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Artikler i aviser / på nettet - - Katolikker i Dialog

The Economist: Managing Mammon

16. juli 2014

The Economist skriver bl.a.:

AS HE unveiled an extensive shake-up of the Vatican’s financial structures on July 9th, Cardinal George Pell said Pope Francis would soon name an auditor-general, free to “go everywhere and anywhere” in the walled city-state to root out pecuniary lapses. The appointment of the new official would help the Vatican work towards “transcendency”, the cardinal added, before correcting himself to say “transparency”.

Religion and finance have always sat together uncomfortably, nowhere more so than in the Catholic church. The Vatican City is a natural tax haven. Its Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR)—better known as the Vatican bank—has been wreathed in mystery and tainted by scandal since its involvement in the collapse in 1982 of Banco Ambrosiano (the bank’s chairman, Roberto Calvi, was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London).

But as a result of reforms initiated by Pope Benedict XVI and pursued vigorously by Francis, the outlines are emerging of a more transparent, rational system. Cardinal Pell, a no-nonsense Australian appointed in February to head a new secretariat for the economy, announced two main changes.


The pictures got small

A summary of the bank’s results for 2013 revealed the financial cost of Mr von Freyberg’s programme. Net profit was down from €86.6m ($118m) in 2012 to €2.9m. That was partly because of a fall in the value of the IOR’s gold reserves. But much of the damage was done by extraordinary charges, including €15.1m to cover losses on a loan reportedly sponsored by Pope Benedict’s right-hand man, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to a company that makes films with religious themes.

In future, the IOR’s investment activities are to go to a new body, Vatican Asset Management (VAM), leaving the institute free to concentrate on transferring funds to dioceses, religious orders, missionary outposts and the like around the world. Mr de Franssu said that VAM would invest according to Catholic ethical principles. But someone will need to make sure it does not drift back into the troubled waters that the IOR is leaving behind.

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