The Bank of God

Share this item
Tools
 Podcast
 RSS

The Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome. Encircled by a 2-mile border with Italy the city covers just over 100 acres, making it one-eighth the size of New York’s Central Park. Vatican City is governed as an absolute monarchy with the Pope as its head. And is one of the most sacred places in Christendom. The Vatican mints its own Euros, prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates, operates media outlets and has its own flag and anthem. The Vatican also has its own bank. The Vatican bank serves thousands of Catholic charities, religious orders and dioceses around the world, in addition to roughly 500 people living in the tiny city-state. It has some 33,400 accounts and about $8 billion in assets. Yet the Vatican bank’s murky finances, which has been suspected for years of being a channel for the laundering of mob profits, perhaps has a skeleton in the closet. In this documentary it is tried to shed light on the involvement of the Vatican Bank in murky transactions and deals.

TIME CODE : 00:00 _ 05:00

Letter of Mr Nunzio Scarano to the Pope

Holy Pope Francis, I am writing this letter to tell you in all honesty about my checking account at the IOR. Holy Father, I never laundered money, nor did I ever steal. I always lived with dignity my ministry and tried to help whoever needed to be helped, since Providence has been so generous towards me. Regarding my transactions at the IOR, they have always been carried out following the advice of the bank directors and I never took advantage of special and personal favours. I always followed the Canon law of the IOR.

Narration:

In July, during the Pope’s visit to Brazil, a letter is delivered to his Secretariat. However, this is not a standard letter. It has been sent a few hours before from the prison of Regina Coeli in Rome and addressed to the Holy Father himself.

Apparently it is just an average letter of white envelope, the sender of which, though, alarms the Secretariat’s officers and a phone call is immediately made. On July 25th, the papal delegation in S?o Paulo is awaken at dawn: a problem came up at the Holy See.

The letter is not just a plain letter, it was not sent by any of the many prisoners who write every day to the Pope to ask for comfort. The sender is Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a high priest who leads the special section of accounting at APSA, the authority which manages the whole patrimony of the Holy See. He is a very influential figure, not just an average priest.

Scarano is very well known also at the IOR, the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank. At the time when he wrote the letter to the Pope, Monsignor Scarano had been in jail for a month with the charges of bribery, slander and money laundering.

According to the Italian Finance Police inspectors, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano tried to bring a bag containing 26 million Euros into Italy from Switzerland and according to the prosecutors that money would have been used to do a favour to a Neapolitan family of ship-owners.

Monsignor Scarano had two accomplices during this operation: a broker operating mainly abroad and a non-commissioned officer of the Italian Carabinieri working for the Intelligence and Security Services, in other words a 007. The operation involved a private jet and armed guards, though it was suddenly cancelled and the umpteenth financial scandal at the Holy See broke out. Monsignor Nunzio Scarano is the first high priest in history to be imprisoned for financial crimes; that never occurred before.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist :

It is painful to see the financial police accompanying a Monsignor, but the painful element is not determined by the person but by the outfit he’s wearing, by what he should represent. It also is an indication that another small balance has broken.

Beniamino De Palma ,Bishop Of Nola:

Unfortunately, it is a small wonder that even in the Church, since it is composed of human beings, there can be illegal behaviours which are not evangelical at all. Mr Scarano has to be watched with great mercy, because it’s first of all a man and when a man makes a mistake he has to be watched with great mercy and he deserves another chance.

TIME CODE : 05:00 _ 09:50

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist :

These people are bottomless pits, these are bottomless stories. The story of Monsignor Scarano it’s just the surface.

Mario Staderini – Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

The Church has chosen the most absolute form of government, that is the absolute monarchy as it hasn’t existed since the time of the Sun King, when he could say “L’état c’est moi” (I am the State). The executive power, the judicial power and the legislative power all are in the hands of just one person: the Pope. He’s the sovereign, so there is no rule having an actual value, since a single person can modify it. We cannot expect that person to be good rather than bad. Nowadays, this is the problem.

Narration:

The Vatican State is surrounded by walls and covers 44 hectares of land in the heart of Rome. It has a population of 839 people, whose per capita income is about 407,000 Euros, about half a million dollars. This is the highest per capita income in the world.

The Vatican State owns a daily newspaper, a radio and a bank. Its structure is very complex: the sovereignty lies with the Holy See, which is under the Pope’s authority. The Pope heads the Roman Curia, the Church Government. This latter is divided into congregations that run the various intervention areas. A cardinal heads each congregation. But to rule the world, the Pope relies on the Episcopal Conferences which are independent organisations run by bishops and situated in each country. The detailed economic balance sheet of the Holy See, its ministries, its bank and all its organisms is unknown.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist :

The balance sheet is confidential, but we’re not talking only of the IOR (Institute for the Works of Religions): half the entities that depend on the Vatican have partial or confidential balance sheets. Balance sheets should all be certified, everything should be clear. A theocracy like that of the Vatican, which I think is the only one in the world, should be more advanced, and not more reactionary, than us in terms of transparency.

Narration:

Officially, the Holy See does not produce any goods and its services are mainly free. However, its economy is based on investments in chattels and real estates. The Holy See is extremely wealthy and it owns not only vast amounts of land and real estates all over the world, but also institutions, NGOs, stocks, universities and hospitals. All these properties are tax-free. The financial empire that generates an incredibly high turnover is administrated by the APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. The Vatican City State has always issued incomplete financial statements, except for the year 2013 when statements were more detailed and made up of four sections: the Roman Curia which is the government, the Governorate, which is the territory administration, Charity, all kinds of donations, and the Pastoral section, which lists the pastoral activities of all churches.

The Vatican generates a profit of nearly 3 million dollars a year, and according to an official statement this is possible "thanks to an efficient financial management." More than 72 million dollars of that profit comes from the IOR, so the Vatican would probably be unprofitable without the so-called “Bank of God”.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

The Vatican has patrimony... the general assists is so immense that we probably never will know the exact amount of the real estate and money founds they have worldwide. Simply because in some case they are administered directly by the Vatican, in other cases they are administered by the offices all around the world, but no one has ever manage to give an overall look of this patrimony because it is so immense and the Vatican has never been obliged to give such information.

TIME CODE: 09:50 _ 15:21

Narration:

The IOR privacy policy protects its clients’ identities and therefore the Holy See has to respect those confidentiality provisions. In fact, despite pressures from the media, all kind of information about the so-called “Bank of God” has always been protected by secrecy, starting from its location. The IOR is concealed inside a tower that dates from the 15th century and has 9-meter-thick walls. You can enter through a simple door that has no signs or symbols on it. No information has ever leaked out and nobody will ever know who goes there.

Gianluigi Nuzzi, Investigative Journalist:

The IOR is the only bank in the Vatican City State. This bank was founded at the beginning of the last century. Thanks to a series of agreements with the Italian Republic, it has always benefited from a certain degree of immunity and has avoided any kind of control by both national and international judicial, monetary and financial authorities.

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

The IOR is just the tip of the iceberg of a system that is based on the lack of transparency and for this reason the IOR is involved in all the controversial events of Vatican’s recent history.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

The first problems started in the 70s and 80s, when the IOR became a laundry of money for the Mafia. This is what happened because there was a shady agreement between the President of the IOR, Mr Marcinkus from the US, and some disreputable people, such as Michele Sindona, who was a banker that in the US had been accused of collaborating with important families of the Italian-American Mafia. Or Roberto Calvi, who was an Italian banker who made his bank, the Banco Ambrosiano, collapsed. After the bank collapsed someone killed him and tried to make it look like a suicide. He was found in 1982 under the Blackfriars Bridge in London.

Narration:

Paul Casimir Marcinkus is nominated chairman of IOR in 1971. Under his lead, the Vatican Bank begins a long period of investments, financial speculation, relationships with Freemasonry and organised crime and funds kept in offshore tax havens all over the world. Marcinkus claims that “you cannot rule with prayers” and one of his first operations is putting his trust in Michele Sindona, a criminal banker who exploits the IOR to move large assets towards foreign banks, thus letting the Vatican earn huge amounts of money.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

All of the banking empire that Sindona had built he manage to built it with the founds that Vatican gave him in 1969-1970, because he was called to rescue some firms that were in the possession of the Vatican, which then sold them to Mr Sindona and with the assist that he gained from that transaction he manage to built his banking empire.

Narration:

Through Sindona, Marcinkus starts doing business with Roberto Calvi, chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, the first Catholic bank in Italy. Thanks to their relationships with Mafia, the intelligence and the secret Freemasonry lodge, they build a sort of illegal group which operates through banks and foreign subsidiaries, moving capitals, manipulating illegal funds – sometimes coming from illicit operations – and also exporting currency, avoiding banking rules. Until eventually Banco Ambrosiano crashes.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

Roberto Calvi empties the bank’s registers and opens a foreign subsidiary between the Andean bank and the Nassau bank. Roberto Calvi had very important contacts in South America, including business partners belonging to the Medeln Cartel.

TIME CODE: 15:21 _ 20:19

You just need to follow the world’s sewerage, then when you finally raise the manhole you realize that you ended up right inside the luxurious villas of those people above suspicion.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

When the bank collapsed he had more than 1 billion dollars of debts and the IOR always refuse to be held in anyway accountable for the crimes they committed alongside with the compliance of Mr Calvi.

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

The main problem is that the Vatican is a nation and, therefore, a nation with this kind of rules denies any letter rogatory requested by Italy in order to collect information about IOR’s accounts and movements. It goes without saying that the IOR becomes the perfect place for those who want to do shady deals, since it guarantees top secrecy.

Narration:

After the bankruptcy of Banco Ambrosiano, the chairman Roberto Calvi is found dead under mysterious circumstances. Four years later, the banker Michele Sindona dies in prison. Apparently he committed suicide drinking poisoned coffee. The American bishop Paul Casimir Marcinkus gets away unscathed from the affair.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

For a certain period the IOR became the place where Mafia laundered its money. After that, Pope Wojtyla used the IOR as a financial means to foster Polish rebels. People use to say that Wojtyla needed money to deconstruct the Warsaw Pact and during such operations he didn’t care about the assignor. He used to turn a blind eye, perhaps even both eyes.

Narration:

1989 is a key year for the Vatican: the Berlin Wall falls and the bishop Marcinkus leaves the IOR. His place is taken by Angelo Caloia, a financial expert. The money laundering does not stop. The Vatican Bank keeps acting like an offshore bank, with the difference that money coming from organised crime is replaced with money coming from kickbacks. These are the years of the so-called huge kickback Enimont, which involves political parties, the Montedison private group and Eni, the Italian oil giant. The kickback, which amounts to 150 billion Italian lira, is directly managed by Monsignor Donato De Bonis, the IOR’s secretary.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

This is an Italian story involving a huge kickback paid to political parties and a series of suicides. Most part of that money was laundered, which means that it was passed from this private group to Italian politicians through a bank medium and this medium was the IOR. Therefore, the IOR took investors’ money and sent it to accounts all over the world which were registered in the name of politicians. This was the huge kickback Enimont.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

All the bribes that were given to the politicians and managers flowed through the Vatican bank. So the judges of Milan in 1993 wrote down in the judgment of first degree that more that 70% of the bribes given to politicians were laundered through the Vatican Bank.

TIME CODE : 20:19 _ 25:00

Narration:

Following the scandals linked to money laundering by Mafia and then to politicians’ kickbacks, the IOR’s system gets perfected, though its core remains unchanged. Money is passed through a system of accounts in the name of non-existent charities or through priests, nuns and high priests used as nominees. In the meanwhile, the Italian banker Ettore Gotti Tedeschi becomes the leader of the Vatican Bank. Thanks to the support of Pope Benedict XVI, he tries to clean house introducing a supervisory body. And the shady IOR system adapts once again.

Letter Of Mr. Nunzio Scarano To The Pope:

Holy Father Francis, I have been a stretcher-bearer in Lourdes for 26 years. I know both physical sufferance and the sorrow that those who take care of the ill can feel, since I volunteered in hospitals for 8 years before starting to work for the Vatican. As for the documents in my possession, they are proof of my honesty and of all the battles fought against the infringement of my secular superiors, who were well covered, blackmailed and protected by some cardinals that were and still are like skeletons in the closets: well blackmailed and used.

Petronilla Carillo , Journalist:

Monsignor Scarano is called “Father 500 Euros”, because everyone remembers him with a bundle of money, 500 Euro banknotes. Because he was, as they say here, a generous man. He did a lot of favours and he received many favours too: nobody could say “no” to Monsignor Scarano.

Narration:

It is not easy to investigate Monsignor Nunzio Scarano’s financial asset in Salerno, his hometown, because a lot of people are involved. Petronilla Carillo is journalist of the Salerno daily newspaper “Il Mattino”. She’s been following this last scandal of the Vatican since the beginning. Two different public prosecutor’s offices are investigating this scandal: the public prosecutor’s office in Rome for bribery and the one in Salerno for money laundering.

Petronilla Carillo , Journalist:

As regards the Roman inquiry, which is still continuing, Monsignor Scarano is now in the Regina Coeli prison for bribery. He is accused of having corrupted an intelligence officer and of using a broker to bring a case containing 26 million dollars from Switzerland to Italy. He explained that some ship-owners had asked him to do this as a favour. He couldn’t say “no” because one of them was his friend and his benefactors. The words “friend” and “benefactor” come out in the Roman inquiry as well as in that of Salerno. The inquiry of Salerno is about money laundering. The origin of this money is still unknown to the investigators: it is said that it comes from the IOR and that entrepreneurs and politicians gave him this money in order to evade taxes and to group some undeclared money together.

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

It’s the first time that a person is arrested who is part of the Curia and who could therefore enjoy Vatican immunity. In Italy there are rules ensuring that each time a criminal procedure is started against a church-person the Italian State must previously inform his or her superior. That is the bishop, the cardinal or the Pope. So the arrest is something new, even if the evidences were striking.

TIME CODE: 25:00 _ 30:00

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

However in the past this had never happened, neither to Marcinkus nor to other people.

Beniamino De Palma , Bishop Of Nola:

I met the young Nunzio Scarano because both of us were often on the trains to Lourdes with ill people. While studying Economy, he was a young stretcher-bearer. Nunzio appeared to me as a young man quite serene and serious in his choices. That’s why I was astonished and puzzled about what has recently happened in the APSA. I don’t know whether he is the Nunzio I met on the trains with ill people many years ago or if he was a young man who now has changed, or they made him change.

Petronilla Carillo , Journalist:

He was born in one of the most peripheral areas of the city, an area which is considered the suburbs of the suburbs. His family was humble. Then he studies, graduates and manages to get a job in a bank. Maybe that’s when he created the right network. The calling presented itself late to Nunzio Scarano and suddenly, he received the illumination and decided to become a priest. At first, he was sent to a small parish in the south of Salerno. His qualities were much appreciated and he also dealt with the management of accounts for the Episcopal Curia. Then, he took a step up the ladder in Rome.

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

When your ultimate aim is not the preach the Gospel but to become more powerful as an organisation of the Church, it’s clear that you will not need pastors of souls but administrative staff that can manage these huge assets. It is therefore normal that, with the passing of time, people of this kind start to gain power within the Church.

Narration:

The tie that links Monsignor Scarano to his hometown never leaves him. In fact, even from his offices in Rome, he continues managing his affairs in Salerno. The town protects him, the Episcopal Curia protects him. Looking for information about him means to run into a wall of omertà and silence. His 14-room house situated right next to the Salerno Cathedral is the symbol of his power and of his strong links with the leaders of the political and religious systems.

Petronilla Carillo , Journalist:

Monsignor Scarano owned a luxurious apartment, a huge house he used for work and entertainment. When he came here he loved to take care of his friends, throw big parties, invite people to his house and have a life that perhaps was quite different from that of a priest. Everyone who knows him says that he’s very shrewd and skilful. Works of art of immense value have been found in his house such as paintings of De Chirico and Guttuso. There is even a crucifix of the altar of St. Peter Cathedral attributed to Bernini. All the people in Salerno are very attached to Monsignor Scarano because he was always ready to help everyone out. Maybe this is the reason why people from Salerno try to protect him. Or maybe they are also scared, scared of the people who may be involved and scared by the large amounts of money that went through the IOR and Scarano’s hands.

TIME CODE : 30:00 _ 34:47

Letter Of Mr Nunzio Scarano To The Pope:

Holy Father Francis, I was the only priest in the extraordinary section of the APSA and I was not able to do very much, although I asked for help many times. Holy Father, I do not want to take advantage of your kindness, but I hope I will have the possibility to send you privately a package of documents that will prove what I have said is true and will strengthen your great and courageous effort to heal the Holy See from all crimes and restore its terrible administrative, economic and financial situation. Holy Father, I have always been a servant of the Church and I have never used the Church for my personal advantage. Please believe me.

Your great devotee. In Domino. Nunzio Scarano.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

If you write to the Pope, you don’t need to make your letter public, because if you do so you just want everyone to know what you have written. So you want to say those things and you want everyone to know, and this is quite a typical pattern inside the Vatican. When Scarano talks about skeletons in the closet, he chooses an expression that reveals his despair and he uses that expression deliberately in order to make it clear that he could speak about and involve someone else. The growing number of skeletons creates favourable conditions for blackmail.

Beniamino De Palma , Bishop Of Nola:

Given his position, I think he must have had someone who covered for him. I mean, he was not the boss, he was just one of the employees. Undoubtedly he had to cover for someone else too. I don’t want to make accusations, I’m just saying that having that kind of friends can change your life.

Narration:

Monsignor Scarano is now in jail and makes accusations against some laic people and cardinals who worked with him for an institution that in his words is “a bank that does exactly what all other banks do”. He’s not talking about the IOR, he’s talking about the APSA, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, that represents the strong box in which the Holy See places all its assets and real estates. The APSA is a business partner of the Vatican bank but it works also autonomously through its own banks and trust and holding companies. The exact value of the Holy See’s assets is currently underestimated and the only way to have that kind of information would be knowing which properties the APSA deals with. After all, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano is just a small piece of the bigger picture.

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

The Vatican is the biggest real estate owner in the world. And the guardians of its real estate assets have always been Propaganda Fide, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and the APSA. They both have a strong economic and financial power, but as for real estate’s they have become particularly influential.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

Inside the Vatican City there is another financial body which is a kin to the central bank of the Vatican State but it is not a central bank, which is the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, which officially manages all the real estate things of the Vatican worldwide, in Italy and abroad. For example in the Moneyval Report is written that the APSA, which is the acronym in Italian, has funds and has relations with other central banks of Europe.

TIME CODE: 34:47 _ 39:48

For example the Bank of England and the Bank of Italy So if you put the Vatican bank alongside this other administration you get a sense of the financial power that the Vatican can rely on. Because he has founds deposited worldwide and they are probably very secure funds, since they are deposited in central banks. But no one knows really the amount and no one really knows what they do with them.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

What is particularly interesting about the APSA is the department in which Monsignor Scarano works, that is to say the extraordinary section. Scarano’s chief is a layman who happens to be the son of Luigi Mennini, the former right-hand man of Marcinkus. His son, Paolo Mennini, is the head of the extraordinary section, that is to say the elite group inside the APSA. The fact that Monsignor Scarano mentioned his laic superiors in his letter creates a disturbing scenario.

Narration:

Pope Benedict XVI was the first one who tried to make the IOR comply with international finance laws. He founded the AIF, the Financial Information Authority, in order to find answers for inspectors from Moneyval, a monitoring body of the Council of Europe that deals with money laundering and asked the Vatican for transparency. However, the AIF represents a conflict of interest because its chairman is also a member of the IOR, that is therefore inspector and inspected at the same time.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

The agreement set up the so called Financial Information Authority (AIF) which is a kin to the Financial Information Unit that all the European countries have. It would never manage to be an independent authority simply because it is inserted in the juridical system of the Vatican City which doesn't guarantee any democratic controls. So the senior managers of the Vatican Financial Information Authority since they are named and appointed basically by the Pope there were always been risks of appointing persons that are not necessarily properly checked with regards to their independence and to their efficiency

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

They tried to do something in order to remedy all the huge scandals that by now are under everyone’s eyes, but their real aim was not to solve the problem, but to limit the damage. So they made many little changes, such as creating a financial authority that should have inspected the IOR and the APSA. But the chain of command got worse and worse and in the end there was no real control or inspection, also because the biggest authority is always the Pope.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

In broader terms, the events of 9/11 changed the whole world and in particular the financial system. Slowly in Europe and even more slowly in Vatican City this system started to adhere to the transparency standards imposed by central authorities, in order to avoid the creation of slush funds meant to feed Al-Qaeda. This attempt to create rules to avoid slush funds in the financial world hit not only Al-Qaeda’s funds, but also those who tried to create slush funds. And since it has business relationships with European banks, the Vatican City too experienced a few problems.

TIME CODE: 39:48 _ 45:00

Narration:

On November 2011, for the first time the Vatican City opens its doors to the dreaded Moneyval inspectors, a committee of financial and legal experts from the Council of Europe who evaluate anti-money laundering measures. All the papers of the administrative office and the financial office are canvassed for six days. In 2012 the inspectors come back twice and they finally draw up a report.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

The European inspectors have began this activity of supervision of the Vatican system whit the Moneyval Report but at the same time we discover an official statement saying that the IOR, the Vatican Bank, however doesn't fall within the jurisdiction of the Vatican City State but belongs to the Holy See which is another subject of international law. And the report specify that “the Holy See and the European Union have not sign agreement of the application of the directives of 2005, which is the regulation against the money laundering or any other legal instrument to combat the money laundering. Therefore the EU has no means to apply or enforce any rules on combat of money laundering to the Holy See”.

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of Italian Radicals Party:

In Italy there’s a game called “the three cards game”. The player is set before three cards and has to choose the winning one. However, the gambler does a few tricks with his hands and therefore the player always loses. The same happened with the Church over all these years. When someone is seeking diplomatic immunity the Vatican City is dragged in. When there’s the need to point out the moral authority who made the demand, here comes the Pope. And when someone has to justify the use of money for social purposes, the Catholic Church pops up. In the end, these are the three cards and behind them there is always the same person.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

In the same months that Moneyval was evaluating the Vatican City system, Mons Scarano in those same months manages to transfer those 20milion Euros in cash. That was possible simply because the Moneyval Committee was evaluating the Vatican City State, but it was a sort of image operation.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

Some financial operations attributed to Mons Scarano, were carried out during May 2012, that is during the period when Moneyval was monitoring the Vatican Bank. The reason is that encryption systems for financial operations are extremely elaborate.

Narration:

An inquiry carried out by the Italian Finance Police states that exactly from 2010 to 2012 the Vatican moved around half a billion Dollars from its accounts in Italy to foreign countries, especially to Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan. So as soon as the controls became more serious, the Vatican State transferred the money, thus carrying out one of the greatest capital flights ever accomplished.

Gabriele Di Battista , Author Of “Ior Paradise”:

The Moneyval never manage to get their hand on list of persons that have accounts in the Vatican Bank and so until the story of Mons Scarano hits the newspapers nobody could ever imagines that he moved those massive amounts of money.

Narration:

On 11 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI tenders his resignation. 4 days later, a new director of the Vatican bank is appointed: it’s the German Ernest von Freyberg. The conclave meets and Jorge Maria Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, is elected on 13 March. The Church announces a new era. The new Pope chooses Francis as his name in honour of the principles of poverty that Saint Francis of Assisi preached. Pope Francis immediately asks for a series of important reforms. The main one concerns the Vatican bank. The Pope appoints a special commission: “Bergoglio’s revolution” begins.

TIME CODE : 45:07 _ 50:00

Pope Jorge Maria Bergoglio:

Good morning brothers and sisters. The Gospel says to think about salvation...

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

There’s great enthusiasm towards Pope Bergoglio... If there’s so much enthusiasm now, why didn’t people protest before? If there’s so much enthusiasm for this Pope, what were these enthusiastic people doing in the past?

Beniamino De Palma , Bishop Of Nola:

The Bergoglio revolution is mainly a new way to live the Church and the ministry of Pope. A human style. He appointed 2 boards to go into the problems of the IOR and to fully understand those problems. He has not yet begun. He appointed a board of eight cardinals to reform the Roman Curia, but there’s a burdensome legacy, burdensome. But everywhere people are waiting for clear signals that say: a change.

Mario Staderini , Secretary Of The Italian Radicals Party:

Pope Francis’ planning is correct, because he says: the IOR has to be closed and if must become an ethical bank. If he will manage to do such a thing it means that something is changing. Anything different from the closing of the IOR or its changing in a bank of mercy will only be some make-up.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

By definition, a bank cannot be an ethical bank. A bank is not ethical: it’s an oxymoron. If you talk about an ethical bank to any banker he bursts into laugher. Because it’s either the account holders or the bank that makes profit, it’s like that. Pope Francis says so many things. In 1988, Wojtyla too said: “I want to change the Vatican Bank.. Paul Casimir Marcinkus has been tempted, and his good faith was betrayed…”. At the time they tried to reform the bank but old criminal habits are still there. Now let’s see: we’re waiting for practical actions.

Narration:

A few months after the so-called 'Bergoglio revolution ' and after the arrest of Nuncio Scarano, the president and the vice president of the IOR resign because they are under investigation for infringement of anti-money laundering laws. After four months, the IOR launches its first website, the Vatican promises zero tolerance and absolute transparency and states that all Vatican’s financial statements will be made public starting from the following year.

Gianluigi Nuzzi , Investigative Journalist:

Oddly enough you hear something about the IOR only when there is a problem. This happens because we do not know what the real activities of the bank are. Why don’t they talk to journalists like us? Launching the IOR website doesn’t make the bank’s activities more transparent, even the off-shore companies located in St. Lucia have websites. Then we’ll see if new scandals break out, if they just break out or if they break out and after that the people responsible for those scandals are identified.

TIME CODE: 50:08 _ 52:00

Beniamino De Palma , Bishop Of Nola:

Certainly the Vatican bank has made some mistakes, but according to the Pope what is really important is that the IOR should be a transparent bank that follows ethical values and fights against illegality. The Vatican bank can be useful only if it works to help people, but if it works to cover up crimes it cannot do any good to the people nor to the Church and its reputation.

Narration:

Despite all the promises about transparency and clarity, it is still impossible to talk to the most powerful men of the Holy See about the IOR, the Vatican economy and its financial situation. During our research, we tried to get in touch with Cardinal Peter Tukson and Bishop Mario Toso, president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. They both declined our invitation. We contacted the Bishop of Salerno, who is very close to Nuncio Scarano. But he did not want to meet whit us. Finally, we tried to reach the official voice of the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi, who is the head of the Vatican press office. He decided to hide behind silence too.

   

Coming Up Online