Friday, July 5, 2013

The Bank Is Back In The News

And we're really starting to get an idea of how difficult the reform project is going to be. Right back in the thing of things is the Institute for Works of Religion, aka The Vatican Bank. Pope Francis had just gotten through installing some oversight. Now, per Sandro, the director general and vice-director have resigned.

On top of that, you've got trouble popping up for Monsignor Ricca, who had just been appointed to one of the Bank's top positions.

Last June 15 Jorge Mario Bergoglio appointed Monsignor Battista Ricca, 57, "prelate" of the IOR precisely in order to place a highly trusted person in a key role within the Institute. With statutory power to access the proceedings and documents and to participate in the meetings both of the cardinalate commission of oversight and of the supervisory board of the Vatican "bank."

That's a lot of authority, so anything that is going to get this guy in trouble and lead to a revocation of his appointment (which Sandro looks to happen) has to be a big deal and based on pretty good evidence. So what could cause such problems?

After rendering service over the span of a decade in Congo, in Algeria, in Colombia, and in Switzerland, at the end of 1999 he found himself working in Uruguay with the nuncio Janusz Bolonek, from Poland, now a pontifical representative in Bulgaria. But he remained with him for little more than a year. In 2001, Ricca was transferred to the nunciature of Trinidad and Tobago, after which he was called to the Vatican.

The black hole in Ricca's personal history is the year he spent in Uruguay, in Montevideo, on the northern bank of the Rio de la Plata, across from Buenos Aires.

What provoked the rupture with the nuncio Bolonek and his sudden transfer can be summarized in two expressions used by those who confidentially examined his case in Uruguay: “pink power” and “conducta escandalosa.”

Pope Francis was entirely unaware of this precedent when he appointed Ricca prelate of the IOR. 

So yeah, it's back to that other stuff that nobody wants to talk about.

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