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Discussion 6 to Meditation 967
The fruits of doing nothing

by: JT

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As we've noted in this Meditation and the discussion items, the Pope has shown more interest in demanding respect for his authoritah than in actually exercising authority in his own domain to solve problems.

A case in point is the Vatican Bank, scandal plagued since the early nineteen-eighties when it was linked to criminal money laundering, a link that has never been broken to the satisfaction of the banking authorities in other countries.

It's a bank set up with the express aim of managing the Vatican's finances, and somehow it has become inextricably tied to organized crime.

While clearly the current Pope was not responsible for the earlier scandals, he was responsible for the bank in his position under the previous Pope and he is responsible for those he appointed to replace him. And after some twenty years of Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict, the bank remains dirty.

He has failed in his tenure to solve* the problem even in the face of a near ultimatum that the bank meet European Union safeguards against money laundering. And still the Vatican Bank and the Vatican agency responsible for overseeing the bank are incapable of implementing basic internal controls to inhibit it from engaging in criminal activity.

Now the axe has been dropped. As of the beginning of this year, visitors to the Vatican find themselves unable to use credit cards or debit cards to pay to visit Vatican attractions or to purchase souvenirs in Vatican gift shops. The Bank of Italy has cancelled authorization for any bank under its jurisdiction to process electronic payments on behalf of the Vatican Bank. It's cash only. So much for selling those profitable big-ticket souvenirs to impulse buyers.

As noted in the previous discussion item, last June the Pope appointed a new PR flack to help restore "serenity and trust." It appears this plan is not working on the trust side of things. How are you for serenity these days, Pope Cartman?



* For those who might think the problem is intractable and thus the Pope cannot be blamed for not solving it, remember the Vatican got along without owning a bank until 1942. Thus the solution when 30 years of attempts at reform have failed is to close the bank. Tender openly for the services the Vatican needs from a bank. With a little competitive bidding from those banks which do meet contemporary standards, the Vatican will be ahead financially and morally. Of course the disadvantage for the Vatican is that it closes the door on nepotism and graft.