Pope Francis cleans house at the Vatican Bank

VATICAN CITY — Two top managers of the Vatican Bank resigned on Monday (July 1), just five days after Pope … Continued

VATICAN CITY — Two top managers of the Vatican Bank resigned on Monday (July 1), just five days after Pope Francis appointed an independent commission to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the scandal-plagued bank.

The surprise resignation of the bank’s director general, Paolo Cipriani, and of his deputy, Massimo Tulli, follows the arrest of a senior Vatican official with close ties to the bank who was charged on Friday with attempting to smuggle 20 million euros into Italy from Switzerland.

Cipriani, 58, served as the bank’s director general since 2007 and will be replaced on an interim basis by the bank’s president, German financier Ernst von Freyberg, who was appointed last February in one of Pope Benedict XVI’s last official acts.

With its checkered history marked by allegations of shady deals and its tradition of utter secrecy, the Vatican Bank has become a focal point in criticism over mismanagement and corruption within the Curia, the church’s central bureaucracy.

Francis, who was elected with a clear mandate to reform the Curia, has called for a simpler, poorer church. To him, the Vatican’s scandals are a powerful countermessage to the church’s mission of preaching the gospel.

By moving swiftly to reform the an institution formally known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, Francis seems to be signaling his resolve to tackle a persistent source of scandal that his predecessors were unwilling or unable to put down.

In 2010, Cipriani was put under investigation by Rome prosecutors for alleged money laundering, together with then-president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was sacked two years later.

During the investigation, magistrates froze $33 million in two Vatican bank accounts in Italy.

The money was released some months later, but the investigation is still ongoing.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis created an independent review commission with full powers to access the bank’s data and documents, as a prelude to reforms that might bring its operations more in “harmony” with the church’s mission.

The Vatican has spent the last three years trying to bring its financial practices in line with international standards; an international watchdog has recommended more oversight on the bank’s operations.

The bank has been overshadowed by scandal for several decades, most famously the collapse of an Italian bank which led to the death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi. He was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982.

According to Vatican press release, interim president von Freyberg “will be supported by Rolando Marranci as acting Deputy Director and Antonio Montaresi in the newly created position of acting Chief Risk Officer with responsibility of overseeing compliance and special projects.” Both men are Italian but have experience in the banking sector in the U.S. and in London.

They will be assisted by Elizabeth McCaul and Raffaele Cosimo, advisers from the Washington-based consulting firm Promontory Group, who are charged with “conducting a forensic review and screening its client relationships,” according to the bank’s press release.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

More on:
Comments are closed.

Read More Articles

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Hey Bart Ehrman, I’m Obsessed with Jesus, Too — But You’ve Got Him All Wrong

Why the debate over Jesus’ divinity matters.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.

How Passover Makes the Impossible Possible

When we place ourselves within the story, we can imagine new realities.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This Passover, We’re Standing at an Unparted Red Sea

We need to ask ourselves: What will be the future of the State of Israel — and what will it require of us?

Just As I Am

My childhood conversion to Christianity was only the first of many.

shutterstock_127731035 (1)
Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church?

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

Mysterious Tremors

People like me who have mystical experiences may be encountering some unknown Other. What can we learn about what that Other is?

Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing

That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.

What C.S. Lewis’ Marriage Can Tell Us About the Gay Marriage Controversy

Why “welcome and wanted” is a biblical response to gay and lesbian couples in evangelical churches.