of who "stole" the documents, who received them and who published them. He warned the Holy See would seek international cooperation in its quest for justice, presumably with Italian magistrates.
The Vatican had already warned of legal action against Nuzzi after he broadcast letters in January from the former No. 2 Vatican administrator to the pope in which he begged not to be transferred for having exposed alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions of euros in higher contract prices. The prelate, Monsignor Carlo Maria Vigano, is now the Vatican's U.S. ambassador.
Nuzzi, author of "Vatican SpA," a 2009 volume laying out shady dealings of the Vatican bank based on leaked documents, said he was approached by sources inside the Vatican with the trove of new documents, most of them of fairly recent vintage and many of them painting the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in a negative light. (While it's sort of fun to read about the various personality squabbles with in the Vatican, it is the Vatican Bank which represents the real cancer within the Vatican curia. It is the center of a very sick and twisted web. Besides, where is it written in the New Testament that the nascent Church had it's own bank with it's own "God's banker'?)
Much of the documentation is fairly Italy-centric: about a 2009 scandal over the ex-editor of the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference, a never-before-known dinner between Benedict and Italy's president, and even a 2011 letter from Italy's pre-eminent talk show host Bruno Vespa to the pope enclosing a check for €10,000 for his charity work — and asking for a private audience in exchange.
But there are international leaks as well, including diplomatic cables from Vatican embassies from Jerusalem to Cameroon. Some concern the conclusions of the pope's delegate the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order in a memo to the pope last fall. (He warned that the financial situation of the order, beset by a scandal over its pedophile founder, "while not grave, is serious and pressing.") (LC/RC members take note: This letter is about Legion finances, not Legion spirituality or abuses or your welfare within the Legion. To the Vatican the real people of the Legion are not very high on it's lists of concerns. It's Legion money, just as it always has been.)
Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the head of the Institute for Religious Works, otherwise known as the Vatican's bank, gets significant ink, with reproduced private memos to the pope with his take on the Vatican's response to the global financial crisis and how to handle the church's tax exempt status amid Italian government efforts to crack down on tax evasion.
The bank has been trying for some two years to remedy its reputation as a shady tax haven beset by scandals, which include the collapse of Italy's Banco Ambrosiano and the death of its head, Roberto Calvi, who also helped manage Vatican investments and was found hanging from London's Blackfriars Bridge in 1982.
In a bid to show it has mended its ways, the Institute for Religious Works this week invited ambassadors from 35 countries in for a tour and a chat with its managing director as part of a new transparency campaign. The tour came on the same day Holy See representatives were in Strasbourg discussing the first draft of a report from a Council of Europe committee on the Vatican's compliance with international norms to fight money laundering and terror financing.
British Ambassador Nigel Baker, who went on the Institute for Religious Works tour, later blogged that the Vatican's reputation depends on showing that its institutions are transparent. "Plenty still needs to be done. But the Holy See needs to stick to its guns. It is in their interest, and ours," he wrote.
About ten years ago I had a vision of sorts in response to a question for which I had spent a lot of time trying to formulate a legitimate answer. My question was prompted by the pathetic response of the USCCB to the abuse crisis. For all it's high sounding rhetoric, the Dallas Charter was all smoke and mirrors because the bishops failed to make themselves accountable to anyone other than their individual selves and Rome. I understood to have done otherwise, say make themselves accountable to even a USCCB judiciary group would never have made it past the JPII Vatican. JPII had been doing everything in his power to make the papacy unaccountable to anyone but God, and the bishops were seen to share in that same sort of unilateral power in their own dioceses. If this precedent had been allowed to be set, why then the next thing you know bishops might want to take this whole notion further up the chain and expect the Papacy to be accountable to the kind of collegiality described in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium. Hence the vision.
I was taken to a small kind of root cellar thing and watched a knight of some sort go inside and down and return with a small but heavy bag. He got on his horse and took off. I was given to know this was a scene from around the turn of the first millennium and that the knight had retrieved a bog of gold from a hidden catch. Then I was told if I wasn't asking the right questions I could never get the right answers. I woke up from this vision understanding the problem with changing the monarchical papacy was first and foremost a problem of exposing the immense but hidden financial resources and their revenue streams, which were the real underpinning of the power of the papacy in the world. In other words, I had to stop thinking the power of the Roman Catholic Church was based on the power of Jesus, and understand it was based on the power of Caesar. I also knew I would know the tables were turning when the Vatican Bank began to be exposed. Once that happened it would also expose all the machinations both political and criminal that were facilitated by the existence of this bank. It was this wealth and it's contacts that precluded secular powers from seriously going after the Church or it's hierarchy. If secular power wouldn't take on the Vatican, Catholic laity had no chance in hell of fomenting any real reform. I was finally given to understand, that like with all secret organizations, it would be taken down from within by someone whose conscience couldn't take the truth and for whatever reason was willing to pay the price.
I have to say it's been pretty awesome to watch this vision start to come true. Pope Benedict can whine all he wants, and start investigation after investigation from within the curia by his fellow like minded cardinals, but criminal activity has no inherent right to privacy. The tables are indeed turning.