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Vatican issues another defense against financial corruption charges

Catholic World News - February 06, 2012

The Vatican has issued a new response to charges of financial mismanagement, saying that accusations of cronyism are based on “incorrect evaluations, or are based on fears not backed up by evidence.

In a new response to criticism contained in a leaked letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former secretary of the Vatican city-state Governorate, past and present leaders of that body insisted that the Governorate’s contracts are carefully monitored. Work contracts are awarded after competitive bidding, the statement insisted—contracting reports that favored firms had been given lucrative projects without competition. Smaller jobs may not be offered out for bidding, but workers are paid according to prevailing rates, the Governorate said.

“The Presidency of the Governorate of Vatican City State expresses its complete trust in, and respect for, the members of the Finance and Management Committee,” the statement said. It acknowledged that the governorate had run budget deficits in 2008 and 2009, but said the losses were attributable to the international financial crisis, and “the economic and functional administration of the Governorate remained in the black.”

The February 4 statement acknowledged that the Governorate is now implementing administrative changes that were suggested in 2009 by the McKinsey consulting firm. However, the Governorate leaders say McKinsey was called in although the work was “already well organized and productive.” The improvements suggested by McKinsey will continue, the statement said.

The release of a fresh statement—following up on earlier statements denying corrupt business practices—highlighted the sensitivity that Vatican officials feel about the leaked complaints. The statement itself said that the leak had caused “great bitterness” for the Governorate, creating the impression that it is “a body unworthy of trust, at the mercy of obscure powers.”

The Vatican’s February 4 statement was signed by both past and present presidents of the Vatican city-state governorate—Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo and Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, respectively—as well as by Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, who replaced Archbishop Vigano as secretary, and Bishop Giorgio Corbellini, his former deputy. It was published in both the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and the Italian daily Avvenire, which is owned by the Italian bishops’ conference.

The heated Vatican response to the charges that were originally raised by Archbishop Vigano in confidential letters to Pope Benedict XVI could also raise questions about that prelate’s current standing. Having been appointed to an important diplomatic post, as apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Vigano now finds himself at the center of a controversy inside the Vatican. His past conflicts with the Secretariat of State, now widely aired in the world’s news media, puts him in an awkward position for a diplomat.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: John J Plick - Feb. 07, 2012 10:56 AM ET USA

    As if the men and women in the Vatican are not "flesh and blood" like the rest of us! They would do well to study their own history, how Pope Gregory the Great spoke mildly to the ancient Roman Emperor advising him in the midst of a genuine persecution that he (Gregory) felt that the the persecution "was good" for the Church in that the more the Church was persecuted the more she was purged from Her sins.

  • Posted by: opraem - Feb. 06, 2012 7:30 PM ET USA

    where there's smoke there's fire. the more they deny there's anything to the rumors makes me believe there's a real pile of dirty laundry that needs to be washed.

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