Vatican bank granted reprieve by Pope Francis after series of scandals

Vatican announces reform plan after months of investigation and speculation that bank will be closedaltar-at-vatican-ii1

The Vatican bank will continue to “serve with prudence”

The Jesuit expulsion: “In the middle of the eighteenth century the famous Society of Jesus comprised about twenty thousand members. They could be found in all parts of the world. There was not a country, no matter how remote, or difficult of access, where the silent-footed Jesuit was not busily at work. The society possessed immense wealth; it controlled to a large extent the education of youths in many countries; among its members were the confessors of kings and princes; it exerted a powerful political influence in the civil administration of Catholic countries. The Jesuits were, in fact, at the height of their power and their fame when their downfall was decreed. The causes that brought this about were many and varied, but among them may be mentioned the accusation that the Jesuits converted their missionary stations into commercial centers and conducted bold speculations, more lucrative to their order than to their country. They were also accused of avoiding the payment of tithes by false representations of the conditions of their missions—a fact which the Franciscan friars first brought to the attention of Spanish royalty. The storm was long in brewing.”

Pope Francis:When Pope Francis Testified About the Dirty War In a closed hearing, he disputed accusations of complicity with the junta. His was the senior role -head of the Jesuits in Argentina.

Cardinal Pell called to the Vatican to take care of finance: “has long been said that Cardinal George Pell has shown too much indulgence for child abuse in the Church on his watch. Never has this been truer than in his evidence to the royal commission this past week.” 2014

John Hooper in Rome, Tuesday 8 April 2014 00.44 AEST
Pope Benedict launched a cleanup of the Vatican bank before he resigned last year. Photograph: Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images
The Vatican bank is to stay in business despite speculation Pope Francis might close down the scandal-plagued institution. After months of investigation and consultation, the Vatican announced the pope had opted for a reform plan instead.

The bank, officially called the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), has as its core business the management of cash deposited by Catholic religious institutions and members of the clergy. But its offshore status has been central to a string of scandals and controversies.

The statement said the IOR would continue to “serve with prudence”. It added that strict regulatory supervision and improvements in compliance and transparency were critical for the institute’s future.

But it said Francis recognised “the importance of the IOR’s mission for the good of the Catholic church, the Holy See and the Vatican city state”.

His predecessor, Pope Benedict, launched a cleanup of the bank before his resignation last year. One of his last acts as pontiff was to appoint a German financier, Ernst von Freyberg, as the IOR’s president.

Since then, thousands of accounts have been vetted – and several hundred closed – in a bid to comply with international standards. An IOR spokesman said the management’s priority would be to screen clients by early summer, integrate the bank with other Vatican financial institutions and introduce operational improvements.

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a former Vatican accountant, faces trial on charges of laundering millions of euros through the bank. The bank’s former director and deputy director have been indicted in a separate case on charges of violating money-laundering regulations.

Last year Pope Francis said last year closure of the bank was one of three options under consideration.

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