Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Cost Of Cleaning House

It wasn't that long ago, when we watched banks tottering on the brink of insolvency. The real estate bubble had burst and there were all these loans out there, no longer worth the paper they were printed on.

Now comes word that the Vatican's bank suffered its own crisis as well, but it wasn't bad real estate investments that did it. No, this was all due to a thorough house cleaning.
The Vatican Bank - a veritable fortress

When the new Pope came in, he arrived with a broom to sweep out the dust of centuries. There was precious little God and a great deal of corruption in the bureaucracy that is the Holy See, and Pope Francis took to the bank with an intense desire to get to the very root of all evil that is money. Money of the ill-gotten gain sort.

First to go were small accounts that appeared to be dormant. Why keep things around that you haven't used in years? You know you'll never use it so chuck it in the bin and eliminate a little clutter. Then the bean counters looked carefully at each account holder, and it was apparent that the Pope intended to tackle the rumours of money-laundering and financial impropriety that tainted the bank. If the account was not being used in accordance with the bank's intended purpose, it was gone. The Vatican's bank exists to manage the Vatican's money, or to send money out to the far-flung missionaries doing God's work. It is not to be used by those who just like the convenience of having an account with the Church, especially when that convenience can be aided by a bribe paid here or there so that the clerk looks the other way.

The Vatican does not operate a bank so that fake donations can be washed clean of corruption on their way to a cleric's private funds. Nor does it exist to loan money to production companies whose heads are close friends to the Vatican's second in command. Because if it does, then a part of the Vatican is stained by sin, and if you add in the sin of clerical sex abuse, the entire institution of the Roman Catholic Church starts to collapse under the weight of hypocrisy.

Pope Francis cleaned up the bank as part of a process of renewing the Catholic Church, and with that, the Vatican bank's profit for 2013 was wiped out.

3000 accounts, terminated, and the bank suffered a financial hit.

It makes you wonder just what was going on at the bank, if prudent financial management stung the bottom line. Was the profit the result of corrupt practices? Did the bank do well for itself by allowing criminal acts to take place, while those in charge looked the other way or took part? Those shady investment deals that were wound down, was that what kept the bank in the black?

What kind of church are they running there in Vatican City, anyway?

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