Thursday, September 24, 2009

Letter #30, from America, Changes

insidethevatican - Sep 24, 2009

New Leadership at Vatican Bank

The Pope has named a new team to oversee the Holy See's financial dealings. Remembering Archbishop Marcinkus, and St. Anselm...

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from America


When Pope Benedict XVI became Pope at the age of 78 in 2005, some wondered if he would make any substantial changes in the Roman Curia.

At first, the answer was no.

Indeed, following the pattern common in Bavaria, where a new parish priest makes no changes at all for a full year out of respect for the previous pastor, Benedict, born and raised in Bavaria, made very few changes during his first year.

After that, he started making small changes, here and there, generally bringing in men he knew personally to serve as "his" men in the Curia.

And now, after four and half years, he has started to make some serious changes.

Yesterday, it was time for the Vatican bank.


"No man can serve two masters: Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." —Jesus of Nazareth, Gospel of Matthew 6:24, Gospel of Luke 16:13


It is the first rule of journalism to "follow the money," and there is much to be said for that rule.

Money means all the forms of wealth this world contains.

"Mammon," Jesus called it.

He referred to it as the alternative to God.

He said that human beings often come to a crossroads and must decide whom they will serve, God or Mammon -- and they cannot serve both.

So the handling of the Church's money, the Vatican's money, is not a minor matter.

It is an important matter.

And it is a matter easily mishandled, and it has been mishandled, often, in the past.


Here are excerpts from the Wall Street Journal's report on the story today, with a link to the entire article:

Vatican Revamps Its Bank's Ranks

By Stacy Meichtry

VATICAN CITY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2009 -- The Holy See announced a sweeping overhaul of the Vatican bank's management as part of Pope Benedict XVI's push for greater transparency at one of the world's most secretive financial institutions.

In a statement Wednesday, the Holy See said it had appointed Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who headed an Italian unit of Banco Santander SA, as the new head of the Vatican bank, which is called the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, or IOR. The Holy See also replaced the IOR's management board.

The appointment marks the end of Angelo Caloia's two decades at the helm of the IOR -- a run that made him one of the Vatican's most powerful and deeply entrenched officials. Mr. Caloia, an Italian banker and economist, was the first noncleric to run the IOR...

In his new post, Mr. Gotti Tedeschi will lead the IOR's "management board," a body of laymen who oversee the bank's operations. The Holy See also named new members to the supervisory board, including Carl Anderson, chief executive of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group based in New Haven, Conn., and a member of several Vatican advisory bodies.

—Davide Berretta contributed to this article.


The same story was reported with a slightly different emphasis by Catholic News Service, the news service of the US bishops, which led with the American angle. (I find CNS generally reliable, and read it with great attention, but it sometimes has an "American" slant -- as is natural -- and this story shows that. The story leads with the Anderson appointment, and then mentions the Tedeschi appointment. And it adds a second name not mentioned in the Wall Street Journal report: that of Renaldo Hermann Schmitz):

Knights of Columbus leader named to Vatican bank supervisory panel

By John Thavis, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The head of the Knights of Columbus has been named by Pope Benedict XVI to a five-member council that supervises the activities of the Vatican bank.

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, who heads the 1.7 million-member fraternal organization, was among three new council members announced by the Vatican Sept. 23...

Leaving his post on the council was Virgil Dechant, who stepped down as head of the Knights of Columbus in 2000.


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