Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, R.I.P.
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:
- Vatican bank’s president criticizes America’s Keynesian economic policies (1/14/2011)
- Western world faces economic decline, says head of Vatican bank (6/21/2011)
- Vatican Bank president analyzes raising of US national debt ceiling (8/4/2011)
- Vatican bank president: Larger families are solution to economic crisis (7/21/2011)
- Vatican Bank president: More government debt not the answer to economic crisis (8/9/2011)
- Vatican banker sees flaws in Western economies (8/17/2011)
- Vatican Bank president warns against higher taxes (8/29/2011)
- Savings crucial to economic recovery, says Vatican bank president (9/15/2011)
- And this written by Tedeschi, from our library: Faced with Deflationary Prospects, A New Model of Leadership (11/4/2011)
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:
- Vatican bank head attributes money-laundering complaint to 'procedural error' (9/22/2010)
- Vatican bank chairman says charges are part of campaign against Church (10/25/2010)
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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