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Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, R.I.P.

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | May 25, 2012

I admit it. I liked Ettore Tedeschi. He was a breath of fresh air when it came to the comments of Vatican officials on the economy. But now Tedeschi, the head of the Vatican Bank, has been fired.

Still, consider these 2011 stories:

There were other stories, too, of course. During roughly the same period, the Vatican Bank came under the scrutiny of the European Union because its internal financial controls did not adhere to new EU standards, and because some transactions seemed to admit of the possibility of money laundering. On such matters Tedeschi was firm:

Such problems are widespread, of course, in the United States and elsewhere, but apparently nobody on the Vatican Bank’s board of directors thought Tedeschi had done enough to improve the Bank’s reputation since he took over there in 2009.

One can also imagine that Tedeschi’s frequent comments on world economic affairs rubbed many others in the Vatican the wrong way, perhaps particularly those at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. I have no evidence for this. But there would be two good reasons for it. First, Tedeschi clearly understands how economies work, which seems to be a deep weakness of Catholic social thinkers who theorize about what should be done without reflecting on what can be done or what actually works.

Second, it simply wasn’t Tedeschi’s job to instruct the universe. His job was to fix the Vatican Bank.

But, oh, what a sound bite he could make!

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