Tag Archives: Financial Information Authority

Vatican Bank walks to transparency amid problems

Ernst von Freyberg and Pope Francis have been hot on reforming the Institute of Works of Religion (Istituto per la Opere di Religione [IOR]), also called the Vatican Bank. Work started under Benedict XVI and much has been done to give a comprehensive review and reform of the IOR’s workings. Behavior unbecoming of the IOR has been in the media and it greatly distracts from the Church’s work.

A new pontificate with interest in reform sets the stage and expectation.

Yesterday the IOR unveiled its new website that can be accessed here.

Lots of good and fundamental information is contained on website.

Compliments to Mr. von Freyberg for taking the work seriously. The website is only a beginning but what is given to us as a concrete gesture of trust. If the Vatican Bank is going to continue, and if it is going to truly live the mission to serve the universal Church, then nothing short of complete revision and coherence is required. The renewal of the IOR means: all of the clergy, especially the bishops and cardinals, need to be replaced with competent and honest men; plus, the integration of a group of international competent laity (men and women) to run the bank need to be appointed; and an attitude of service doing the Lord’s work for the common good needs to be concretely lived. This last point we can’t dismiss: there needs to be a program of spiritual formation in place. Take nothing for granted. Anything to the contrary ought to lead directly to the immediate closure of the Vatican Bank.

Vatican Bank begins to change image

Ernst von Freyberg.jpeg

In an article on May 30, 2013 by Rachel Donadio for the NY TimesVatican Bank Looks to Shed Its Image as an Offshore Haven does look into the Vatican Bank’s recent past. Before his retirement in February, Pope Benedict appointed Ernst von Freyberg, 54,  as the new head of the bank that causes a lot of distraction. Officially, the real name for the Vatican bank is the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) or sometimes the IOR is called the Institute for the Works of Religion. The IOR is not a commercial bank like Chase or TD Bank.

Mr von Freyberg is a German citizen, an accomplished businessman with strong Catholic roots and who is a member of the Order of Malta, a group of faith Catholics who serve the Church and society by defending the faith and serving the needs of the sick and poor. 

I, for one, would like to see the IOR vanish. In my opinion, there is a little need for the IOR. But I am happy to hear von Freyberg say, 

“Our mission is to serve and shine,” the bank’s president, Ernst von Freyberg, said with a smile. “Our first pillar is transparency.” He spoke from an office in the medieval tower that houses the bank inside the Vatican, beneath a painting depicting a Gospel lesson, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God, what is God’s.”

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Pope appoints council for Financial Information Authority

Pope Benedict
XVI appointed  Attilio Cardinal Nicora, as president of the newly
created Financial Information Authority (FIA). Until now, the cardinal has been the
head of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. Also appointed on
Wednesday were the members of the executive council of the FIA: 

  • Claudio
    Bianchi, former professor of accounting at Rome’s La Sapienza University; 
  • Marcello Condemi, associate professor of economic law at Rome’s G. Marconi
  • Giuseppe Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, rector of Rome’s
    LUMSA University;
  • Cesare Testa, former president of the Central
    Institute for the Sustenance of the Clergy.

Surprisingly, no North
Americans were appointed.

The Financial Information Authority was formed on December
30 as an “autonomous and independent body with the specific task of
preventing and countering the laundering of money and the financing of
terrorism with respect to each subject, both legal and physical, entity and
institution of whatever nature, of Vatican City State, of the Dicasteries of
the Roman Curia and of all the other institutions and entities dependent on the
Holy See.”

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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