Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Miracle Comes Early! Cardinal Pell Finds € Hundreds of Millions "Tucked Away": Catholics React

Christmas miracles have come early this year, it seems. As Gaia Planigiani reports for New York Times yesterday, Pope Francis's Vatican finance watchdog Cardinal Pell announced Wednesday that he has found hundreds of millions of euros "tucked away" in accounts that the Vatican had no notion it owned.

Isn't that a lovely find? Hundreds of millions just "tucked away," to be happened on by accident as one dithers with one's bank books . . . . If I had a penny for every time this has happened to me, I'd be a much richer man, indeed.

A lovely find, especially as yet another U.S. archdiocese, the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, announces it may have to declare bankruptcy as it faces claims from victims of clerical sexual abuse . . . . Surely the Vatican will be inclined to share some of those lovely serendipitous millions, one would hope, with Catholics dealing with the horrendous consequences of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic authority figures, whose archdioceses keep sadly shaking their heads and claiming that they just cannot assist, due to lack of money.

As Colleen Baker says in response to Pell's finding (Colleen posted this in a discussion thread responding to a National Catholic Reporter article by Michael Sean Winters about fixing the Vatican), 

Do you honestly believe Pell? Do you honestly think hundreds of millions of Euros just magically appear? That no one knew anything about any of it prior to this discovery? I am much less naive. I want the names of the hierarchical types that go with all those suddenly appearing hundreds of millions of Euros.

And as Jerry Slevin observes at his Christian Catholicism blog,

And his new financial czar, Cardinal Pell, just reported astonishingly that he "found" hundreds of millions of Euros not previously reported on the Vatican’s books.  Will the "miracles and nonsense" ever end? Writing reportedly in the Catholic Herald, Pell, who is now the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy – an entirely new post – says he was recently asked by a member of a British parliamentary delegation: "Why did the authorities allow the situation to lurch along, disregarding modern accounting standards, for so many decades?"
Pell’s reported response repays close examination. My emphases in bold. "I began by remarking that this question was one of the first that would come to our minds as English-speakers (lumped together by the rest of the world as 'Anglos') but one that might be lower on the list for people in the another culture, such as the Italians". Pell reportedly added: "Those in the Curia were following long-established patterns. Just as kings had allowed their regional rulers, princes or governors an almost free hand, provided they balanced the books, so too did the popes with the curial cardinals (as they still do with diocesan bishops)". 
Thank you, Cardinal Pell for confirming that the Vatican continues to be operated as an absolute monarchy. Who in the royal entourage is responsible for these scandalous irregularities? We can just wait until the prosecutors make the pending  investigation results public or until the Vatican's independent internationally recognized auditors complete their first audit, if they ever do, I suppose. This is 2014 not 1870. 

Or as Maggie Crehan puts the point here very succinctly yesterday,

Why do i smell a rat? What is going on with this announcement..why is it announced in this way? Why did all thesd high level bankers for the last several years not find this out?

They must think we're amazingly stupid, don't you agree?

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