By Mark Esposito, Weekend Guy
Overshadowed by Pope Francis’ announcement Thursday that the mob is now persona non grata in Roman Catholic Churches (“RCC”) throughout the world is the very real –and related –struggle behind the scenes at the Vatican Bank. Officially known as the Istituto per le Opere di Religione or Institute for the Works of Religion, the bank has been at the center of RCC-Mafia relations for years. The bank itself is ostensibly independent but situates itself squarely on sovereign territory owned and controlled by the Pope and its Board of Superintendence answers directly to the Curia and the Pope.
Founded in 1942 by papal decree, the bank has had a tumultuous history. Unlike other financial institutions, the assets of the bank are not loaned to borrowers who pay back with interest. Rather the bank functions more like a holding company for assets which are intended to be distributed for charitable functions of the RCC. In this role as repository for the billions of dollars in assets and cash, the bank has been subjected to considerable criticism both for its haphazard administration and the customer it attracts. Customers, who Italian prosecutors say, have ties to organized crime. Continue reading “The Risk of Reforming God’s Bank”