No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity; that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings. [The warning is that those who reject the Gospel of Christ will make mammon their gospel and pretend that it is a true gospel and even claim charity and will be damned for their iniquity - their "everlasting dwellings" will be in hell.]
If then you have not been faithful in the unjust mammon; who will trust you with that which is the true?
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Apocalypse (Revelation) 14:9
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice: If any man shall adore the beast and his image, and receive his character [mark] in his forehead, or in his hand;
Apocalypse (Revelation) 13:17
And that no man might buy or sell, but he that hath the character [mark], or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Apocalypse (Revelation) 16:2
And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth, and there fell a sore and grievous wound upon men, who had the character of the beast; and upon them that adored the image thereof.
Apocalypse (Revelation) 19:20
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet, who wrought signs before him, wherewith he seduced them who received the character [mark] of the beast, and who adored his image. These two were cast alive into the pool of fire, burning with brimstone.
The Institute for Works of Religion (Italian: Istituto per le Opere di Religione – IOR), commonly known as the Vatican Bank, is a privately held institute located inside Vatican City run by a professional bank CEO who reports directly to a committee of cardinals, and ultimately to the Pope (or the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church during a sede vacante). Since its assets are not considered property of the Holy See, it is not overseen by the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and it is listed in the Annuario Pontificio together with foundations such as the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, which provides funds for training people to fight drought and desertification in nine African countries. The current President is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi.
The Institute was involved in a major political and financial scandal in the 1980s, concerning the 1982 $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, of which it was a major shareholder. The head of IOR from 1971 to 1989, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, was under consideration for indictment in 1982 in Italy as an accessory of the bankruptcy; however, he was never brought to trial due to the Italian courts' ruling that the priest, being a high-ranking prelate of the Vatican, had diplomatic immunity from prosecution.
The Bank Identifier Code of the Institute for Works of Religion is IOPRVAVX.
The Istituto per le Opere di Religione was founded on 27 June 1942 by Pope Pius XII. It absorbed the Amministrazione delle Opere di Religione (Administration of the Works of Religion), which had originated in the Commission for Works of Charity (Commissione ad pias causas) established by Pope Leo XIII on 11 February 1887.
It has always been distinct from what has become the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, which instead of administering funds destined for works of charity, manages the funds remaining at the disposal of the Pope after the complete loss of the Papal States in 1870 and those that were part of the settlement of the Roman Question by the Lateran Pacts of 1929.
The purpose of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione is "to provide for the safekeeping and administration of movable and immovable property transferred or entrusted to it by physical or juridical persons and intended for works of religion or charity".
Nor is it a central bank responsible for a country's monetary policy and for maintaining the stability of a currency and money supply. This function is regulated by the Monetary Agreement between the European Union and the Vatican City State, authorizing the use of the euro as the official currency of Vatican City, and implementation of the agreement within the state is overseen by the Financial Information Authority established on 30 December 2010.
Unlike in banking for profit, the surplus is used for religious and charitable purposes.
According to the norms of its present statutes, which came into effect in 1990, the IOR is directed by a supervisory council and by an oversight commission of cardinals.
As of 23 September 2009 the supervisory council is composed of:
- President: Ettore Gotti Tedeschi
- Vice president: Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz
- Carl A. Anderson
- Giovanni De Censi
- Manuel Soto Serrano
The Institute is a successful and profitable bank. By the 1990s, the IOR had invested over US$10 billion in foreign companies. In 1968 Vatican authorities hired Michele Sindona as a financial advisor, despite Sindona's questionable past. It was Sindona who was chiefly responsible for the massive influx of money when he began laundering the Gambino crime family's heroin money (taking a 50% cut) through a shell corporation "Mabusi". This laundering was accomplished with the help of another banker, Roberto Calvi, who managed the Banco Ambrosiano. Both Calvi and Sindona were members of the P2 Lodge.
When Pope John Paul I became Pope in 1978 he was informed of allegations of wrongdoing at the Institute for Works of Religion, and instructed Jean-Marie Villot, Cardinal Secretary of State and head of the papal Curia, to investigate the matter thoroughly. John Paul died after only 33 days in office, raising suspicion that he had been murdered after discovering a scandal. It is generally accepted that the pope died of natural causes, although some medical experts suspect a pulmonary embolism or an adverse reaction to medication he was taking, rather than the heart attack reported in original press accounts of his death.
Banco Ambrosiano scandal
The Institute for Works of Religion was Banco Ambrosiano's main share-holder. Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, head of the IOR from 1971 to 1989, was indicted in Italy in 1982 as an accessory in the $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, one of the major post-war financial scandals. Banco Ambrosiano was accused of laundering drug money for the Sicilian Mafia, led by Filippo Barbagli, which used Propaganda Due ("P2"), a mobbed up Masonic lodge, as an intermediary. P2 and its Worshipful Master, Licio Gelli, were also involved in financing right wing terror groups during the 1970s. As for Archbishop Marcinkus, he would never come to trial in Italy, where courts ruled that he possessed diplomatic immunity. He lived in retirement in Sun City, Arizona (US) until his death on February 21, 2006.
The Institute for Works of Religion has denied having legal responsibility for the Ambrosiano's downfall but did acknowledge "moral involvement", and paid $241m (£169m) to creditors. As of 2006, investigations are continuing concerning the murder of Ambrosiano's chairman, Roberto Calvi, which, according to Ernest Backes, former #3 of Clearstream, may have been linked to the death of Gérard Soisson, who used to work for Clearstream, a "bank of banks" which practices financial clearing. According to recent wiretap information, however, Calvi's death was almost certainly decreed by the Cupola, the ruling council of the Sicilian Mafia, which had come to view Calvi as a liability since the bank's collapse.
Several sensationalist and anti-Catholic books published during the 1980s and 1990s, such as Unholy Trinity: How the Vatican's Nazi Networks Betrayed Western Intelligence to the Soviets, Genocide in Satellite Croatia 1941–1945 and The Vatican's Holocaust, were highly critical of the Institute for Works of Religion's historical relations with anti-communist governments and especially with the Independent State of Croatia during World War II. Sources such as these engendered initial defensive hostility and controversy, which centers on conclusions drawn from the documentation rather than the documents themselves.
According to a 1998 report issued by the US State Department, the Independent State of Croatia treasury was illicitly transferred to the Vatican Bank and other banks after the end of World War II. For its part, the Vatican has repeatedly denied any participation in Ustashi crimes or the disappearance of the Croatian Treasury, yet has refused to open its wartime records to substantiate its denial.
On October 21, 1946, a Top Secret report from US Treasury Agent Emerson Bigelow (called "The Bigelow Report"), which was declassified in 1997, quoted a "reliable source in Italy" (who corroborated evidence already obtained by CIC intelligence officials of the Army), who alerted his superior that Croatian officials had sent 350 million confiscated Swiss francs (CHF) to the Vatican Bank "for safekeeping", a sum largely in the form of gold coins. On the way some CHF150 million were allegedly seized by British authorities at the border between Austria and Switzerland, which brought the secret transfer into the open. "There is no basis in reality to the report", said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, as reported in Time Magazine.
Dismissed Jewish court case
Institute for Works of Religion and Franciscan Order were accused of financing the alleged ratlines and ODESSA and laundering Croatian concentration camp loot. A class action suit, Emil Alperin et al. v. Vatican Bank et al., was filed in the United States district court in San Francisco on November 15, 1999. The plaintiffs are concentration camp survivors of Serb, Jewish, and Ukrainian background and their relatives as well as organizations representing over 300,000 Holocaust victims. John Loftus, co-author of Unholy Trinity, served as an expert witness in this case. The case was dismissed based on a 1976 law guaranteeing immunity to foreign states and entities, in this case the Holy See.
Another suit, Levy v. CIA, filed under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, sought the release of U.S. intelligence agency files regarding Fr. Krunoslav Draganović. New records on Draganović were released as a result of that lawsuit in 2001.
2009–2010 Vatican money laundering investigation
In 2009, the Italian magazine Panorama reported that Vatican Bank was being investigated by Italian authorities from the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Banca d'Italia and the Guardia di Finanza over money laundering transactions worth €180 million (US$ 218 million) through a branch of UniCredit located at Via della Conciliazione across from St. Peter's Basilica. The bank handles accounts of the religious orders and other Catholic associations using the "offshore" (i.e., foreign) status of the Holy See.
On 21 September 2010, Italian police declared that Gotti Tedeschi and another IOR manager were under investigation for money laundering charges. €23 million were seized as a precaution. Police began an investigation regarding Tedeschi around a week before the news was made public after a division of the Bank of Italy alerted police to two transactions involving the Vatican Bank that were deemed suspicious. The money seized was bound from an Italian bank, Credito Artigianato, to JP Morgan Chase and another Italian bank, Banca del Fucino. Both the origin and destination of the funds were accounts under the control of the Vatican Bank. The Vatican Bank had allegedly failed to disclose the origin of the money, a violation of Italian law.
In a statement regarding the investigation, the Vatican said that it was "...perplexed and astonished by the initiatives of the Rome prosecutors, considering the data necessary is already available at the Bank of Italy." According to the police, the presence of the investigation did not mean either of the officials involved had been charged with a crime, and a judicial ruling would be necessary to continue the investigation.
On Thursday, December 30, 2010, the Catholic News Service homepage reported that Pope Benedict XVI had issued an Apostolic Letter that established the Financial Information Authority as an independent agency to oversee the monetary and commercial activities of all Vatican-related institutions, including the Vatican bank. It will monitor all Vatican financial operations and make sure they meet international norms against money-laundering and the financing of terrorism.
On May 31, 2011, Rome's attorney general released the 23 million Euros in assets which had been seized in September, apparently in acknowledgment of the steps taken in the following months to conform the Institute to international standards.
- John F. Pollard: Money and the Rise of the Modern Papacy: Financing the Vatican, 1850–1950 ISBN 0-521-81204-6
- Mark Aarons and John Loftus: Unholy Trinity: How the Vatican's Nazi Networks Betrayed Western Intelligence to the Soviets. New York: St.Martin's Press, 1992. 372 pages. ISBN 0-312-07111-6
- Malachi Martin: Rich Church, Poor Church (Putnam, New York, 1984) ISBN 0-399-12906-5
- Malachi Martin: Vatican (Jove (August 1, 1988)) ISBN 978-0515096545
- Charles Raw: The Moneychangers: How the Vatican Bank Enabled Roberto Calvi to Steal 250 Million Dollars for the Heads of the P2 Masonic Lodge (Harvill Press, 1992) ISBN 0-00-217338-7
- Giancarlo Galli: Finanza bianca. La Chiesa, i soldi, il potere (Mondadori, 2004) ISBN 88-04-51262-8
- David A. Yallop: In God's Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I
- Mark Lombardi: Global Networks. Mark Lombardi, Robert Carleton Hobbs, Judith Richards; Independent Curators, 2003 (published for the travelling exhibition of his work, "Mark Lombardi Global Networks"). ISBN 0-916365-67-0
- Jonathan Levy, "The Vatican Bank", in Russ Kick (Ed.), Everything You Know is Wrong (Disinformation Press, 2002) ISBN 1-56731-701-4
- Michael Phayer: Pius XII: The Holocaust and the Cold War, 2008, ISBN 13:978-0-253-34930-9.
- "Nazi-Era Victims Demand Army, CIA Release Documents on Vatican". CNS News. September 4, 2000. http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200009/For20000904a.html.
- The Vatican Bank claims website
- The Vatican, Croatia and the Nazi Gold
- The Vatican Pipeline: U.S. intelligence document links $170 million in Nazi gold to the Vatican—report on declassified memo in Time Magazine, July 22, 1997
- Profile of Marcinkus in the Arizona Republic
- Vatican Bank describes its own history and operations in Court Document"
- Whistleblower exposes Vatican Bank shenanigans Philip Willan July 2, 2009
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.