Tag Archives | Vatican

JP Morgan Chase Closes Vatican Bank Account

Reports Philip Pullella and Lisa Jucca on Reuters:

JP Morgan Chase is closing the Vatican bank’s account with an Italian branch of the U.S. banking giant because of concerns about a lack of transparency at the Holy See’s financial institution, Italian newspapers reported. The move is a blow to the Vatican’s drive to have its bank included in Europe’s “white list” of states that comply with international standards against tax fraud and money-laundering.

The bank, formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), enacted major reforms last year in an attempt to get Europe’s seal of approval and put behind it scandals that have included accusations of money laundering and fraud.

Italy’s leading financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported at the weekend that JP Morgan Chase in Milan had told the IOR of the closing of its account in a letter on February 15. The letter said the IOR’s account in Italy’s business capital would gradually be phased out starting on March 16 and closed on March 30.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Anonymous Takes Down Vatican Website

Vatican WebsiteVia Russia Today:

The activist hacking group Anonymous, responsible for numerous high-profile attacks on corporations and government bodies, has now targeted the Holy See, taking down www.vatican.va and is warning of a “coming storm”.

Hackers from the Italian branch of the group attacked the Vatican’s website in protest against Roman Catholic Church’s scandals, liturgies, conservative doctrines and controversial history.

The website was taken down on Wednesday and was inaccessible for hours. A Vatican spokesman said he could not confirm the crash was the work of the hackers but said technicians were working to get it back up, Reuters reports. “Anonymous has decided to put your site under siege in response to your doctrine, liturgy and the absurd and anachronistic rules that your profit-making organization spreads around the world,” a statement published on the Italian website of the Anonymous group read.

Anonymous has become increasingly associated with international ‘hacktivism’, staging protests and high-profile cyber-attacks.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Vatican Told to Pay Taxes as Italy Tackles Budget Crisis

VaticanIf you missed this one, what’s this whole “accountability” thing about when it comes to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Michael Day reports in the Independent:

After several years of scandal in which the Catholic Church has faced allegations of financial impropriety, paedophile priests and rumours of plots to kill the Pope, the Vatican is now facing a new €600m-a-year tax bill as Rome seeks to head off European Commission censure over controversial property tax breaks enjoyed by the Church.

As the EC heads closer to officially condemning the fiscal perks enjoyed by the Catholic Church and introduced by the Berlusconi administration, Prime Minister Mario Monti has written to the Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, saying that the Vatican will resume property tax, or Ici, payments.

Mr Almunia said in 2010 that the exemption amounted to state aid that might breach EU competition law. A parliamentary proposal by the Italian Radicals party last August to repeal the exemption, with a successful petition on Facebook, upped the pressure.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Vatican.xxx

Evil PopeLet's hope the buyer intends to (further) blow the lid off sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. From Reuters:
The Vatican said on Wednesday an unknown buyer had snapped up the internet address vatican.xxx, a domain combining its name with an extension reserved for pornographic content. "This domain is not available because it has been acquired by someone else, but not the Vatican," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Vatican radio. It was not clear from his statement if the Vatican had tried to acquire the domain in order to prevent...
Continue Reading

Vatican Calls for ‘Central World Bank’

Emblem of Vatican CityPhilip Pullella reports in Reuters:

The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a “global public authority” and a “central world bank” to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises. The document from the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department should please the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators and similar movements around the world who have protested against the economic downturn.

“Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority,” was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions. “The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence,” it said.

It condemned what it called “the idolatry of the market” as well as a “neo-liberal thinking” that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Vatican Takes on Climate Change

Vatican Takes on Climate ChangeEric Bangeman writes on ars technica:
The Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences has just released a strongly worded report (PDF) on global climate change demanding in the strongest possible language that humans act decisively to avert a coming crisis. “We call on all people and nations to recognize the serious and potentially reversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants," says the report. "If we want justice and peace, we must protect the habitat that sustains us.” The report was not authored by the Pontifical Academy itself; rather, the Vatican convened a group of scientists with relevant experience, along with a few Nobel Prize winners. The group's focus was on increasing evidence of glacier retreat, and the report ended up focused on its causes. The group's co-chair, Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen, used a somewhat controversial name for the "man-made" geologic era in which we are now living: the "Anthropocene."
Continue Reading

Vatican Bank Investigated For Money Laundering – Again.

Emblem_of_the_PapacyI wonder which banking official will suddenly die during this investigation? Victor L. Simpson and Nicole Winfield report for AP:

VATICAN CITY – This is no ordinary bank: The ATMs are in Latin. Priests use a private entrance. A life-size portrait of Pope Benedict XVI hangs on the wall.

Nevertheless, the Institute for Religious Works is a bank, and it’s under harsh new scrutiny in a case involving money-laundering allegations that led police to seize euro23 million ($30 million) in Vatican assets in September. Critics say the case shows that the “Vatican Bank” has never shed its penchant for secrecy and scandal.

The Vatican calls the seizure of assets a “misunderstanding” and expresses optimism it will be quickly cleared up. But court documents show that prosecutors say the Vatican Bank deliberately flouted anti-laundering laws “with the aim of hiding the ownership, destination and origin of the capital.” The documents also reveal investigators’ suspicions that clergy may have acted as fronts for corrupt businessmen and Mafia.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Pope Says Condoms Sometimes Permissible to Stop AIDS

Pope BenedictPhilip Pullella reports in Reuters:

VATICAN CITY — The use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS may be justified in certain cases, Pope Benedict says in a new book that could herald the start of sea change in the Vatican’s attitude to condoms.

In excerpts published in the Vatican newspaper on Saturday ahead of the book’s publication next week, the pope cites the example of the use of condoms by prostitutes as “a first step toward moralization” even though condoms are “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”

While some Roman Catholic leaders have spoken in the past about the limited use of condoms in specific cases to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS as a lesser of two evils, this is the first time the pope has mentioned the possibility himself in public.

The Vatican newspaper unexpectedly published significant excerpts from the book on Saturday night, days before extracts were initially due to be made public.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Vatican’s Chief Exorcist Publishes His ‘Confessions’

Mémoires de l'exorciste officiel du VaticanBy Lounge Daddy at Dateline Zero:

A new book is out from Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist. The title is Confessions of an Exorcist.

It’s in paperback, and … in French. This is a bummer; but I hope it’s only a temporary bummer. (Of course it’s in Italian as well, titled Memoirs of an Exorcist.)

For now the lucky French have this latest book to go alongside the first two Fr. Amorth titles that record his experiences with, and thoughts on exorcism. Good for them, those jerks.

However, I’ll be anxiously awaiting an English translation. If it sounds like I am committing the sin of envy, it is because I am.

This newest title is in an interview format; which sets it apart from the other two; which are more short essays, stories, and commentary on various points regarding his experience. (As I understand it however, this book is not in a Q&A format like Interview with an Exorcist, by Father Jose Fortea.)…

[continues at at Dateline Zero]

Read the rest

Continue Reading