Apostolic Nuncio to USA warns Pope about internal Vatican financial corruption

My heavens.  The current Nuncius to the USA, Archbp. Viganò (pronounced Vi-ga-NOH), has gone public with corruption with the Vatican City State (overpaying contractors, standing contracts, without bidding, etc.).

[In my original title, I suggested that Archbp. Viganò himself went to the press.  We don’t know that.  Archbp. Viganò wrote a letter to the Pope.  Somehow, the letter got into the hands of the press.  It could be that someone else leaked the letter to the press.  It is hard for me to imagine that Archbp. Viganò leaked this.]

Here is the Italian:

Giornalettisimo:

25 gennaio 2012

Un prelato scrive una lettera al pontefice criticando la gestione degli appalti: sospeso

Il suo nome è Carlo Maria Viganò; fino a qualche mese fa era segretario generale del governatorato del Vaticano, la struttura che gestisce gli appalti e le forniture Oltretevere. E ‘corruzione’ è la parola proibita che ha pronunciato in una lettera indirizzata al Papa che ha causato la sua rimozione. Ne parla Sergio Rizzo sul Corriere:

La parola è sinonimo di malaffare e degrado morale. Ma se a pronunciarla è un altissimo prelato vicino al Papa, come rivela questa sera «Gli intoccabili », il programma d’inchiesta del giornalista Gian Luigi Nuzzi che va in onda su La7, allora vengono i brividi. «Corruzione» è proprio il termine che quel monsignore usa per descrivere in una clamorosa lettera a Benedetto XVI l’incredibile situazione che si è trovato davanti dopo aver assunto nel luglio del 2009 il delicatissimo incarico. Una bomba sganciata nelle stanze del potere vaticano il 27 marzo del 2011, nell’estremo tentativo di sventare una manovra di corridoio che culminerà con la sua rimozione. «Un mio trasferimento provocherebbe smarrimento in quanti hanno creduto fosse possibile risanare tante situazioni di corruzione e prevaricazione », scrive Viganò al Papa. Facendo capire a Joseph Ratzinger di non essere affatto isolato: «I cardinali Velasio De Paolis, Paolo Sardi e Angelo Comastri conoscono bene la situazione »

Quella struttura è un buco nero: nel 2009 perde 8 milioni di euro:

Cifra apparentemente modesta, ma estremamente significativa se rapportata alle dimensioni dello Stato Vaticano. «Non avrei mai pensato di trovarmi davanti a una situazione così disastrosa », rivela Viganò in un altro scioccante appunto inviato a Ratzinger nella scorsa primavera. Definendola «inimmaginabile», e per giunta «a tutti nota in Curia». Dal pentolone che ha scoperchiato salta fuori l’inverosimile. I servizi tecnici sono un regno diviso in piccoli feudi. In Vaticano opera una cordata di fornitori che non fanno praticamente gare: dentro le mura dello Stato della Chiesa lavorano sempre le stesse ditte, a costi doppi rispetto all’esterno anche perché non esiste alcuna trasparenza nella gestione degli appalti di edilizia e impiantistica. Insomma, una moderna fabbrica di San Pietro che ingoia denaro a ritmi ingiustificati, come dimostra il conto astronomico che viene presentato per il presepe montato nel Natale 2009 a piazza San Pietro: 550 mila euro.

Non bastasse, c’è una situazione finanziaria allucinante: le casse del governatorato subiscono perdite del 50-60%:

Per tamponarla, spiega Viganò, la gestione dei fondi è stata affidata a un «comitato finanza e gestione composto da alcuni grandi banchieri, i quali sono risultati fare più il loro interesse che i nostri». Racconta il monsignore che una sola operazione finanziaria nel dicembre 2009 ha mandato in fumo due milioni e mezzo di dollari. Ma chi fa parte di questo comitato? Nuzzi fa i nomi di quattro pezzi da novanta della finanza italiana. Quelli di Pellegrino Capaldo, Carlo Fratta Pasini, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi e Massimo Ponzellini. Capaldo è l’ex presidente della Banca di Roma: banchiere cattolico apprezzatissimo anche al di fuori degli ambienti ecclesiastici, è attualmente il proprietario della casa vinicola Feudi di San Gregorio. Fratta Pasini è il presidente del Banco popolare. Gotti Tedeschi, consigliere di amministrazione della Cassa depositi e prestiti, la banca del Tesoro italiano, nonché consigliere della Fondazione San Raffaele di don Luigi Verzé, è il banchiere poi scelto da Ratzinger per guidare lo Ior.

UPDATE:

More here and here.

Berlusconi’s paper HERE.

UPDATE:

AFP in English, HERE.

UPDATE 26 Jan:

On the Italian TV, la7.it, “Gli intoccabili” there was a show about this issue.  They seem to have the story and issues nailed down pretty well.  In effect, Archbp. Viganò was brought in to deal with the 8 million Euros of red ink of the Governatorato. He moved them into the black by some 30+ million.  He made a lot of enemies by making cuts. As a reward for doing his job, they got rid of him by promoting him. He tried to deal with some deeper problems, got stone-walled, and then got the heave-ho.  Promoveatur ut amoveatur.  In something like desperation, Mons. Viganò wrote to the Pope directly and his letter was leaked by someone, probably in the Secretariate of State, from what I can make out.

  1. 1st part
  2. 2nd part

Italian magazine shows usually have a live audience.  They show a pre-recorded filmette and then have live interviews in front of an audience.  Last night they had the editor of L’Osservatore Romano, Giovanni Maria Vian.  I found it on YouTube HERE.  It sounded to me like he decided to run out the clock.

Another interview HERE on the same show, is with an Auxiliary in L’Aquila about the distribution of money after the terrible earthquake. It is a “tangent” (excuse the pun) from the Vatican story.

From VIS comes this statement from Msgr. Lombardi:

PRESS NOTE ON ITALIAN TELEVISION PROGRAMME

VATICAN CITY, 26 JAN 2012 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy See Press Office published a note written by its director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., concerning a television programme, “Gli intoccabili”, transmitted yesterday evening by Italy’s “La7″ television network. Fr. Lombardi highlights the “questionable journalistic methods” with which the programme was made, and his “disappointment at the revelation of reserved documents”, noting that such things often form part of the “biased coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church”.

The Holy See Press Office director then turns to focus on two considerations “which were not given space in the course of the debate”. Firstly “the activities of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State certainly had many positive aspects, as he contributed to the efforts being made to ensure administrative rigour, economisation and the improvement of what was a difficult overall economic situation. … However, a fairer evaluation would have taken account of the trends of the market, the investment criteria adopted over recent years, and other important circumstances. … Certain accusations – some very serious – made during the course of the programme, especially those concerning the members of the Finance and Management Committee of the Governorate and the Secretariat of State, will lead both the Secretariat of State and the Governorate to adopt all measures (including if necessary legal measures) to protect the honour of morally upright and highly professional people who serve the Church, the Pope and the common good. In any case, the positive criteria of correct and transparent management which inspired Archbishop Vigano certainly continue to guide the current directors of the Governorate. … This is in keeping with the policy to which the Holy See is committed of increasing transparency and attentively monitoring of economic activities”.

Secondly “the difficult process of discerning the various aspects involved in managing a complex institution such as the Governorate – which are not limited to administrative rigour – was presented in a superficial and biased manner, highlighting the evidently negative aspects with the simplistic result of presenting the structures of government in the Church as being, not so much affected by human frailty (which would be easily understandable), as profoundly characterised by arguments, divisions and power struggles. … Yet, all this disinformation will certainly not obscure the daily and serene efforts towards increasing transparency in all Vatican institutions. … In this context, it must be decisively affirmed that entrusting Archbishop Vigano with the role of apostolic nuncio to the United States – one of the most important roles in Vatican diplomacy given the importance of the country and of the Catholic Church there – is proof of unquestionable respect and trust”.

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14 Responses to Apostolic Nuncio to USA warns Pope about internal Vatican financial corruption

  1. pewpew says:

    “E ‘corruzione’ è la parola proibita che ha pronunciato in una lettera indirizzata al Papa che ha causato la sua rimozione.” So Mgr.’s basically saying His Holiness is in on this too? «A tutti nota in Curia», and who finances this mess? The faithful?…

  2. James says:

    Financial corruption in the Vatican? Inconceivable!

    But seriously, we’ve been down this road, what, twice in the past thirty or so years? You’d think they’d learn by now.

  3. rcg says:

    This is an opportunity for the Vatican to review how it manages people and groups. The same attitude that allows this happen is, IMO, probably related to the way the Bishops are handled vis-a-vis the sex abuse scandal, female ordination, etc. Fortunately, in 21st Century we can have a strong centralised control with decentralised execution that is verifiable through inspection and comparison to metrics. This can support Vatican proper understanding of, say, Capitalism by allowing a better exposure to various manifestations other than the Italian and European model, that distorts the current world view.

  4. CarpeNoctem says:

    … and the poor man got banished to the US as nuncio. Wow, he must have really been on to something big. No, seriously… no sarcasm here. He’s got a big, ugly job now in a far-away land that is in serious trouble. He needs our support and prayers.

  5. Tradster says:

    More blood in the water to draw the secular media sharks.

  6. Titus says:

    I’ve never understood the public-sector insistence that public bidding is the only honest way to award contracts. Why is it immoral or “corrupt” to award a contract on some basis other than simply the bottom line. A job was performed and a wage was paid. Surely that’s nothing over which to lose sleep.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    The bankers mentioned in the text, if this report is true, bear the responsibility of bringing the Vatican into more disrepute. I think one mentioned is the new one appointed by the Pope, but my Italian is not that good. If so, Luigi Verzé, who died last year, who was involved in scandals in building contracts and hospitals, is the same who was put under the watch-dog last year, I am not surprised at more information coming out. Gotti Tedeschi, however, is a very interesting person, who has a record of stating that capitalism only remains moral and works when connected to Catholic teaching. And, he is not a socialist, as I think Verze was. If this is the same Tedeschi, he is also very anti-abortion and anti-contraceptive in his statements. I wonder if some of this is the doing of one man, sadly, the one who died in December, Luigi Verze, with a long history of dubious economic ventures. I shall await more information. There is an odd combination of Catholic capitalists and socialists in the Vatican financial system.

  8. irishgirl says:

    Tradster-Amen to that! I can’t wait to see what the secular media has to say about this….yikes…!

  9. Jerry says:

    Has anyone come across a decent English translation? The Google translation is good enough to get a general sense of the content, but some of the key points are mangled enough that it’s difficult to understand the details.

  10. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Matthew 22:
    [16] And they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou dost not regard the person of men. [17] Tell us therefore what dost thou think, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? [18] But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? [19] Shew me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny. [20] And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this? [21] They say to him: Caesar’s. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s. [22] And hearing this they wondered, and leaving him, went their ways. [23]
    The current Pope has spent the vaster part of his life attending to the things that are God’s. To have him thrust (reluctantly) into the den of wolves of Vatican functionaries who have spent the vaster part of their lives rendering unto Caesar makes the situation even more dire for the public perception of how the Church functions. The press will land on this, I’m sure, as another “proof” of overall corruption in Rome. The press, many of the Church’s bishops and princes, and certainly many laymen will fail to see that the corruption is not of the Church but of the worldly structures of the Church. What, in fact, can and should the Pontifex Maximus, the spiritual leader of the Church do with the de facto leaders of the secular state known as Vatican City? Caesaro-papism is hardly the answer. Although exposing the corruption of those who “render to Caesar” at the (literal?) expense of God’s due is an historical necessity, it is ultimately an issue of making the faithful aware that financial arranging, political play, and diplomatic jockeying are secondary, and that rendering unto God is primary. In the meantime it is way more important that the Holy Father be allowed to concentrate on his teaching mission, the very real reason that God raised up this holy man at this time of corruptions in many arenas of Church life.

  11. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    If it is true, I think Archbishop Vigano is pretty courageous to take it on. It looks like he may have even suffered for exposing some of this.

    The Orthodox Church in America had its own financial scandals that did (unfortunately) go all the way to the top, but it also became the impetus for a greater degree of accountability. I cannot imagine that Pope Benedict is colluding with this kind of thing, but it may be an opportune moment for him to clean house.

  12. I can see it now. The Evangelical Christians will be saying things like “would you believe me if I told you that the Holy Spirit has left the Catholic Church?” And the left will be saying things like “If certain Church leaders weren’t holy why should we be holy?” They both miss the point. I just hope the left and the right will see the Church for what it is. A hospital of sinners. Let’s look at it this way, we’re not members of the Church because the clergy are sinless! The real reason why we are Catholic, is because of the Blessed Eucharist.
    Anyone find it ironic that this comes out during the 2012 elections? I do. The main stream media will use this as a ploy to try to humiliate the Catholic Church into silence and to attempt to discredit the Pope’s moral authority and use it get Obama reelected. We need to remember that the Catholic Church is infallible in her teachings, sinful in her members.
    I tell you, unless certain Church leaders and lay alike repent and change their ways, this type of persecution is going to continue. Just my two cents.

  13. I am certain that the pope is unable to keep a finger on the pulse in the Vatican, since so many career diplomats have ways of keeping matters most secretive. In deed some of these folks need to be sent packing.

  14. anna 6 says:

    I seem to remember reading something related to this when Archbishop Vigano was appointed as US papal nuncio…that during his tenure at the vatican there was drama of some sort.

    The perception will be that Pope Benedict demoted someone as punishment for trying to clean up corruption. But really? Would making someone nuncio of the most powerful country in the world really be a “demotion”? And would giving that position to someone with a reputation for reform in a country trying to come through a scandal really be considered “punishment”?

    I am clueless as to how these things work, but I am pretty sure that this will be ugly.