Pope Hints at Changes to Scandal-Ridden Vatican Bank

Pope Francis in Vatican City, Vatican.
Getty Images
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has indicated for the first time that he may make changes to the Vatican's scandal-ridden bank as part of a broad review of the Holy See's troubled administration.

Before Francis was elected last month, many of the cardinals who went on to choose him expressed concern about the harm done to the Church's image by three decades of scandals at the bank, which Italian magistrates are now investigating for money laundering.

A report last year by Moneyval, a European anti-money laundering body, found that the bank, officially the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), had failed to meet some of its standards on fighting financial crimes, and called for increased oversight.

In an impromptu sermon at a Mass for Vatican employees including staff from the bank, the pope said they should concentrate on the true mission of the Church and that Vatican departments were needed "only up to a certain point".

"The Church is not an NGO [non-governmental organization]. It is a story of love," he said, according to a transcript published by Vatican Radio.

"I know that people from the IOR are here, so excuse me. Offices are necessary but they are necessary only up to a certain point."
It was the first time Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, had mentioned the Vatican bank in public since his election.

The account of the sermon in the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, omitted the mention, however. Italian media said this was a sign of conflict within the Vatican on how to deal with the bank.

Vatican sources have said the pope could restructure the IOR and has the power to close it if he wants to.

Italian media have reported that the bank, which currently answers to a commission of cardinals and enjoys great autonomy, could be placed under the control of another Vatican department to enable tighter control.

Famiglia Cristiana, Italy's leading Catholic weekly, has called for the funds in the IOR, which manages money mostly for dioceses and religious institutions, to be administered by an independent "ethical bank" external to the Vatican.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he was not aware of any imminent changes affecting the bank.

(Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Karissa

I wonder how long it took them to realize that the quiet seeming, unassuming man that they named the Pope had no intention whatsoever of being any one's puppet? He seems intent of enacting some significant, sweeping changes through the Church. I will continue to watch with interest.

April 26 2013 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vicki

Watch your back, Pope Francis..watch your back!

April 26 2013 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cmr256

Time for the Church to stop asking you to "feed the hungry"; when all along they wanted you to
feed their sumptuous, hedonistic life style; ie.. First Class travel by air; eating in 5 star restaurants and their residences are more like royal palaces instead of modest dwellings. They have staff to
do the housework, cooking, cleaning. All they do is preach "feed the hungry". Indeed, we could
be a bunch of foolish sheep if we did what they told us to do.
They were meant to tell us about God and goodness - they should get back to that.

April 26 2013 at 8:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
onetaowalker

Secrets = lies. A real religion has no need to hide the truth.

April 26 2013 at 8:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JoAnn

The first thing the Pope should do is fire all the abusive priests and not allow the powers that be shuffle them around to other parishes or states. Enough is enough already!!!

April 26 2013 at 5:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
michael

The Italien legal system is a mess...can't be trusted...Please move the money out of Italy and into one of the other banks I mentioned...its in your best interest...Jesus Saves we have a winner

April 25 2013 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
michael

very smart man the POPE ...Good move...Jesus Saves Luxemborg--Lichtenstein--Cayman Islands...

April 25 2013 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to michael's comment
mr.smart

You just showed your total ignorance,If the pope is smart,why is he Catholic?

April 25 2013 at 11:33 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
michael

the best advice I can give the POPE is to put all the money into the bank of the Cayman Islands Or Lichtenstein or maybe Luxemborg....really its time to make the change...

April 25 2013 at 10:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
impactvqi

they want it to be administered by an independent "ethical bank" external to the Vatican.
good luck on finding one

April 25 2013 at 9:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BillsCatz

Hmm, Vatican. Mafia. Vatican. Nazis. Vatican. Holocaust gold. Vatican. organized crime. Nah, makes good press, but ya can't change a pickle back into a cucumber.

April 25 2013 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply