Vatileaks II

A report from Crux notes Vatileaks 2 has come out to the public domain, “The Vatican’s new leaks scandal intensified Tuesday as a book exposed the mismanagement and internal resistance that has been thwarting Pope Francis’ financial reform efforts. Citing confidential documents, it detailed millions of euros in potential lost rental revenue, the scandal of the Vatican’s saint-making machine, greedy monsignors, and a professional-style break-in at the Vatican”.

Allen goes on to note that ““Merchants in the Temple,” by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, is due out Thursday, but an advance copy was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. Its publication, and that of a second book, come days after the Vatican arrested two members of Francis’ financial reform commission in an investigation into stolen documents. The Vatican on Monday described the books as “fruit of a grave betrayal of the trust given by the pope, and, as far as the authors go, of an operation to take advantage of a gravely illicit act of handing over confidential documentation.” “Publications of this nature do not help in any way to establish clarity and truth, but rather generate confusion and partial and tendentious conclusions,” the Vatican said”.

He adds that “The arrests and books mark a new phase in the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal. The saga began in 2012 with an earlier Nuzzi expose, peaked with the conviction of Pope Benedict XVI’s butler on charges he supplied Nuzzi with stolen documents, and ended a year later when a clearly exhausted Benedict resigned, unable to carry on. With the scandal still fresh, Francis was elected in 2013 on a mandate from his fellow cardinals to reform the Vatican bureaucracy and clean up its opaque finances. He set out promptly by creating a commission of eight experts to gather information from all Vatican offices on the Holy See’s overall financial situation, which by that time was dire. Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, a high-ranking Vatican official affiliated with the Opus Dei movement, and Francesca Chaouqui, an Italian public relations executive, were both members — and now are accused in the leaks probe”.

He goes on to mention “Nuzzi’s book focuses on the work of the commission and the resistance it encountered in getting information out of Vatican departments that have long enjoyed near-complete autonomy in budgeting, hiring, and spending. “Holy Father … There is a complete absence of transparency in the bookkeeping both of the Holy See and the Governorate,” five international auditors wrote Francis in June 2013, according to Nuzzi’s book. “Costs are out of control.” Citing emails, minutes of meetings, recorded private conversations, and memos, the book paints a picture of a Vatican bureaucracy entrenched in a culture of mismanagement, waste, and secrecy”.

Giving crucial context he writes “It might not be far off the mark, given that Francis has repeatedly and publicly warned the Roman Curia against engaging in “intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism, and partiality” and acting more like a royal court than an institution of service. Last Christmas, he delivered an infamous dressing down of his closest collaborators, citing the “15 ailments of the Curia” that included living “hypocritical” double lives and suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s.” That said, the book is clearly written from the point of view of the commission members, sympathetic to their plight and setting up an “us against them” narrative of the new reformers battling the Vatican’s entrenched Old Guard, without addressing why the Old Guard might have had reason to distrust them”.

Allen mentions that “The book cites a memo listing six priorities when the commission began work, starting with the need to get a handle on the Vatican’s vast real estate holdings. Nuzzi cites a commission report that found that the value of the real estate was some 2.7 billion euros (dollars), seven times higher than the amount entered onto the balance sheets. (A euro is worth about $1.10 US today.) Rents were sometimes 30 to 100 percent below market, the commission found, including some apartments that were given free to cardinals and bureaucrats as part of their overall compensation or retirement packages. The book says that if market rates were applied, homes given to employees would generate income of 19.4 million euros rather than the 6.2 million euros currently recorded, while other “institutional” buildings which today generate no income would generate income of 30.4 million euros”.

 

Allen ends, “Nuzzi recounts the tale of Monsignor Giuseppe Sciacca, the No. 2 in the Vatican City State administration, who wanted a fancier apartment. Top-ranking Vatican cardinals often enjoy enormous apartments, with some commanding upward of 400 square meters (a little more than 1,312 square feet) apiece. When Sciacca’s neighbour, an elderly priest, was hospitalized for a long period, Sciacca took advantage of the absence to break through a wall separating their residences and incorporated an extra room into his apartment, furniture and all, Nuzzi recounts. The elderly prelate eventually came home to find his possessions in boxes, and died a short time later, the book says. Francis, who lives in a hotel room, summarily demoted Sciacca, forcing him to move out”.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: